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Dry cleaning a wet process

With Night of the Stars scheduled for Feb 11, many students will be buying gowns and renting tuxedos. But what happens to those garments once they are sweaty and soiled?

The process of dry-cleaning, despite what the name implies, actually involves the clothes being soaking wet.

?Dry cleaning isn?t dry?? Derek O?Brien, ?08, said. ?Whoa! I never knew that!?

Since water will shrink wool, the material in most suits, a special solvent, called Perchloroethylene, or ?perc?, is used in the cleaning.

Randy Hurley, campus woodshop teacher and owner of Act 1 and Best Man Tux Shops, provided some insight about the dry-cleaning process.

?It?s very important that you make sure to include which type of stains your garment has and point them out to the cleaner,? Hurley said. ?There are different types of chemicals for cleaning different types of stains.?

For daily stains, like orange juice for example, a special additive is needed to remove the stain in the dry cleaning machine. That is why it is important to point out particular stains, or else they may be overlooked and without that additive, they will not be washed out.

?Perchloroethylene is used to dissolve oils,? Hurley said. ?When you get oil or grease on a shirt, that stain won?t come out in the wash at home, but it will here,?

Hurley suggests going to dry clean suits and gowns every second or third wear. Other garments like tuxedos and velvet jackets are also examples of garments that should be dry-cleaned.

?I have one gown that I wear at weddings and other events,? Annie Spees, ?07, said. ?I?ve only dry cleaned it once, but worn it at least four or five times. It just doesn?t seem dirty.?

Many garments are dirty when the wearer is not even aware of it.

?People don?t realize that their body oils stick to the clothes, and then attract dirt floating in the air,? Hurley said. ?Sometimes we?ll rent out a tux for a wedding and it?ll come back with the collar completely covered in dirt.?

Personal cleanliness has little to do with how soiled a garment can become.

?Even if you take a shower, your clothes will get dirty from your own body oils, but it?s just something that happens,? Hurley said. ?It?s also shows why it?s important to dry clean your garments often.?

It?s best not to leave garments dirty, either.

?It?s important to have clothes dry cleaned often, leaving them dirty can damage their fibers,? Hurley said.

For those interested in renting a tuxedo, Hurley?s shop, Act 1 Tuxedo shop, is located at 6505 N. Blackstone. Hurley can be reached at 559-438-9174. Best Man Tux Shop is located at 387 E. Shaw. Customers can call 559-224-5472 for more information.

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