Consumer Info

As a consumer, you're faced with an abundance of choices when it comes to your drycleaning.  What makes a good drycleaner?  Should I choose a drycleaner based on cost, or does it really make a difference.  It's really a personal decision and comes down to what your expectations are.  To help you through this decision making process, please visit these topics below: 

How to Select a Drycleaner

Facts About Fabricare

Clothes and Fabricare Tips  

Why look for the DLI seal?


Everyone wants to know "What's the best dry cleaner near me?" As someone new to cleaning, the options are hard to differentiate. That's where DLI comes in. We take the guesswork out of finding a reliable, affordable cleaner.

Plus, you can be assured that DLI  Drycleaners have the knowledge and resources to provide great customer service and quality drycleaning services. Find a great, reliable dry cleaner near you! Click here to find a DLI/IPDL drycleaner near you! 

Consumer Topics


How to Select a Drycleaner

 Members of DLI, as do members of any trade association, have an advantage over others in their profession. DLIprovides its members with quality information and knowledge about the cleaning industry. Members are educated and kept up-to-date on the latest industry information, cleaning techniques, solutions for problem garments, finishing procedures, new regulations, and technical operating information direct from our award winning magazine, Fabricare, and Fabricare Resources our Journal of Technical Bulletins.

If Members need help, DLI's technical experts are just a phone call away. Whether the question is on stain removal, finishing procedures, equipment related, or general business, DLI staff provides the answers.

DLI has a variety of training venues members can take advantage of--Resident Classes, Self Study Courses, Field Seminars, Videotapes, and On-Site Consultation. DLI training programs develop skills which allow cleaners to produce better quality work more efficiently and effectively which translates into better looking garments.

DLI’s Certification Programs provide validation and recognition for professional qualifications and knowledge about; professional drycleaning procedures (Certified Professional Drycleaner - CPD), professional wetcleaning procedures (Certified Professional Wetcleaners - CPW) and environmentally sound drycleaning procedures (Certified Environmental Drycleaner - CED).

DLI members have access to the International Textile Analysis Laboratory (ITAL), which determines the cause and responsibility when garments are damaged in drycleaning or laundry. ITAL solves more than 20,000 difficult cleaning problems and disputes each year. 


Facts About Fabricare


Fact and Fiction

Our business depends upon keeping your clothing looking its best. Yet misinformation continually creeps into media reports. Here are the facts regarding the most frequent areas of misinformation.Spots and stains allowed to remain without treatment will gradually oxidize, set, and become permanent. We are trained and equipped to deal with stains, and if anyone can safely remove them, we can.Don’t iron stained or soiled clothes trying to get just one more wearing out of them. Ironing dirty clothes will set stains and drive soil deeper into the fabric. Not good.Never put a garment away with a stain on it. Stains containing sugar and even small amounts of any food are a tasty treat for insects, leading to holes from eaten fibers. Also, putting clothes away without cleaning them almost guarantees some discoloration or oxidation of stains.Drycleaning will remove perspiration and body oil. That’s a good thing because these two elements contribute to stains and fabric degradation – and will eventually produce a lingering odor if left untreated.In more than 100 years of textile research and testing, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute has never seen any indication of the various drycleaning processes wearing out fabrics during a useful lifespan. Failure to have a garment professionally cleaned on a regular basis can result in an unusable or ruined garment with stains, holes, odors, or fabric distortion.

FICTION – Pricing discriminates against women.

FACT – Prices are based on our costs of doing business without regard to gender, race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, or sexual orientation, of the person who owns or wears the garment. 

We strive to charge the same for all garments of a similar type. However, customer care associates are instructed to check closely for any detail that may require specific handling requirements and to charge for that item accordingly.

FICTION – All stains can be removed.

FACT – No they can’t.

Whether it’s a new garment or a treasured, well-worn garment, everyone hates it when they spill something on their clothing. We understand, and will always use our best efforts to make that accident go away. Sometimes it’s pretty easy – sometimes not. Either way, we have the professional expertise to do the job. Successful stain removal depends largely on the nature of the stain, the type of fabric, and the colorfastness of the dye. Some fabrics and dyes simply will not withstand the use of cleaning or stain removal agents. Some stains, like ink and dried paint for example, can be impossible to remove.

FICTION – Care labels are always correct.

FACT – No. Most manufacturers never test garments before the required care label is attached.

Understanding and following care label instructions is almost an art – requiring a combination of knowledge of care symbols, instructions, and practical experience.The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Care Label Rule does not require testing before care instructions are assigned to a garment – only that a manufacturer have a ‘reasonable basis’ for their care instructions. Further, they are not required to provide instruction for the best care procedure – simply one that works. Sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s wrong. We always attempt to alert our customer to a potential problem beforehand.

FICTION – The damage is your fault because it was just fine when I brought it in.

FACT – We strive for error free operation, but mistakes can happen. When we’re wrong we will make it right.

Statistics from the International Textile Analysis Laboratory (ITAL) demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of problems are the result of improper care instructions or damage that is not readily visible. We sometimes rely upon a determination from ITAL to resolve where responsibility should be placed.Wrong Care Instructions – In general, the safest way to clean an item is to carefully follow the care instructions. If damage occurs after following the manufacturer’s recommendations, then rightfully, the manufacturer is at fault.Consumer Related – Occasionally chemical damage occurs as the result of use and wear, but it remains invisible and unknown until the article is cleaned. In cases like these, the flexing of the fabric during cleaning causes already damaged fibers to fall out, leaving holes or a loss or change of color. The usual culprits are perspiration, alcohol, bleach, various acid and alkaline-based products, salt, and hair preparations.Household Damage – Environmental conditions can cause damage to fabrics. This may include surface soiling from an accumulation of smoke, dirt, and dust or direct exposure to sunlight or artificial light. Discoloration or degradation of fabric may not be evident until these contaminants are removed.

FICTION – Shirts (and sometimes other garments) don’t shrink.

FACT – Yes they can if the material has not been properly preshrunk or some other element of construction has not been properly stabilized.

When it begins, shrinkage usually becomes progressively noticeable. Typically, manufacturers consider a two to three percent shrinkage factor acceptable. But when shrinkage or some other element of construction exceeds this factor, the result is shrinkage around the chest, sleeves, and neck. This is a problem associated with manufacturing and is beyond our control. 

FICTION – Drycleaning harms the environment.

FACT – The drycleaning industry is possibly the most heavily regulated small business in America. Air and water regulations are comprehensive and farreaching. Safe operating practices, handling, and disposal of any chemicals entail strict monitoring and enforcement measures.



Clothes and Fabricare Tips


Care Labels

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that garment manufacturers attach a label providing directions for at least one safe method of care. The care label must be easy to find, permanently attached, and remain legible throughout the life of the garment. The manufacturer must have a reason for the recommended care instructions and must warn about any part of the care method that would harm any component of the garment or other garments that may be drycleaned or laundered with it. A care label must also warn when there is no method for cleaning— these typically read: “Do Not Dry Clean,” “Do Not Wash.” The Care Label Rule applies to all clothing except: suede and leather garments, hats, gloves, socks, footwear, reversiblegarments, and household items such as draperies, linens, and upholstered furniture.

American Care Symbols

The Care Label Rule allows for the use of the American Care Symbol System. The symbols may appear along with or in place of written care instructions. We rely upon our professional affiliation with the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute as a resource for interpreting non-conforming instructions and symbols.

Common Care Label Terms and What They Mean

DRYCLEAN: Any drycleaning process can be used and may include moisture, pressing by steam or steam-air procedures, and drying up to 160ºF.PROFESSIONALLY DRYCLEAN: The item may be cleaned by varying from a normal drycleaning process. The care label must provide specific instructions.SPOT CLEAN ONLY: The only thing that can be done is stain removal without immersing or otherwise cleaning the entire garment.HAND WASH: This is a gentle soaking process with very limited agitation by hand. Other information may include specific water temperature and drying requirements.MACHINE WASH: This instruction indicates that use of either a commercial or home washer is acceptable. The type of cycle may be specified, such as a gentle cycle. Other information may include specific water temperature, drying requirements, and bleaches that can or cannot be used.BLEACH: Care labels on washable garments will usually indicate if bleach can be used and, if so, which type is appropriate. Common terms include: “Do Not Bleach,” “Non-Chlorine Bleach Only,” or “Bleach When Necessary.” If the type of bleach is not specified, any type may be used.TUMBLE DRY: Most garments have tumble or machine drying instructions along with recommended temperatures such as low, medium, durable or permanent press, hot, or no heat. If no temperature is recommended, the garment can be tumbled in a hot dryer.LINE AND DRIP DRY: This instruction means that the garment should be placed on a clothesline or hanger when removed from the washing machine. If a garment is heat sensitive, the label may state, “Line Dry Away from Heat.”DRY FLAT: Usually found on garments susceptible to stretching when wet (such as sweaters), this instruction entails placing the garment on a towel in order to absorb moisture as it dries or using a drying rack with an open grid that allows air to circulate completely around the garment.IRON: If ironing is recommended, iron or temperature settings are usually stated. Instructions may include: “Cool/Low Iron,” “Warm/Medium Iron,” “Hot Iron,” “Iron on the Wrong Side Only,” “Steam,” “Do Not Steam,” “ Iron Damp.” If no temperature or setting is stated, the highest setting can be used.

Does Washable Also Mean Drycleanable or Vice Versa?

It may or may not. The manufacturer is only required to list one method of safe care no matter how many methods could also be used safely. And they do not have to warn if other methods would damage the garment.

Using a Care Method Not Specified on the Label

If a different care method is undertaken, there is some risk. We may, at times, suggest an alternative method based upon our knowledge, skill, or the type of soil or stains on the garment; or you may request a different method. Either way, we will carefully consider all options and advise you before beginning any requested process and may ask that you sign a release from responsibility form.

If There Is No Label

All garments sold in the United States must have a care label. An appropriate care label must also be made available when purchasing fabric that will be used for clothing. Removing the care label entails some risk since care information or warnings are no longer available.

What If There Is a Problem After Care Instructions Are Followed Exactly?

If a garment is damaged or ruined at home even though care instructions were followed, you should return the garment to the retailer. If the retailer is not helpful, you may wish to contact the state or local Office of Consumer Protection or locate manufacturer contact information on the Internet. If the garment was damaged at our store, speak with us directly. If we did not follow the care instructions, we have a responsibility for the results. If we did follow the care instructions, we may be able to assist you with a settlement from the retailer. To make contact and resolution with a retailer go more smoothly, you should:

  1. Be prepared with a purchase record or an estimate of approximately when the garment was purchased
  2. Estimate of the number of times the garment has been washed or drycleaned
  3. State a resolution that would be satisfactory 

We appreciate and value your business.