This pressing does flatten out the fabric, which will give a shine to dark fabrics. If you have ever seen someone wearing a black shirt with shiny cuffs and collars, this is why. If we hand press a shirt, it will virtually eliminate that issue (as long as it hasn’t been repeatedly pressed on the […]
One of the big questions people like to ask dry cleaners is “Why are women’s shirts prices different than men’s”? This is a good question that comes up often and has even been politicized in the media.
To understand the answer to this question, you must first understand the process of laundered and dry cleaning. A typical laundered dress shirt (the kind that is considered a “laundered shirt” in our pricing), is a medium weight shirt, sized 15-18 has normal buttons (no specialty buttons such as extra thick, shell, or special detailing), and is straight form meaning no darts. The reason for this will become apparent when we discuss the pressing.
When a men’s shirt comes into the store and has been checked in, it gets checked for stains to be treated and bundled according to color type. Once the shirts have been stain treated and cleaned, they are taken wet to the shirt pressing station, known in the industry as the Buck Press. This is composed of two parts – a cuff and collar press, and a torso. First the shirt is put in a press where the cuffs and collar are laid on top of curved heated pads, and the top part made of heated steel, closes down on it. This press gives the cuffs and the collar that crisp look which looks very sharp on most shirts.
This pressing does flatten out the fabric, which will give a shine to dark fabrics. If you have ever seen someone wearing a black shirt with shiny cuffs and collars, this is why. If we hand press a shirt, it will virtually eliminate that issue (as long as it hasn’t been repeatedly pressed on the buck already). Hand-pressing takes 4 times as long as the buck press, so we have to charge accordingly. Just know that is an option for your favorite shirts.
Some buttons were not designed to tolerate the process of being pressed on the hot plates for 20-30 seconds (as well as the torso press below) and therefore do very poorly with this technique. Oversized buttons (such as the recently popular double thick buttons) stick up too high and the pressure makes it easy for them to crack. Designer buttons often have designs that are more delicate, are softer and are more likely to melt. Shell buttons can quickly become brittle with the heat on them and easily chip and break.
After the cuff and collar are pressed, the shirt goes to the torso or buck press. The wet shirt is dressed onto the torso and the pressed cuffs and collar are clipped into place. The shirt is now ready for pressing. It slides into the press area where hot metal plates are pressed against the machine as steam goes through the extended arms. Again, special buttons are not designed to be pressed against heated plates this way. After the shirt is complete, the presser puts it on the hanger and it goes on the line to be inspected. Each shirt goes through an inspection process to see if any touchups are needed, which are done by hand.
There are some ladies dress shirts that can be cleaned this way. However, ladies shirts frequently have smaller sizes, darts, special fabrics, and/or delicate buttons. Shirts that cannot withstand the buck press (both men’s and women’s) are therefore cleaned (wet clean or dry cleaned, depending on the best way for that particular item), and then hand pressed. As you can imagine if you have ever hand pressed a shirt before, hand pressed items take much more time to process and therefore need to be charged according to the additional work involved. We do have customers that bring in women’s shirts that will fit on our press and have requested the laundered service. We always try to do what is best for the garment. As a member of the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute, the premier international dry cleaning organization, we are committed to fair pricing for equal work.