Champion Cleaners Dry Cleaning Blog - With Birmingham Area Happenings

Don't Always Blame Your Dry Cleaner When Your Dress Shrinks

Posted by David Whitehurst

Saks Fifth Avenue Sold a Lemon

A new dress bought online always needs to be pressed before wearing it.  In this particular case, we were pressing a Teri Jon dress.  In order to remove the wrinkles on this “Dry Clean Only” garment, we applied steam. We do this plenty of times every week.  And unless the care label says that steam should not be applied, this is about the only way to remove wrinkles from this type of fabric.  Keep in mind that we only steamed the dress.  We didn’t dry clean it since it was brand new.

But something went wrong this time.  This high-end dress actually shrank which is really unusual.  Not only are garments sold in the U.S. required to be pre-shrunk, they 

are also required to stand up to the treatment in the care label.  This care label only stated “Dry Clean Only.”  It did not restrict the application of steam..

So we sent this dress to an independent testing lab and learned that the fabric was treated with a sizing agent during the manufacturing process to give the body, weight and the feel to the dress. Tests concluded that the fabric became unintentionally overstretched during the application and curing of the sizing agent. When stem was applied to the fabric, the sizing dissolved causing “relaxation shrinkage.”

With this written report in hand, we contacted the Saks online people and eventually reached the higher ups in their customer service department. They were polite but clearly stated that they would not take responsibility for this, saying that they had not had any similar complaints about this dress.  My question is, “So What?”  The dress couldn’t be worn without steaming and did not hold up to normal steaming processes.

It makes me wonder how a name like Saks Fifth Avenue gets a good reputation.  It wouldn’t happen at Nordstrom...or at Champion Cleaners!

Buyer least with Saks!


Topics: dry cleaners, dry cleaner, dry clean only

Is your Garment Spot Clean Only?

Posted by David Whitehurst


Spot Clean Only

Spot Clean Only is an instruction that is found on many care labels.  What does it mean and how do you deal?  Did you know that there are sometimes ways around a Spot Clean Only label? 

Understanding Spot Clean Only

Often a garment is labeled Spot Clean Only, but that is not always the case.  Clothing manufacturers are only required to list one possible way of cleaning an item and may put Spot Clean Only as thier preferred method even if other methods exist.  This can be due to the use of a delicate fabric or ornamental beading.  Unfortunately, this is seldom the best method for cleaning anything. Certain ornamentation may be removed prior to cleaning and re-attached afterwards seamlessly.  More indepth ornamentation may require the use of alternate methods such as hand dipping and hand agitation. 


One of the main downfalls of an piece of clothing labeled Spot Clean Only is that doing so usually results in a substantial and quite obtrusive watermark.  Fabrics like silk do not fare well with water or water-based chemicals and leave a ring that is always larger than the original spot. The solution to this watermark is to clean the entire garment.  This can be done in a number of ways and it is always best to consult with a Professional Dry Cleaner like Champion Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama to ensure the best possible outcome.


It is unfortunate, but there are certain items that just cannot be cleaned. Generally most cheap formal gowns, (usually constructed in china), with heavy and intricate beading are meant for only a single wear. While these are few and far between, an experienced professional can tell you what is and isn't possible with your particular garment.

So what do I do?

The bottom line is that every garment is a different creature.  Knowing the best approach is the job of the professionals.  Stop by today and let us take a look at your Spot Clean Only items to advise you on the best course of action.




Get Help With All Your Spots From Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama

Don't Know What That Spot is or How to Get It Out?

Call 205.824.7737 for assistance or visit any of our three locations.


Topics: Spot Clean, Care Label, Spot Clean Only

Rug Cleaning in Birmingham, Alabama

Posted by David Whitehurst

Tips For Maintaining Your Rugs

A simple but often overlooked technique to maintain your rugs is to rotate rugs within your home.  Heavy traffic patterns and sun exposure can cause noticeable change in your rugs.  Try rotating rugs in different rooms or different places within rooms.

And if you can’t do that, at least rotate the rug in place.  It will make a difference!

Most rugs need cleaning at least once a year to get a deep-down cleaning and to remove the dirt that finds is way into the fibers of your rug.  And if this dirt is left alone, over time the rug will wear out faster than will happen with a thorough cleaning that you can't get by simple vacuuming,


Can't get that stain out of the rug?

Let Champion come to the rescue.

Find out more about our home rug cleaning service.

Call 205.824.7737 for details

2548 Rocky Ridge Road

Birmingham, AL 35243.

Topics: Oriental Rug Cleaning in Birmingham Alabama, rug cleaning, rug cleaners

Dry Clean Your Comforters, Duvet Cover and Bedspreads When Painting

Posted by David Whitehurst

Painting or Remodeling?

When it’s time to paint or remodel inside your home, it’s also a great time to send your comforters, duvet covers, rugs, draperies...most of your household textiles to your dry cleaner for professional, thorough cleaning.

This way you have these items out of your way so they won’t get paint, sheetrock dust or other debris on them. And you’ll get them back from your dry cleaner all clean for your fresh, new look. 

Comforter and Bedspread Cleaning resized 600

Professional Comforter and Bedspread Cleaning In Birmingham, Alabama

Champion Cleaners with 3 Locations in Birmingham

  • Rocky Ridge in Vestavia Hills (205.824.7737)
  • Greystone on Highway 280 and Highway 119 (205.408.2797)
  • Calera on Highway 31 (205.668.4727)


Topics: Birmingham Dry Cleaner, Comforter Cleaning, dry cleaners hoover

Clothing Care - The Single Biggest Mistake

Posted by David Whitehurst

Well, I did it.  I own a dry cleaner and I made the single biggest mistake possible in clothing care.

I have a light weight white jacket for my morning walks with Champ.  When the temperatures dropped a couple of weeks ago, I pulled it out of the closet only to find a big yellow spot right on the front that looked a lot like mustard. On my white jacket!

I’m sure you know to always put your clothes away clean when the seasons change.  I didn’t do that soRic Pevey, Champion Cleaners Birmingham Alabama I was at the mercy of the fabric, the stain and the knowledge of my dry cleaner...who happens to be Ric Pevey (luckily Ric and our Plant Managers, Craig Ledwon at Greystone and Terry Hal at Calera, are “Certified Garment Care Professionals” and know all about spot removal, fabrics and cleaning techniques).  They can’t guarantee that they can get out every stain, but if anyone can, Ric, Craig and Terry can do it.

Fortunately for me, Ric removed the spot from my jacket without fading the color of the jacket in the area of the stain.

So the biggest mistake you can make in caring for your clothes is to not keep them clean.  And while this may sound a bit self-serving since I’m in the dry cleaning’s just the truth about clothing care. 

Here are my suggestions for protecting the investment in your clothes:

1. Clean your clothes soon after wearing them.  Don’t wait several weeks between visits to your laundry room or to Champion Cleaners.  And when the season changes, don’t put your clothes away dirty.  Stains have a better chance to set in and they won’t be ready to wear when the season changes again.

2. Clean your clothes often enough.  Trying to get an extra time wearing a dress shirt, your favorite blouse, or even those dress pants might seem like a frugal thing to do.  But food spills, perspiration and even deodorant can cause stains.  The sooner you tend to the problem, the better chance you have of not having to replace the garment early.

3. Don’t try to treat those spots yourself unless you really know what you’re doing.  Magic formulas of hairspray or Windex to remove ink on a dress shirt rarely work and most often compound the problem. If you find a spot, blot it off and let us help with it...right away.

We have a regular customer in Boston who ships any garment with a stain to Ric to handle.  Ric does his magic and ships it back...because Ric really knows what he’s doing!


Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaners, dry cleaning, stain removal

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