How do professional cleaners press clothes?

Clothes are always great when they come back from being professionally cleaned, they feel as good as new and the creases are all gone.

But how do they do it?

How do professional cleaners press clothes?

Plus most importantly how can you get the same professional pressed results at home? We will give you all the tips later in the article.

The professional’s clothes press technique

There are a number of different machines and contraptions which allow the professionals to press clothes perfectly and get flawless results.

After the clothes have been pre-treated (to make sure any stains will be removed more easily) they are then dry cleaned with a solvent. The clothes are examined again and any stains that still remain are removed in a process called post-spotting. Then they move onto the finishing touches which get the garments looking as good as new.

Finishing includes the following processes:

  • Pressing
  • Steaming
  • Ironing
  • Folding
  • Packaging
  • Any other finishing touches (Repairs etc.)

Now, the parts we’re interested in are the pressing, steaming and ironing; these make sure your garment looks pristine, so let’s find out how this is done by the professionals.

Later we’ll go into the ways that you can achieve your own perfectly finished clothing, using steam presses and garment steamers; which will make your ironing so much easier and quicker!

If you’ve been in a dry-cleaner before, you will most likely have seen the machinery used to press the clothing and noticed it’s rather warm due to all of the steam.

These are general purpose steaming machines and special pressing machines; specifically for shirts; both make the process of ironing so much speedier and more efficient.

How does a press work?

The pressing machines use a combination of pressure and steam; this steam can also be removed with air or vacuum. Applying steam to a garment will soften the fabric and make it easier to press. The high pressure applied to the clothing is where the pressed effect comes from and the heat helps to quickly dry the garment, helping it to keep its shape. Also, the vacuum or air will remove the steam which assists in the quick-drying process.

In a press, the pressure will come from the top of the machine and steam is released through the bottom.

Why press my clothes?

The reason to press a garment is to help it maintain its shape; shirts are the best example of this. When clothing is worn, it doesn’t lie flat, so getting some shape into it really helps it to look its best.

At professional cleaners, a shirt’s collar is pressed with a curve, the cuffs are also pressed in the same way, often by the same machine which has separate sections to place each part. There are also pressing machines specifically for the sleeves as well.

Pressing is part of looking after your clothes and helps them to have more longevity!

How you can get the same results as the professionals at home.

The secret is in using a household steam press – these are becoming more and more popular in many family homes.

Make sure to set your press up on a flat surface, and if this is a polished surface, make sure to protect it with a cloth or covering.

The steam press will need to be switched on after it has been locked open (you don’t want a hot press landing on your hands!) and depending on the model, will take a minute or so to heat up.

You can set the heat depending on what you are pressing; in the same way, you set the heat for a handheld iron. Larger items such as bed sheets should be folded and stored behind the pressing pad, so they can be pulled forward as and when it is are needed.

Garments or linen should be damp to achieve the best results with a press, so spritzing your garment with a spray bottle set to mist will help to create a better finish.

You will find that pressing your garments will take less than half the time it takes to iron them. A good steam press applies a pressure which is 5 times the pressure of a hand iron; making that crisp looking shirt a thing of ease.

Of course, as with any new appliance, always read the instruction leaflet that comes with it. You’ll need to be sure to use your press correctly to make sure it lasts as long as it should. If you look after your press, it will last you a lifetime and keep your ironing time to a minimum!

Tips for getting professional pressed shirts

To create the perfectly pressed shirt or blouse, carry out your pressing in sections. Start with the yoke of your shirt; this is easier when you use the corner of the press, and then continue with the sleeves.

A shirt sleeve will fit perfectly into the flat section of your press and make sure the armhole seam sits at the edge of the padded base. The next sections you will need to press are the front and back panels; left and right, with the buttons at the front of the board, nearest you.

Pressing the collar flat will be the last step of this process, but make sure to only have the collar on the board, as you don’t want to ruin the pressing you have already done.

Tips for getting professional pressed trousers

There are many styles of trousers in a variety of different fabrics, but all will be pressed in a similar way.

Using the shape of the board, you can slide the trousers over the end to get the top of the trousers pressed. If there are any pleats or pockets, you can place a small pad behind these to protect them from becoming creased.

The legs should be pressed one half at a time unless the leg fits perfectly onto the press. Trousers which do not need a crease can be pressed flat, i.e. casual trousers and jeans.

Tips for professional pressed results on other garments and fabrics

As with washing, different fabric types and garments have set rules when it comes to pressing.

Acrylic and wool mix fabrics do not need as much pressure applied and not as much time in the press but make sure to follow any instructions found on the clothing care label. Knitted items, in general, will not need as much time in the press and not as much pressure either; heat will be lower and steam is not needed.

Denim (such as jeans) will need to be spritzed with water to soften the fabric through steaming; also, a longer closing time in the press will be necessary.

Elasticated items will need to be held in place (underneath the base pad) to avoid unnecessary creasing from the fabric springing back into the press.

Once you have completed your ironing, make sure to dry the board completely and leave to cool before moving. Over time, you may want to replace the foam and cover of the board section; this will help to increase the longevity of your press and make sure your clothes continue to look great!