Garment care advice

Is regular dry cleaning good for my clothes?
I worry that it may take that edge out of the fabric.

We all have a few cherished expensive items or suits that we want to keep just perfect. Let’s say you have some dirt on the sleeve or collar but you’re reluctant to have it cleaned because you want to keep its condition as-new for as long as you can. Light soiling left uncleaned is much more detrimental to the fabric than cleaning.

When stains are left for a period of time, they are harder to remove and this more intensive cleaning needed to remove them can strip the colour off the fabric. You are much better off getting the item cleaned on a regular basis, or before the stains have set in. A good quality dry cleaners will treat the item with extra special care if you tell them how cherished the piece is when you drop it in.

Spilled red wine on your lovely rug or a favourite dress? Here’s some advice from Steve, our resident fabric care expert.

The best advice? Do nothing. Definitely don’t put salt on a red wine stain. It does dilute the stain, but then the salt actually dries and sets the stain into the fabric. And with water, all you’re doing is thinning the stain and spreading it.


Gently pat away the excess liquid with a kitchen towel before taking the garment to your cleaner.

Want to get brighter whites from your wash? Here’s some advice from Steve, our resident fabric care expert.

Only use as much washing powder as you really need, because too much will degrade fabrics and make them turn grey.

Bear in mind that these days, manufacturers will often put in optical brighteners. The garment, when new, will look really, really bright – but that’s an artificial colour, so don’t feel as if you’re doing anything wrong if it dims after the first wash.

Getting bobbling on your favourite cashmere sweater? Here’s some advice from Steve, our resident fabric care expert.

Because of the way that wool is made these days – with too much fibre left on individual strands – even expensive knitwear can bobble quite easily.

Don’t use a comb on your knits – they do get bobbles off the surface, but they also pull a lot of fibres out of the main strands and actually make the problem worse. The best solution is to gently shave the bobbles away.

Want to keep your suede jacket or bag pristine? Here’s some advice from Steve, our resident fabric care expert.

The number one rule? Always waterproof your leather and suede garments, shoes and bags. Just applying a waterproof spray means you won’t get water marks on them. This also gives a protective barrier against light soiling.

On a light-coloured suede jacket without waterproofing protection, once you get watermarks on it, it needs to be re-cleaned and re-oiled.

Don’t try to get rid of scuffs on leather clothing using shoe polish – it will just sit on the surface and chances are, if you touch anything, it will come off.

Got a stain on your dinner jacket or cocktail dress? Here’s some advice from Ernesta, one of our artisan cleaners.

Don’t be tempted to rub away at the spot where you dropped a canapé on your Chanel dress. Most evening wear fabrics cnntain natural fibres – like velvet or silk – and any dyes can run very easily.

If you spill something on yourself and then try to rub it with water, you won’t get rid of the stain – you’ll just add a watermark around it, and you might even remove some of the colour from the garment. It’s better to leave the stain alone and take it to your professional cleaner.

Want to keep kids clothes looking good, no matter how messy their play is? Here’s some advice from Ernesta, one of our artisan cleaners.

The three stains your little ones are most likely to have on their clothes – grass, blood, and felt tip pen – are all best washed in cold water.

Always pre-spot grass and felt tip (which are made with vegetable dye), treat stains with an over the counter stain remover – and for minor blood stains, pre-treat with a solution of cold water and Fairy Liquid in a spray gun. Washing with a good quality branded detergent is a must.

How to stay wrinkle-free on the road or on holiday – advice from Ernesta, one of our artisan cleaners.

When packing for travel, always use a suit or coat bag if possible.

If you don’t have the space, you can fold shirts, jackets, and dresses with tissue paper to stop them getting creased. If you cushion any item that a crease will go through, it will show creases less. The idea is to cushion wherever the folds are to avoid hard creases setting in. Cardboard inserts work well, too.

AJ, our resident presser, shows you how to iron the perfect shirt in just 3 minutes.

When ironing a shirt, try this routine from our ironer and you’ll have a wrinkle-free shirt in just a few minutes:

  1. Always start with the collar, face up.
  2. Next, do each of the shoulder yoke pieces in turn.
  3. Then lay the the sleeve flat with the vent facing you. Work around the vent and then iron each sleeve in turn.
  4. Next lay the cuffs flat and press just the front side of each.
  5. For the body of the shirt start at the button side, work your way around the back and finish on the panel with the button holes.

If you’re really in a hurry, button the shirt up and then lay it double. Iron the front, and the steam pressure in the iron will do the back, as well. Remember to always iron from top to bottom.

MEET STEVE, OUR RESIDENT FABRIC CARE EXPERT


Dry cleaning is in Steve’s blood: he started working in his uncle’s cleaning business at the age of 14, buying his own first shop at age 18. He has owned Swans for 14 years.

If you’d like to ask Steve a question, please email him on Us steve@swansdrycleaners.co.uk .