It is no secret that if you want something to last, you should care for it properly. But when it comes to clothes, what does ‘caring for it properly’ mean? Do you only have to bring things to the drycleaner that say dryclean only? Should you be doing anything differently? Is it going to be a big hassle? And does it really make any difference in the long run?
If your clothes last longer, then you won’t turnover your wardrobe as fast. You will save money in the long run by avoiding new purchases regularly, and you will reduce your contribution to the unsustainability of the fashion industry. Just like we justify paying higher prices for well-made clothes due to their longevity, this longevity can also be achieved or improved through proper aftercare of the clothes.
Here are a few common issues, and how proper aftercare can avoid them:
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CLOTHES SAY DO NOT DRYCLEAN, BUT I CAN’T CLEAN THEM MYSELF?
You may have a garment that says DO NOT DRYCLEAN on the care label, so you think you cannot take it to the drycleaner. Then, after using your home washing machine and soap (as supposedly instructed), the colours fade or textures change, and the overall quality and life of the garment is reduced.
- ‘Drycleaners’ does not equal ‘Drycleaning Only’, we are textile experts!
- We are actually specialists in WETCLEANING and are nowadays doing more delicate wetcleaning then drycleaning.
- Wetcleaning does not always equate to ‘washing’, and at Regal we use advanced delicate wetcleaning technology with minimal agitation. Although the garment enters a machine, our specialist programmes rotate the drum for 10 seconds only per minute, with minimal water, and professional wetcleaning soaps, giving it the treatment of a ‘hand dip’ without all the inconvenience of hand washing at home. There are multiple types of products entering the drum, including conditioner, colour protectant, and fabric protectant.
- We also can clean by hand, extract smell only, and use many other techniques to clean garments of difficult care instructions. So don’t think ‘do not dryclean’ means you have to figure out how to clean it at home!
HOW DO I AVOID COLOUR BLEEDING ON A MULTI-COLOURED GARMENT?
Sometimes (more often than you would think), multicoloured garments are not colour fast, and even if they say washable, they can bleed. How do you know if this is going to happen before it is too late?
- We can do colour testing on garments, by taking a bit of wetcleaning solution and a bit of drycleaning solution on a cloth and rubbing at a tiny patch on the inside of the garment or somewhere discreet. Then we can check if any of the dye transferred onto the white cloth and conclude whether it is colour fast and assess the risk of a bleed. This can help us decide whether to wetclean or dryclean the garment, as one cloth may cause colour transfer whilst the other does not. Taking your contrasting coloured garments to the specialists means you can do this assessment before it’s too late.
- However, if it is too late and you do have a garment that bleeds, we also have dye-run treatments that can potentially fix this by extracting loose dyes.
- Unfortunately, some types of garments can’t be restored, so it is best to properly test and clean it in the first place and avoid the risk!
HOW DO I PREVENT IRONING DAMAGE OR SHINE?
Ironing with the home iron and causing shine on suiting or damage/burns to fabrics.
- At Regal, we have highly trained pressers, using professional irons with Teflon shoes. These shoes mean it is impossible to ‘burn’ or have any damage cause by over-ironing. We could literally leave the Teflon covered iron sitting on top of a garment and it would remain protected.
- Using techniques such as pressing garments with a cloth, or inside out, ensure shine is avoided and fabrics remain protected.
- Many garments once pressed/ironed incorrectly, are impossible to reverse, so it is best to avoid at-home ironing on expensive or delicate items as irreversible damage can be caused.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LETTER SYMBOLS ON THE CARE LABEL AND DO THEY MATTER?
The drycleaning symbol on a care label is a circle, but often there are letters inside.
- A common mistake people make is taking their clothes to a drycleaner that doesn’t use the appropriate solution based on the care label recommendations. Many delicate garments have an ‘F’ in a circle symbol, this means dryclean in hydrocarbon based solutions only. Many mistake this as just meaning ‘dryclean only’ when in fact, there are different solutions in the drycleaning industry. A ‘P’ in a circle means dryclean in any solution, and an ‘F’ means dryclean in hydrocarbon only.
- Regal exclusively cleans with solution approved by the F symbol. This means we can dryclean anything without worry (F or P). Other alternatives, that aren’t covered by the F symbol, may be harsh on garments. Whilst these alternatives may provide powerful and quick stain removal, they also may leave a stronger smell, and the harshness can lead to a shortened lifespan of the garment overall.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CLEAN SOMETHING WITH TASSELS, EMBELLISHMENTS, BEADS….?
Even in the most delicate wetclean or dryclean, some items just have ‘risky’ components. The most beautiful pieces are often riddled with booby traps.
- At Regal, we know that delicate sustainable cleaning is more than just having the right machinery and products, it’s about having the right people and the right knowledge. Garments are individually handled and pre-inspected by our specialists, where many decisions and recommendations are made, rather than just being tossed in a machine.
- Garments with tassels get put aside so that the tassels can be wrapped safely in protective covers.
- For garments with embellishments and special buttons, we offer a service for unstitching the individual features before the clean and restitching them afterwards.
- Delicate garments are put in small net bags to protect them and any other garments from each other.
- By having some of the best specialists in the industry individually assessing each item, its features, and its risks, we can ensure proper precautions are taken and avoid unnecessary damage.
IS DRYCLEANING BAD FOR MY CLOTHES? MAYBE IF IT ‘LOOKS CLEAN’ ENOUGH I SHOULD AVOID DRYCLEANING UNTIL NEXT TIME…
Often people think that drycleaning can actually shorten the lifespan of garments, by being harsh on them. Ironically, it is often the opposite! By avoiding professionally cleaning your clothes that ‘look clean’ because you think this may be unnecessarily harsh, you can leave invisible stains to set in and yellow overtime.
- Common ‘invisible’ stains could be sugary stains, perspiration, and perfume that are all not noticeable after wear, but they are still present when you put the garment away. All of these stains will often set and oxidize, appearing yellow over time in the wardrobe if not properly cared for after wear. Lingering cigarette smell on garments will also cause discolouration over time if not professionally cleaned, and improper cleaning can attract insects and moths in the wardrobe.
- So the notion that you should avoid drycleaning after every wear is definitely a misconception, as caring for your clothes professionally and regularly will actually help rather than hurt the lifespan of your wardrobe in the long run!
So, having ‘dryclean only’ garments isn’t the only reason to visit the drycleaner. Taking your items to garment care specialists who can professionally and delicately wetclean and hand finish garments, whilst also understanding the risks of every garment, and who have the ability to protect, colour test, and properly press your items, will certainly improve the quality and longevity of your garments. High quality clothes need a high quality clean, high quality products and soaps, high quality machinery, and high-quality specialists. This results in less replacement and turnover of your garments, and overall greater sustainability within your very own wardrobe.
Here at Regal, we get to see beautiful new season garments all year round. But what happens to them after the first couple of wears? The average woman wears just 20% of her wardrobe. Is 80% of your collection languishing at the back of the closet? Here are some tips to turn your wardrobe into a sustainable fashion hub.
1. Restore old gems
How many times have you thrown out a beloved item because it’s ruined? Pause for a moment before your next disposal, and make sure it cannot be revived. Regal have restoration services for all sorts of issues:
- Colour enrichment treatment to deepen and enrich faded dark colours.
- Texturiser service to soften silks and delicate fabrics after an accidental trip to the washing machine.
- Oxy whitening treatment to whitens your whites again, getting rid of that odd off-white tinge that they get over time.
- Deodorising to extract strong odours, such as musty or smoky smells.
- Dye run treatment to extract loose dyes that may have bled on your black and white stripes.
- Fabric relaxation techniques to reshape and resize shrunken mishaps.
- Stain removal to work on anything from mould to red wine, or even just those stubborn oily spots that don’t come out in the home wash
- Repairs and alterations to fix zips, hems, or any damage preventing you from wearing your fave.
- Delinting/de-pilling after you accidentally wash your clothes with your towels, or if your cat finds a home in your washing pile.
So don’t throw that item out yet, whether it has been washed incorrectly and has bled or stiffened, or if something was spilt that you thought was beyond saving, or time and age have faded and discoloured…. Using restoration treatments can renew your wardrobe and ensure your fashion choices are remaining sustainable.
2. Donate your pre-loved
If a garment is beyond even a Regal restoration treatment, or, maybe you just don’t love it anymore, don’t leave it sitting in your wardrobe. As supporters of the sustainable fashion industry (but also supporters of shopping!) Regal launched a charity initiative, The Care Label That Actually Cares. It is all about giving those unloved items a second life, while also supporting a great cause, Dove Hospice.
In this collaboration, garments can be dropped at any of our stores, and we will happily donate them to Dove Hospice. Even better, if Dove have garments in need of some TLC, we will spruce them up ready for their next home. We hope this will be an easy and guilt-free way to donate the old and make room for the new!
So, when you clear out the wardrobe, bring in a pile for cleaning, a pile for restoration, and a pile for donation too. If you would like to know more about the great work Dove Hospice does, you can find out more at www.dovehospice.org.nz.
3. Shop quality
It all starts with the fashion you purchase and the brands you support. Spending on quality made garments, really does pay off in the long run. Too much fast fashion is filling up landfills and purchasing a few high-quality garments can fulfil your needs for years. Regal partners with so many amazing fashion brands, who send fabric samples for complimentary testing over and over until they are sure the fabrics do not bleed, fade, or damage. This means we are experienced with dealing with these fabrics to provide the best after-care, and it means the designers are not just using any old fabric off the shelf. The designers we work with make sure fabrics are colour-fast, have been pre-shrunk if needed, and can withstand proper delicate cleaning processes.
As well as creating high-quality fashion, so many local fashion designers go the extra mile to produce sustainable fashion in other ways. We love Karen Walker’s Dove Hospice initiative, where they take pre-loved, donated garments and give them a Karen Walker magic touch (after a Regal spruce up of course).
4. Clean with care
So much fashion is thrown out because it is cleaned in harsh chemicals, or not cleaned properly at all. By choosing a high quality, delicate cleaning service, you can take care of your garments properly for the long life they deserve. But, drycleaning is bad, you may say?
We are mindful of the impact drycleaning can historically have on the environment, so at Regal, we make sure we are doing everything possible to shift towards sustainable cleaning. Regal uses advanced cleaning methods based on biodegradable components while other local drycleaners may use Perchloroethylene which is much more aggressive. Regal has leading European drycleaning technology that recovers, distils, and reuses almost all the cleaning solution, to ensure minimum waste. The minimal amount of cleaning solution that cannot be retrieved is biodegradable. However, drycleaning is still not perfect, so Regal have gone a step further introducing delicate wet cleaning technology, which can be used to clean even ‘dryclean only’ garments, delicately and more sustainably. Regal also use biodegradable film, encourage recycling of hangers and packaging for reuse, and have gotten rid of those awful paper tags on every single garment, shifting to a paperless tracking system.
Taking your garments to a garment care specialist like Regal, not only avoids unnecessary negative environmental impact but also actually improves the longevity of your garments, reducing the turnover in your wardrobe.
5. Try marketplace and rental
Our partner (and neighbour) Designer Wardrobe is a great place to start when trying to improve the sustainability of your wardrobe. Next time you want to go shopping, take a look on their marketplace. ‘Secondhand clothes’ don’t always look like your childhood hand-me-downs. High quality, delicately worn, up-to-date fashion is available at Designer Wardrobe’s marketplace, and every time you purchase off a marketplace, you have found a new home for an existing piece of fashion. Imagine if your wardrobe was filled with all ‘pre-loved’ pieces that you ‘now-love’.
If you are just looking for something for a special event, try their rental garments. How many times do you think dresses are purchased for one-off use? Let them purchase the dress and share it with others that are striving for a more sustainable approach to fashion. And if you are worried about the environmental impact of drycleaning on these rental garments, see point 4 above, as Regal takes care of them all!
Wedding season is officially upon us!
Here at Regal we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of beautiful gowns to clean and press for you. We understand the importance of getting your gown the best aftercare to ensure it is as beautiful as ever, for as long as possible. Feel free to bring your gown into any of our locations, where our customer service team will happily take them in.
Our specialist bridal team at our Newmarket location will swiftly inspect the gown head to toe to ensure the most effective clean. Each wedding gown is quoted after looking at the complexity, volume, soiling and any special requirements
We tailor each clean to fit the needs of your specific dress. Cleaning processes include the use of eco-friendly solutions which allows a greater range of decorated, beaded & delicate garments to be cleaned successfully with the least possible risk.
It is important you clean your dress after wearing as although it may look clean, over time marks that once went unnoticed will begin to yellow. Stains that have caramelized into fabric are much harder to tackle than new marks.
To top off our wedding service, we also offer two museum quality preservation options! You have the choice between muslin gown bag or museum quality storage box. Muslin gown bags are perfect for smaller, lighter gowns and wardrobe storage. Whereas the museum quality box is suited for bigger, more complex garments and shelf storage. The boxing option has your dress wrapped in acid free tissue paper and muslin fabric, which is then placed in a box and wrapped again in a muslin bag. Proper preservation will also slow down the aging process for your dress.
Preserve your gown, preserve your memories.
We’re finally here.
2018 has been nothing short of a whirlwind for the team here at Regal. To top it off we opened our brand new store in Takapuna! Rest assured that while your garments take the trip across the bridge to our specialists in Newmarket, you’ll no longer have to.
We wanted to make sure our new Takapuna had everything our customers need just like our other stores, which turned out to be a bit more tricky in terms of location hunting. Nevertheless, perseverance and diligence has allowed for the best location for our North Shore customers. You can find your new local at the top of Shore City with free parking and our amazing customer service team waiting for you directly across from Les Mills.
We encourage you to stop in, say hi and see the new store to tick another thing off the list just in time for Christmas!
It is our Ponsonby store’s first birthday, and we’re ready to celebrate!
Over the next two months, we are going to be running Picture Your Purchase, a giveaway where you can show us what you’re buying this summer! Then on December 15th we are going to give one lucky person a $1000 gift card for our Regal Drycleaners Ponsonby store.
If you like to shop in Ponsonby as much as we do, you can enter by taking a picture of your purchase and sending it through to us or tagging us online. We’re encouraging you to treat yourself and get ready for the party season. If you needed an excuse to go get that new outfit you’ve been eyeing up, consider this it! Not only will you have some amazing new outfits, you might get $1000 to go towards our garment care services to clean, restore and preserve your new clothes to help them survive the party season. Maybe you can finally justify getting that stunning white outfit that you know you can’t keep white without our help.