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Why Did Your Professional Laundry Rip Your Dress Shirt?

Posted by David Whitehurst on Feb 24, 2011 5:01:00 PM


Laundered shirt with fabric deteriorationSo you picked up your cleaning at your Professional Laundry or Dry Cleaner and found a shirt that had been ripped in a couple of areas. 

How does this happen and who is responsible?

Certainly, a Professional Laundry or Dry Cleaner could mishandle the shirt and cause the damage.  But that doesn't happen too often.  And if it did, I would expect the Professional Laundry to tell you about it and compensate you for the shirt.


Ever Heard of a Blow Out?

Most often the damage illustrated in the photo above results from deteriorating fabric.  After washing the shirt, the Laundry presses the shirt by using air pressure to initially force out the creases.  It then applies steam to relax the fabric and dry the shirt.  If the fabric in the shirt has weakened, the pressure on the fabric will cause the shirt to tear.  There was no problem with the shirt before it was laundered and now the shirt has a rip down the side or under the arms. 

So who's at fault?  The shirt fabric was weakened and the problem became obvious when the Professional Laundry used normal garment finishing methods to press the shirt.

After learning of a damaged shirt, an unhappy customer suggested that we may have cut her shirt with a knife.  But I assure you that no laundry or dry cleaning service can stay in business long doing that.  But it shows the emotion of the consumer when a shirt has a "blow out."

This happens on less than one out of every 1,000 to 2,000 shirts we launder.  That doesn't seem like much.  But to the unhappy lady it happed to, she probably thinks the Cleaners mistreats a lot of shirts...and this just isn't true.

Fabric Deterioration

When you get a shirt back from the Professional Laundry or Dry Cleaner and the fabric has been ripped or torn, take a close look.  Give a slight pull to both sides where the fabric is torn and see if it tears further with little effort.  This is a sure sign of a condition sometimes referred to by dry cleaners as fabric dry rot. 

Fabric dry rot can be caused by excessive moisture that evaporates before the rotting process begins.  But once the fabric begins to deteriorate, it will continue until the fabric begins to fall apart.  The longer fabric is exposed to moisture without thoroughly drying, the greater the chance of the fabric deteriorating. 

Another cause of weakened fabric is exposure to aluminum chlorides found in virtually all antiperspirants (not usually in deodorants, however..and there is a difference).  If the fabric weakens and tears under the arms, this is often the cause. 

Three ways to Protect Your Dress Shirts

  1. Launder your shirts as soon as possible after being worn.  Don't hold them for a week or two after wearing.  But please understand...over time, shirts wear out no matter how careful you might be.
  2. A shirt exposed to perspiration or rain and placed in the hamper or laundry bag has a good chance to begin to dry rot.  So a good way to  avoid fabric dry rot is to allow your shirts to thoroughly dry before putting them in the laundry bag. 
  3. If you prefer using an antiperspirant rather than a deodorants, wearing a tee shirt is the best way to protect the dress shirt.

We very seldom have a shirt "blow out" on new shirts.  Most often the shirts are several years old.  It doesn't seem to matter if it is an expensive or an inexpensive shirt.

Whether it's dry rot, discoloration or weakened fibers from perspiration, your shirts will not last forever.  In fact, the longer you own the shirt, the greater the possibility of having a blow out.

So whose fault is is when your shirt has a blow out?  You now have the facts so it's up to you to decide.


Get Your Shirts Folded After Cleaning In Birmingham Alabama

Folded Shirts Make It Easy To Pack For A Trip And Easier to Pack Your Closet.

Ask for our Folded Shirt service when having your shirts laundered at Champion Cleaners.

Topics: Professional Laundry, Shirt, Fabric Deterioration, Fabric Dry Rot

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