Drying wetcleaned garments

We covered the general principles of drying last month. We will delve into specifics this month. Drying done right will produce clothes that are no different from drycleaned clothes. Drying done right enhances your quality while making finishing easier. So many people put more weight on washing and end up with rough, wrinkled and hare-to-press clothes. Those who insist wetcleaning is difficult obviously haven’t been drying right. I have emphasized the importance of drying many times over the years and I will do it again to cover proper drying technique.

1. Temperature

Drying temperature for wetcleaned garments is around 45℃. At this temperature, all fibers can be dried without shrinkage. If clothes contain a lot of moisture, you can start at a higher temperature and work your way down to 45℃ but this requires a programmable dryer. If you don’t have one, set the temperature at 45℃ from start to finish.

Not all garments require drying at this temperature, though. For example, paddings or down jackets can be dried at a higher temperature.

2. Dry completely

A lot of people send moist garments to finisher but moisture makes pressing not only harder but also make seams and shoulder line not straight. Those who insist on pressing moist garments are afraid of over-drying but at above mentioned temperature, over-drying is not a concern.

3. Tumble drying is a must

I have seen instances when hang-dried garments go straight to pressers. If garments are dry, why bother with a tumble dryer? Well, tumble drying is essential in quality finishing.

Tumble drying wetcleaned garments obviously is not for just drying the. Drying process activates conditioners and this removes wrinkles, improves touch and restores surface luster.

Exceptions are hand washed silks, neckties, curtains with fused backing, clothes with breakable beads.

4. Minimize tumble drying time

When tumble drying wetcleaned garments, we need to minimize the time. Most fabrics get weaker when wet because fibers’ tension is down. When subject to mechanical action in such a condition, many problems can occur. Felting on wools, crocking on silks, color loss and delustering of the surface. This is why I always emphasize hang drying first before tumble drying.

Sometimes when in a hurry, you can skip hang drying but doing this will damage garments over time.

5. Tumble drying with some moisture

If garments are completely dry, tumble drying cannot remove wrinkles and improve touch. Some moisture is required. You can easily achieve this by spraying water before tumble drying.

6. Dry thick garments together

You should not tumble dry thick clothes with thin ones. This will unnecessarily extend the drying time. So always classify by weight for efficient work flow.

7. Lint is not your friend

When wetcleaning, lint is seldom an issue. That’s because most of the lint is removed during washing and drying process. Conditioners also help keep lint from sticking to the clothes.

However, sweater and fur items will give you some lint problems. To avoid it, simply dry sweater, fur items and coats separately. Also you don’t dry brightly colored sweaters with dark suits.

8. Items with decorative items

Garments with beads, decorations and large buttons can get damaged during tumble drying. You can use a net bag or turn them inside out. If a party dress has a lot of decorations, you can skip tumble drying all together.

9. Thick wool suits and coats

Thick wools are usually not tightly woven and this makes them weak. Wool can absorb a lot of water and this weakens the fiber, too. Drying wet wool items can cause severe felting as well as damage to seams.

Items like these need to be hang-dried well. Wool can hold a lot of moisture and still feels dry to the touch.

Once hang-dried well, wool fibers become strong enough to be tumble dried. Even then, we need some moisture before tumble drying.

Experienced wetcleaners understands the importance of drying. If you’re starting to wetclean, follow above mentioned rules and you can avoid a lot of problems and headaches down the road.

Yangsoo Kim

Yangsoo Kim

The author is the developer of Aqua Master wet cleaning chemicals and is currently operating Green Life Cleaners, a 100% wet cleaning service. You can contact him by phone (201) 699-7227 or email at yangkim50@gmail.com.

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