Dry cleaners discover all sorts of stuff left in customers’ clothes. “We’ve found anything from false teeth to an illegal grassy substance, and of course, money,” says Russ Leuenbeger, owner of highly rated Master Cleaners, which operates locations in Berea and Olmsted Falls, Ohio. “One customer forgot nearly $1,000 in cash in his pocket.” When he returned, Leuenbeger says the grateful client gave a $50 bill to each employee.
It’s important to find a dry cleaner you can trust — with forgotten pocket treasures, delicate fabrics and sensitive situations like damaged or lost garments.
After a previous dry cleaner shrunk a sweater and ruined a pair of dress pants, Angie’s List member Robyn Riordan of Charlotte, N.C., decided to take her business to highly rated Princess Cleaners in Charlotte. “I’m so pleased to have found a trustworthy, quality place,” Riordan says. “They take great care and are wonderful about addressing stains that I point out.”
Owner Cathleen Richardson says good customer service is key. “It’s what it all boils down to,” she says. “We replace buttons and fix hems if they come out during the cleaning process. Our business is extremely detail-oriented.”
Richardson encourages people to find a dry cleaner who promptly addresses problems. “If we ruin or lose it, we replace it,” she says. While most dry cleaners offer a percentage of the replacement cost, Richardson negotiates a fair price with the customer and then issues a check or offers store credit. “Most people understand. It doesn’t happen very often.”
Billy Hallstrom, owner of highly rated Billy’s Cleaners in Phoenix, also ranks service as the most crucial aspect of his business. After three decades in the business, he opened his Phoenix store nearly eight years ago. “It’s our personal touch with customers — I know their names and we talk about their day,” he says. “It’s a matter of taking pride in what you do.”
He says he’s only misplaced or damaged one piece of clothing over the years. Hallstrom immediately told the customer, who was an Angie’s List member at the time, her pants were missing and offered cash or store credit to cover the full cost, prompting her to file a Page of Happiness report on his service.
Billy’s Cleaners dry-cleans clothes and many household items, along with shirt laundry. For customers who need items done quickly, Hallstrom offers next-day service. Dry cleaning costs $5.40 for pants, blouses and other basic pieces. Women’s blouses cost the same as men’s shirts, which isn’t the case at many other cleaners.
Princess Cleaners opened in July 1994 and provides same-day service for items dropped off by 9 a.m. “We can do a better job if we have more time,” Richardson says. “If there are a lot of spots, it takes longer to clean.” It does not cost extra for the rush service, which makes up about a quarter of the business. Princess Cleaners also launders shirts and performs press-only service.
For shirt laundry, cleaners use water with special soaps and conditioners, versus the chemical solvent used to dry-clean delicate fabrics. “It depends on the care label as to which process is used,” Richardson says. “It’s also the customer’s preference.”
Princess Cleaners charges $2.95 for laundered shirts. Women’s blouses cost $4 if the fabric, embellishments or petite sizing require hand-washing and pressing. Dry cleaning for pants, skirts and blazers costs $6.95, while dresses start at $12. Ultimately, people will pay a little more if the cleaner is convenient and stands by their work, Richardson says.