Monday, November 24, 2008

Dry Cleaning Bags: Problems and Alternatives

dry cleaning

Are you storing your clothes in those thin plastic bags the dry cleaner uses? The expert advice is consistent: Don't do it! This is especially true for longer-term storage, and in areas with significant humidity.

1. From Classic Cleaners in Indiana:

Question: Should I store my clean garments in the plastic bag they are returned in?

Answer: No, the bags are provided by the cleaner to protect the garments until you get them home. It is best to store garments uncovered or in fabric garment bags.

2. From Orr Cleaners in Ontario:

Question: Can I store my cleaning in the clear plastic bags?

Answer: The clear plastic bags are called Poly Bags. Never store items in the Poly Bags as they can retain moisture resulting in stains. Remove the Poly Bags as soon as you get the garments home. Garments should be stored away from direct sunlight and moisture. A dry, dark closet is best.

3. From Meurice Garment Care in New York:

Question: Is it okay to leave my clothes in the plastic bags I get from my cleaners?

Answer: The short answer is this: only if you plan to wear them this season.

Plastic bags prevent the fabric from breathing. They can also promote mildew formation and cause fume fading. Fume fading yellows whites and discolors colored garments.

We recommend storing garments in cloth garment bags, which are breathable and offer some protection against damage from moths and other insects.

4. From Custom Dry Cleaners in South Australia:

Don't store your clothes in a plastic bag. The plastic bag your dry cleaner uses is only to protect your garments on your way home. The plastic causes humidity to condense in the bag, weakening the fibers.

reusable dry cleaning bag

So... what do you do with all those plastic bags - which you may or may not be able to recycle in your area? Well, you can try to avoid getting them in the first place.

Some dry cleaners are helping with this. For example, Paris Cleaners in Illinois provides reusable garment bags that convert to a tote bag.

And then there are companies pitching reusable bags to both the public and to dry cleaning businesses. One of these is Green Garmento, made of 100% biodegradable polypropylene. Another is Reuseniks, which provides a 100% cotton Clothesnik - that's a Clothesnik shown above. [via Springwise and Ideal Bite]

[photo by sfllaw / Simon Law]

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Anonymous said...

Great Advice and really cool way to present it! Thanks Jeri!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeri,

Thanks for blogging about The Green Garmento. I'd love to introduce your community to our Free Bag offer so everyone can get a head start to help save on plastic bags!

Jeri Dansky said...

Jennie, the free bag offer (with the $9 shipping and handling fee) is easy to find on your web site.