Well, dear readers of Laundry and Cleaning News, another year has flown by and yet it only seems like a few weeks ago that we said hello to 2023. I have had a bit of a ‘topsy turkey’ year, but here I am, finger to keyboard, still typing away.

Recently I had cause to find a drycleaner that would be able to clean my Merinowool under-blanket. No longer owning my own drycleaning business, it was something of a novel experience for me to be looking somebody to carry out the work.

Looking online showed that there was only a small handful of cleaners within a 30-mile radius and two of those advertised that they were very experienced in dealing with all types of clothing, household items and textiles.

I phoned one and asked them of they also offered a wetcleaning service as I believed that this was the very best method of cleaning an item that is very prone to shrinkage in a normal laundry process. Part of my rationale for this and not drycleaning is that items like these that are designed to aid sleep and absorb perspiration need a water-based process rather than a solvent based one for the best results and make them feel good and smell fresh.

The answer that I was given was: “What is wet cleaning? Do you mean washing?”.

This was not the response that I was expecting from a drycleaner advertising over 30 years’ experience in the industry. I did ask a couple more probing questions before it became apparent that they had not got a clue what wetcleaning is. I started to explain what it was, but it was evident that there was zero interest in what I was saying.

I phoned the second cleaner, which had a fancy web page, listing all its experience and spoke to a member of staff who confirmed that they did wetcleaning. I travelled about thirty minutes to get to the shop where I was greeted politely by a member of staff. I advised that I had phoned up earlier and had a Merino wool under-blanket with me that I would like wetcleaned.

I was referred to another member of staff who could not even be bothered to look up from the ironing table on which she was leaning who told me that this type of item was dryclean only and that is what they would do. I explained why I wanted it wetcleaned and she still never bothered to look up and instead interrogated me as to why I wanted it wetcleaned and not drycleaned.

‘Much remains to be learned about providing a professional service’

I left the blanket with them on the understanding that they wetcleaned it as requested and at the time of writing, I have yet to collect it from this establishment and hope that it has been wetcleaned.

What became obvious to me in my search for a drycleaner was that, with the exception of readers of this magazine, and those who take a genuine interest and pride in the industry, much remains to be learned by some cleaning businesses about providing a professional service or even a basic understanding of the industry that they are in.

Do I feel disheartened or surprised to have experienced this, as a regular member of Joe Public making enquiries of his local drycleaner? The answer is no, I do not because the number of businesses like this is reducing as the industry gets harder to earn a living in, and those cleaning establishments that are run progressively, professionally and with pride will be in a good place to survive anything that 2024 throws at us. So remember the three Ps: Progressive, Professional, Proud.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.