There’s still room for drycleaners19 April 2023
Hemant Zavery, business development manager at Cole & Wilson, gives his views on the current state of the drycleaning market
Drycleaning has been on the decline for many years, hastened by the increased focus on sustainability and changes in textile formulations, writes Hemant Zavery. Covid however quickened the pace of its demise due to companies having to be flexible with regards to home working and thus very little formal wear was required.
Whereas in the past people may have purchased a few expensive formal garments and kept them for a long time, today there is more of a culture towards buying cheaper, buying more often and maybe getting rid of them rather than paying for dry cleaning.
Textiles too have changed significantly with more man-made fibres replicating natural ones, many of these new textiles don’t require dry cleaning. Leisurewear is a big market sector for the clothing industry, people make more time for leisure activities and life in general requires more casual garments. One trend aligned to this has been that of down-filled outdoor jackets. These do benefit from the specialist treatment at a drycleaners, to maintain the loft of the filling.
Despite the move towards wetcleaning, there is still a need for drycleaning. As chemical technology has moved forward, there are now drycleaning solutions that are less harsh on the environment and garments and so can be used for a wider range of cleaning tasks. This has allowed dry cleaners to offer cleaning solutions for difficult to clean items such as sheepskin boots and hand-embellished items and to meet the sustainable aspirations of customers.
This in itself has led some drycleaners to seeing an increase in the number of elaborate textiles, saris, beaded items, suede and leather coming in for dry cleaning. Although many dry cleaners have seen the percentage of their drycleaning business drop, there is still a need.
Over the past 16 months Cole & Wilson has seen a huge increase in the number of new outlets keen to introduce HiGlo. More than 25 drycleaners have opted for new – or to replace– solvent in drycleaning machines with HiGlo, due to its ability to offer a cle aning power (KB value) close to Perc whilst also providing added benefits. HiGlo offers a much gentler cleaning process with the garments being soft to handle and having a pleasant scent on completion of the cleaning process.
HiGlo has proved a hit with a wide range of dry cleaners and launderers across the UK including Penguin’s Laundry, Aberdeen; Mr Steed Dry Cleaners in London, and; The Dorchester Hotel.
Both drycleaners and their customers prefer the solvent due to its versatility in processing a wider range of textiles, many that were unsuitable for cleaning with Perc.
Mr Baig, owner of Norbury Express Dry Cleaners in South West London, started to use HiGlo a month ago.
“I have noticed an improvement in the quality of cleaning in terms of stain removal and the garments are softer at the end of the cleaning process. HiGlo offers better value for money.” Mr Baig uses a multisolvent machine and participated in a one day HiGlo training session with Hemant so as to fully understand how to use the product for maximum benefit.
The wash and fold services side of the business is also increasing for many dry cleaners and launderers. Covid started a trend, where more and more people are working from home thus an increase in general laundry. The demands on family schedules and people’s time meant drycleaners and launderettes are finding people are happy to drop off laundry, so that they can provide a service wash.
Overall, we have found that HiGlo is improving business for the following reasons:
1. It offers a KB value or cleaning power close to Perc
2. It can be used in multi-solvent machines and other solvent based dry cleaning machines such as hydrocarbon, Green Earth, Sensene, Intense which can be easily converted to HiGlo
3. It is versatile and can be used to clean textiles that could not be processed using Perc such as blackout curtains, beaded or sequin garments, leatherette, plastic trimmings etc.
4. There is no traditional Perc smell left on the garments
5. The garments are soft to the touch
6. Dry Cleaners adapt easily to using HiGlo
7. There is back up and training to help users feel confident.