FAQs about the texts you may receive from Regal

In this FAQ guide, we explain why we may send you a text message, what they mean for your garments, and how they reflect Regal's commitment to transparency and quality service.

Why did I receive a text?

We hate having to bother you with these sorts of communications, but the nature of what we are handling, and our dedication to transparency and informed customer experience have led to this communication. We have occasionally received feedback that people do not like these messages, and we have considered revoking them, however, we get materially more feedback on the flipside, thanking us for the transparency and the communication. Therefore, on balance, and in alignment with our value offering, we believe in this communication.

Why don’t you know what to do already?

If we were the manufacturer, the designer, and the clothes had never been worn, it would be a completely different story. We would know what testing was done on the components, and no external factors or stains would be present on the garments. But this of course is never the case. Whilst most of these issues actually have nothing to do with the cleaning process, we still think it’s our responsibility to communicate with you what concerns there may be, based on our experience. As the professional cleaner, we know you expect that we point out and discuss potential issues.

How do you know there are risks?

We see thousands of garments every day and are well aware of what potential issues may arise, across the variety of clothes, designers, manufacturers, consumer conditions, and age of these items.

Why is there a risk if you are following the care label?

These risks are being pointed out, because despite following care instructions, we have seen these components (from design or manufacture) adversely affected by standard delicate cleaning. Technically, if we follow the care label, this is a problem with the garment design itself and you should be able to raise this directly with the place of purchase. However, we know in reality that things are not this simple, and you are expecting us to know best. If you proceed, we will always do our best to minimise risk (covering tassels in foil, for example), and we will always make sure we follow the care instructions carefully. If a garment is well made, and the care instructions are correct, there should be no problems.

Why won't drycleaning remove the stains if it says dryclean only?

Drycleaning is a solvent-based cleaning method that uses no water. It is a fantastic cleaning method for removing oily stains, and has historically been much gentler on garments, hence your silks, suits and luxury items say, ‘dryclean only’. However, drycleaning in a delicate solvent does not remove water-based stains or heavy staining. Water is needed to remove water. So, when we have all these ‘dryclean only’ garments, with certain types of staining that drycleaning does not remove, we reach a crossroads. Yellow staining and liquid-based stains, like wine in particular, will not come out in drycleaning.

How come different drycleaners don’t send me these texts?

At Regal, we refuse to use a solvent called perchloroethylene. Perc (for short) is a much harsher drycleaning solvent, historically used in the industry, although banned in many countries around the world now. It is a suspected carcinogen, contaminant and soil pollutant. It is a strong solvent that can sometimes remove heavy staining in a way that our gentle solvent cannot, but is harsh on garments, staff, and the earth. We will not use perc. Even perc will not remove water-based staining, and so this issue of how to clean these garments is faced by everyone in the industry. Any drycleaner you take these garments to will sometimes need to go against the care label for certain types of stains, the only difference is whether this is communicated and presented as a choice or not.

What are the alternative cleaning methods?

The alternative cleaning methods are usually wetcleaning and/or spot cleaning. Spot cleaning uses concentrated products in targeted areas to work on stains. Spotcleaning usually always needs to be followed by wetcleaning to flush out the spotting products. Very few fabrics can be spot cleaned only (despite many care labels saying ‘spot clean only’), as they will leave watermarks/rings where the spot cleaning was performed. So, following spot cleaning, these garments need to be wetcleaned. Wetcleaning uses water, as opposed to drycleaning which uses solvent, making it a much more powerful cleaning method on stubborn and water-based stains. This also makes it a more sustainable cleaning method, particularly when reuse recycling systems are used for the water involved (which we have a Regal). Wetcleaning is a delicate cleaning method, that includes a low level of water, at low temperatures, a variety of soaps to protect fibres, colours, and condition, and very low mechanical action. The mechanical action of the machine basically simulates what a ‘hand dip’ might entail, but with professional soaps being dosed to protect and clean the garment.

Wetcleaning has become very advanced over the last 5 years, and is now often more common than drycleaning, in the industry worldwide. Care labels continue to say ‘dryclean only’, as it is historically the safest option for designers to put, especially to avoid consumers mistaking wetcleaning for meaning they can wash at home. However, wetcleaning is now able to be used on all garment types, including silks, suits, and luxury brands. It has been designed specifically to be able to clean all these garments that historically couldn’t be washed, but that need an alternative cleaning method to drycleaning. There are even a few drycleaning facilities, that do not ‘dryclean’ at all.

How likely is it for risks to actually occur?

Wetcleaning is common, advanced, and extremely successful on most garments. It is also necessary, when there are certain types of staining on garments. Despite our (and the entire industry’s) confidence in the cleaning method, if your garment technically still has a ‘dryclean only’ care label on it, we feel it is our responsibility to run this past you. We did not design or manufacture your garment ourselves, and we do not know with certainty that it will not have any adverse effects. To go against the care label will always have a risk involved, and occasionally there will be adverse effects. These would be 1% or less, but they do happen. The risks that can occur are usually shrinkage, texture change, and colour fading. Again, these are rare, but by no means impossible, and therefore we feel an obligation to seek your permission before trying this.

So, what should I do?

If you are unsure, the easiest way to think about it is; because of the staining, there is now a risk in cleaning it. If you are not bothered about the staining coming out, then you could decide to not try these cleaning methods. However, assuming you want the staining removed, the best option will usually be to try these cleaning methods, keeping in mind that they are used successfully by us all day, every day.

My item is really expensive and badly stained, do I have any other options?

If your garment is extremely high value and you are concerned, one option to consider is claiming on your contents insurance before cleaning. If there is a spill or an accident that has stained your garment or item, then your insurers will (almost always) request that the item is cleaned first before they consider compensation. We will disclose the risks to them and proceed. That way, if anything does happen, there is already a claim for the original staining, and any damage from the cleaning was just due to the process of trying to rectify the original incident.

What can we do if my pleats fall out?

Unless pleats are permanently stitched in, then they are held in by pressing, and therefore, cleaning can remove or soften these. Pleats may soften after one clean or may soften over time as it varies from garment to garment. Other things contributing to this is where you sit on the pleats, which will also speed up the flattening of them. Pleats are extremely difficult and time consuming to press back into a garment. Extremely thin pleats cannot be reinstated by us, as they are too tight for someone to press by hand. Wider pleats can technically be re-pressed by us, but every pleat is individually hand pressed, so the cost to do this is usually hundreds of dollars, priced per-pleat, due to the hours of time involved. Also, even if we do this, if the pleats fell out from wear/cleaning initially, it will fall out again next time, so it is not a very cost-effective solution. Another issue may be that a garment is very crinkled around the pleats (think, scrunched up in a pile sort of crinkles), and these crinkles cannot be pressed out like we would normally do on a flat garment, as, to press the crinkles, would mean to flatten the pleats. Unfortunately, this is just an inherent risk with pleated garments, and there is nothing that can be done to minimise this.

Minimising wear and cleaning is the best approach. Some garments and designs retain pleats very well, whereas others fall out very easily, and this is often not known until post-cleaning. Hence, we run this risk past everyone, for every garment that has any pleating.