Maxwells Drycleaning Tips & Myths

Getting married?

Preserve your Wedding & Formal wear!

According to Statistic New Zealand, more than 21,900 marriages took place in New Zealand in 2008. As a result, it's a busy time for your dry cleaner to be cleaning newly-married couples' formal wear.

The most obvious garment that the cleaner sees: the wedding dress. Wedding dresses have irreplaceable sentimental value for the owner, are usually very expensive, and are virtually impossible to clean properly and safely at home.

But here are some facts that make wedding dresses similar to any other garment brought in for professional cleaning:

  • The sooner it is brought in, the better. All stains become more difficult, if not impossible, to remove as they age. Time and temperature greatly affect the success of your drycleaners stain removal ability.
  • Identifying the stain greatly improves the stain removal success. You can help by telling us that the stain is wine, lipstick, grass stains, etc.
  • Most stains are in two predictable areas:
    • The front from the neckline to the waist or lap area for food or drinks spilled while eating.
    • The bottom hem and train areas from being dragged across the ground for several hours.

But, there are also some challenges for your cleaner that are specific to formal wear, and wedding gowns in particular. They include having to deal with delicate fabrics like silk or lace and easily damaged decorations like beads, sequins or pearls. Lastly, the colour white is the most difficult to completely clean, because even a shadow of a stain tends to stand out if not completely removed.

You can help Maxwells Drycleaning preserve your precious memories by bringing your wedding gown in as soon as possible for cleaning and packaging. (In fact, many brides ask their mother or bridesmaids to take the dress in while they are away on their honeymoon.)

Be sure to point out any stains whose origin you can identify. And if you can point out any areas of "hidden stains" from clear beverages or any areas that may have been spot-cleaned during the reception, this will help prevent these "invisible" stains from re-appearing while the gown is in storage.

With a little teamwork between you and Maxwells Drycleaning, your wedding gown can be cleaned and preserved safely--maybe to be worn in the future by your daughter!

Stains and Storage


Time waits for nothing--including your stained garments. Studies undertaken by the International Fabricare Institute (IFI) have proven that the sooner you bring your stained garment into a professional dry cleaner, the more likely it can be removed.

Age of Stain: Probability of Removal:
Within 24 Hours 90% or better
Within 7 Days 79.8%
Within 21 Days 53.1%

Something else to keep in mind is that by attempting to remove a stain with your own stain removal remedy on certain fabrics and substances, you could be unknowingly setting the stain, making it difficult or even impossible for your professional dry cleaner to remove.

At Maxwells Drycleaning, we have the equipment, experience and chemical agents superior to any household solution you might try. Don't take chances with your garments-- take them to Maxwells Drycleaning.

Storing garments for the Off-Season

As New Zealand has changing seasons, people's wardrobes change according to the weather and temperature. This means that, for an extended part of each year, groups of garments are put away until their season arrives. Improper storage of your off-season wardrobe, though, can cause irreparable damage. Following are some typical problems you may encounter, and advice on preventing the damage.

Yellow Stains: Stains that are invisible when they occur, left on a garment during storage, will oxidize with age and appear as yellow, orange, or even brown. Juices, soft drinks, beer, white wine, tea or coffee, and other beverages or foods containing sugars can cause stains to develop during storage. The longer the stain is allowed to age, the more difficult it will be to remove. Natural fibres tend to retain stains more tenaciously, too, like cotton, wool, and silk. Prevention is the best "cure". When you get a stain, take the garment to your cleaner as soon as possible, and point out and identify the stained area. Maxwells Drycleaning has special stain removal agents that may remove, or at least minimise, the stain.

Mildew: Mildew will develop on garments that are stored in damp or humid conditions. It has a musty odour and appears as black, grey, purple, or yellow specks with an irregular pattern. Mildew not only stains, it actually deteriorates the fibres of your garments, especially natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, and leather. Once established, mildew growth can only be completely stopped by washing in chlorine bleach. Unfortunately, this is not safe on many fabrics and can remove colour. To prevent mildew, store your clean, dry garments in a well-ventilated, climate controlled, dehumidified area.

Insect Damage: When stains are left on garments, especially food, beverage, perspiration, and body oils, insects like clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae, and silverfish are attracted to the stain. Consequently, their efforts to eat the staining material will cause damage to the garment's fibres. Sometimes, a hole is apparent immediately; sometimes damaged fibres are flushed away during a subsequent cleaning, causing the hole to appear. There is no way to repair this type of damage, but you can help prevent it by having your garments cleaned before storing them in a cool, dry place.

Light Fading: Many dyes are sensitive to prolonged exposure to sunlight, and even to a light left on in a wardrobe. Silks are especially susceptible, and fading can occur in a relatively short time. Light fading is typically evident on only one side of the fabric, and also only where an edge is exposed to the light source. Fading cannot be corrected, so do not store items in direct sunlight, and remember to turn off wardrobe lights.

Dye Sublimation: This type of damage is comparable to a dye transfer or dye bleeding, but occurs when certain dyes vaporize and are carried to other garments through direct contact or by air currents. This streak-like staining develops slowly over longer time periods, and can be accelerated by heat. The dye sublimation usually occurs from dark coloured acetate and is more noticeable on lighter coloured garments. Storing dark garments separately from light garments helps to prevent the occurrence of this type damage.

Overall, our advice is to ensure that all garments are professionally cleaned before being put away for the offseason and to store your garments in a cool, dry place.

The Myth of Frequent Cleanings

The myth that too frequent cleaning can damage garments has been around for many years. Perhaps this thought comes from people who have washed and dried items at home, especially brightly coloured garments, and after several washings noticed a colour loss, shrinkage or other distortion. While this may be true for garments cleaned in a domestic washer and drier, it is certainly not true of garments that are processed at your dry cleaner.

Here are some points to remember when comparing washing to dry cleaning:

  • Drycleaning is gentle on your clothes. The drycleaning process uses virtually no moisture which means no swelling or shrinking effect on the garment fibres.
  • Drycleaning is extremely gentle on the dyes and other finishes of your garments, such as embossing, polishing, waterproofing, and wrinkle-resistance.
  • Drycleaning's lower cleaning and drying temperatures are substantially gentler to your garments. The higher drying temperatures necessary for laundered items combined with tumbling and agitation can cause noticeable garment shrinkage and colour fading.

It may sound crazy, but professional dry cleaning will actually prolong the life of a garment. Timely cleaning can remove spots and stains that would otherwise become permanent with age. Ground-in dirt acts as an abrasive, causing rapid wear of fibres. Also, insects are attracted to food particles on your clothes and can cause irreparable damage. Professional stain removal and cleaning eliminate these problems, and professional pressing will keep your garments looking as close to new as possible. A properly cared-for garment will usually wear out from use or go out of style before the effects of cleaning could cause any damage.

You have a lot of money and emotions invested in your wardrobe.
Trust Maxwells Drycleaning to extend the life and maintain the quality of your investment.