Insider Tips On Properly Cleaning What’s In Your Closet

By Tegan Donnelley
From the March issue of Michigan Avenue Magazine

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Davis Imperial Cleaners isn’t your average corner dry cleaner. Like you, it believes your most coveted couture deserves more than a little TLC. At Davis, a technician (aptly called a couture fabricare specialist) gives each garment–whether it’s a basic shirtdress or a museum-quality piece–a comprehensive inspection and analysis. And he or she doesn’t miss a thing. A specialist can spend several hours on one item. While prices aren’t cheap, the initial garment analysis and price quote are complimentary. Here, co-owner Lynda Wood explains the special care needed to keep your favorite fashions in tip-top shape.

Knits are vulnerable to stretching or becoming misshapen in the dry cleaning process. A technique called blocking guarantees that the shape of a knit is preserved. After the initial dimensions are measured and recorded, the knit is steam-cleaned and blocked to its original measurements.

When canvas, leather, and metal hardware adorn a canvas bag, a one-size-fits-all cleaning approach won’t work. At Davis, different techniques and chemicals are use on each material to safeguard against dye bleeding.

Chances are your favorite silk party frock is studded with invisible white wine stains. Wood uses a full-spectrum light analysis on the piece to target and treat each stain so it doesn’t become permanent.

The pearly finish of a reptile skin may make for a lust-worthy bag, but it’s all too easily damaged in the cleaning process. Hand care and an appropriate cleaning solution will maintain the original fabulous finish.

The hand-sewn edges of a scarf should never, ever be ironed flat. At Davis, scarves are hand-pressed, then edges softly rolled.

The loose thread within the boucle yarn, which gives these garments their nubby texture, can easily unravel, making them “as fragile as they are beautiful,” says Wood. Proper cleaning will prevent damage to the fabric and protect pearly or bead embellishments. Davis also makes sure to dry boucle at a precise temperature to avoid shrinkage.

Davis Imperial Cleaners, 3325 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., 773.267.4560, davisimperial.com.

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