Many of you have been asking me about how is the best way to clean stains in clothes? So I decided to make an interview to a specialist, Gabriel Rusell, the owner of one of the most prestigious drycleaners in Buenos Aires. Gabriel’s father, created the first branch in Recoleta in 1964. Since then, the business had grown and in 1982 they opened a second branch in Palermo. Currently they have 19 employees and their income goes up to 700 thousand Argentinean pesos.
¿What is the expertise of your business?
G: It is a handcrafted work, some drycleaners offer to clean your clothes in 1 or 2 hours, we dedicate a lot of time in each garment to be sure that is clean and in perfect shape. We take off all buttons before washing it, then we retouch the hem and lining if it is needed, then we clean it, iron it and then we sew again each button. When the garment is ready, we wrapped it individually. For all of the above, we are one of the most recognized drycleaners in Buenos Aires.
Let’s talk about fabrics, how do you divide them? How do we need to take care of each one?
G: Let’s divide them in two groups: men and women clothes. Men’s suits have to be always clean at the drycleaner, specially the ties because the silk is usually very delicate. Women’s clothes are more complicated to clean since each garment has usually a big variety of fabrics. For example, it can be a mix of polyester or silk with spandex and all those mixes are complicated to clean, all depend of the case, or we have to wash the dress by hand or apply specific treatment to remove the spot. Sometimes we have to follow our instinct and experience more than the clothes care tag.
How can we take care of white clothes? Why do you think the white clothes as not as white as before?
G: If we use the typical dry cleaning process in white clothes, it usually end up a little darker, that’s why is better to wash it by hand if it is possible, depends on the fabric and the design of the garment. The fabrics today are not as before, their composition had changed. To whiten something that is yellow you can apply lemon, chlorine (diluted) and it always helps to hang outside (the sun always help). Deodorant spots are remove from white clothes the same way, although sometimes is complicated due to the fact that deodorant and sweat can burn the fabric and make a permanent stains.
How can we take care of the black in black clothes?
G: Originally fabrics are white and then they follow a dyeing process to get the color, so that’s why the black color will always go away losing their original tone. With the dry cleaning process, the black becomes dark gray; it always looses the original tone. Sometimes is possible to recover the color with aniline but all depends on the fabric, it has to be cotton or a simple fabric to get dye, and if it is a mixture of fabrics it will be very difficult to dye it.
How can we clean the following stains?
Coffee – cold water and white soap.
Deodorant – on white clothes we already explained it. If it is a colored fabric it will very difficult because it leaves a white halo and generally it burns the color. Try to clean it with white soap and cold water.
Red wine – it is not removed with anything. Sometimes, depends on the fabric, white wine will help, but it will not clean it completely (and I thought it was the best!)
Balsamic vinegar – same as red wine, also Fernet and Coke leaves a stain.
Blood – cold water
Oil – grease – it is usually necessary to apply a solvent on the whole article to avoid spots. When you get the stain you can put salt on it but the best that you can do is not touch the spot. And specially, PLEASE do not touch the spot on ties it is PROHIBITED because you will damage it permanently (it will always look little white on the spot), take it directly to a dry cleaner that will know what to do.
Beet – normal washing.
Strawberry – sometimes with cold water, but sometimes need to be treated at the dry clean.
Always at home use white soap, soft detergent and cold water to take off any stain, the stain removers that you can buy at the supermarket are not usually effective. Delicates clothes can be also washed in your bath, but never use the washing machine to spin it.
What do you think about the quality of Argentinean fabrics?
G: I think it is worst than before, the economy had affected the quality. But it is important to consider that not always expensive clothes mean high quality fabrics. When you find small balls in your clothes, try to take them out with a used razor or small scissors; this small balls usually are more notorious after the dry cleaning process.
Ironing is always a problem, what can we do to avoid end up with burn or shine clothes?
G: You can use a protector for your iron, the famous humid rag that our grandmother used, or iron the clothes upside down. Obviously always take care of the temperature.
What can happen to our clothes if we ignore the tag of “Dry clean” and “we clean it at home”?
G: Depends on the fabric. If we are talking about men suits, or a coat, forget it! it has to be dry cleaning. But some clothes allow both processes so always read the care tag before doing anything.
What are for you the attributes that define the beauty of a woman? And her style?
G: For me a woman has to be nice and modest, apart of having certain physical beauty of course, I like nice legs. The style for me is defined on the way they walk. My favorite style is contemporary.
Based on your experience, what advice can you give to us entrepreneurs?
G: Before you start, make a deep analysis of the business that you want to do, analyze what do you need, talk to people who is already in your business and get trained if you need it. Sometimes things look easier than they really are. Before you invest do a deep research!
If you are interested in Tintoreria Rusell services (I strongly recommend them I am a client!) you can call them 4812-5583 (Recoleta) or 4825-8492 (Palermo).
I hope you find useful this information, if you like it please share it with your friends and … now there are no excuses to have clean clothes all the time!!
This post is also available in: Spanish