Dry cleaners fail to remove all stains, finds Which?Many dry cleaners are falling below set standards

17 November 2011

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Many dry cleaners are struggling to remove basic everyday stains, don’t inspect clothes before dry cleaning and damage clothes during pressing, a new Which? investigation can reveal.

Researchers from Which? took 48 dry clean only wool-mix women’s jackets to be dry cleaned at the three largest national dry cleaning chains – Johnsons, Morrisons and Timpsons – as well as a number of independent dry cleaners.

Only four removed all stains

21 out of the 28 cleaners were good or excellent for stain removal, but only four out of 48 dry cleaners visited managed to remove all test stains (cream, red wine and vinaigrette) without damaging, shrinking or stretching the jackets too much.

  • Morrisons – 8 out of 12 shops rated good or excellent for stain removal
  • Independents – 6 out of 12 shops rated good or excellent for stain removal
  • Timpson – 4 out of 12 shops rated good or excellent for stain removal
  • Johnsons – 3 out of 12 shops rated good or excellent for stain removal

Lack of inspection by dry cleaners

14 shops didn’t inspect the jackets while researchers were in the shops and 17 shops didn’t ask what the stains were. 

Inspecting the garments before dry cleaning is important – without doing this, stains are likely to go un-treated and end up permanently set, rather than removed.

Members of the Textile Services Association

Three quarters of the shops visited were Textile Services Association (TSA) members. 

TSA Chief Executive Murray Simpson said he takes the Which? findings seriously, that the results are disappointing and the TSA wants to learn from them. 

But he said the results of the Which? investigation are at odds with research commissioned by TSA members.

Which? dry cleaning expert Matt Stevens said: 'Which? research shows that dry cleaning services haven’t improved since the last Which? investigation in 2008. 

'The TSA has a seemingly strong code of practice and offers an advisory service for customers with dry cleaning problems.

'But the organisation needs to be far more proactive in ensuring that TSA members are adhering to that code of practice. 

'And dry cleaners that let consumers down should be removed from the TSA scheme.'

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