Wetcleaning chemicals

A veteran spotter paid a visit to me a while ago. He has been doing it for the last 30 years. He even taught me a trick or two. He never had his own store but he was very proud of his skills. The only flaw is that he has a big mouth. Once he gets going, he will go on and on about fabrics and chemicals. It was obvious he loved his vocation for sure.

“Hey, Leo. What’s wrong? Why the long face?”

“I don’t think I can do this anymore.  It’s time to leave for good.”

“Something did happen. You have to tell me.”

He has been working for the last 6 years at a dry cleaner whose clientele was comprised of wealthy people in Dallas. This store charged $15 for a simple T-shirt.

The owner of this store got interested in wetcleaning and he paid a visit to my store to get training. He has been a steady customer of my chemicals but the amount of order was getting smaller.

“My boss, Big Dick, he is driving me crazy.”

The owner’s name was David and he weighed over 300 pounds. Everyone call him Big D but Leo called him Big Dick when he was in bad mood.

“He is nagging me that I use too much chemicals. I use them to get the job done. I don’t even think about how much I use. One day, he bought Tide, Downey and dish washing soap at Walmart and told me to use them. No way. I just kept them in the cabinet. It’s not like I’m washing dirty socks. Do you think customers would like it if their expensive blouses smell like Downey? He should take down ‘Professional Organic Cleaners’ sign.”

“Is business going bad?”

“Well, the volume is down. With all the cheap chemicals, what do you expect?”

“So, what do you want from me? Free chemicals?”

“No, but I want you to talk to Big Dick and make him understand good chemicals are indispensable. I tried but I can’t.”

“OK, why don’t you bring him to my store and bring a difficult piece with you.”

Leo and Big D showed up at my store few days later and they brought a dress with white top and black bottom. It looked impressively expensive. Big D told me he doesn’t accept a dress like this unless the customer signs a waiver. I did not do any pre-treatment and washed it with other clothes. Big D never looked more nervous and when it came out fine, he couldn’t believe his own eyes. Leo was all smiles. I told him good chemicals makes or breaks a wetcleaner. Big D started ordering the usual amount again.

You can never over emphasize the importance of chemicals in wetcleaning. But too many people try wetcleaning with regular laundry chemicals. Let me give you three pointers:

Firstly, you can’t judge a chemical after just one use. You should take a long time to properly evaluate a chemical. Is you customer’s Escada jean the same color as 3 years ago? How about a dress jacket you wetcleaned many times? If you want to save yourself troubles, ask someone who has been using a chemical in question for a long time.

Secondly, you get what you pay for with chemicals. Don’t expect to find cheap but good wetcleaning chemicals. Chemical costs count for little when it comes to your bottom line. It will never be more than 1% of your expenses.

Thirdly, once you find good chemicals, stick with them. When I visit other cleaners, I often see a variety of chemicals littering the spotting board. If you find something that works, why fool around with others?

1. Spray Stain Out mixed with water 1:1. 2. Rub under the running water for 5~10 seconds. 3.Stain is all gone. Put it in the washer wet.

Spotting tip

Treating deodorant mark: If you find thick deodorant mark in the armhole area, brushing and steam gun is not the best way to go. As you see in the pictures, spray Stain Out solution and finish at the sink. It won’t take more than 10 seconds.

Picture of 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.

Click the ad to connect by phone