1623 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302


Wedding Gowns:   Preserving Your Memories

Choosing a Wedding Gown:

Wedding consultants agree that you should begin shopping for your wedding dress at least six months before your wedding date. Today’s wedding gowns are made from fabrics such as satin, taffeta, chiffon, organza and brocade. These gowns may be accented with delicate trims having beads, seed pearls, sequins, embroidery, lace, and appliqué.

When shopping for your wedding  gown, be sure to ask the sales consultant  how the dress should be cleaned. Find out if there are special instructions for the delicate trim, beads, or sequins.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  care label rule clearly states that wearing apparel, such as wedding gowns, must have a care label that provides a viable care method. Look at the care label prior to purchasing your gown.

After the Wedding:

Most brides want to preserve their wedding gown,  perhaps for a daughter to wear on her own wedding  day in the future.  Cleaning  industry experts  recommend that you have the wedding  gown cleaned before storage.

Wedding gowns may have a variety of decorative trims. Inspect these trims with your dry cleaner prior to having  the  garment  dry cleaned. Many trims are not made to withstand the cleaning process. Beads, glitter, sequins, and lace  may be attached  with an adhesive that could dissolve during the dry cleaning process. Gowns that fail to withstand the recommended care label procedures should be returned  to the retailer for an adjustment. 

Storing Your Gown:

Unfortunately, no process or storage method can guarantee against yellowing or possible deterioration of the fabric.  There are steps that you can take to protect your  gown.  First, have an experienced drycleaner dry clean the gown and then pack it in an acid-free box to help prevent contamination.  Next, store the gown in a cool, dry place-- not in a damp basement orhot attic.  Finally, inspect the  gown from time to time during storage  to be sure that no previously-undetected stains or yellowing  of  the fabric are occurring.

If you have questions about your wedding gown, please call the Presto Valet Consumer help line at 703-998-6464.  Presto Valet is an environmentally safe dry cleaner using GreenEarth Cleaning. GreenEarth solvent is safe on most trim, beads and sequins.

The Low-Down on Down

If  you are looking for a warm comforter or coat  for the winter, try buying one made of down. Many comforters, sleeping bags, coats and other winter items are made out of this popular material.  Down is both  resilient and fashionable.  Most of all, it is one of the more superior insulators on the market. 

What is down?

Down is the soft fluffy cluster of filaments growing  under the feathers of ducks, geese and other waterfowl.  Like wool, down is a protein product and is used for insulation. It contains thousands of fluffy filaments that form air pockets to trap body heat and keep the cold out.

What  should  you  look  for  when  purchasing  down?

Dry cleaning or laundering items  made of down is not usually a problem if the items are well constructed.  However, in a poorly constructed garment or comforter that lacks  proper  quilting,  the down may shift, lose shape, or become matted. It is important that you  inspect the construction of the  garment or comforter  before  you  purchase it.   

Here are some guidelines to help you inspect the down item adequately:

1)    Make sure that the item is well quilted. The quilting stitches should run both   
    vertically and horizontally with the quilting line 8 to 10 inches apart.

 2)   Check the strength of the garment’s stitching. Poorly stitched items can lose 
     stitching and may allow the down  to shift.

 3)   Check for fullness of the quilted area.  Adequate fullness will provide more 
     insulation and a warmer garment or comforter. 

How should  down  items  be cleaned?

Always follow the care label.   The  manufacturer should have considered all components of the garment or comforter and listed the appropriate care method. Tumble dry down  items at a temperature  no higher than 140 degrees.  Add a tennis ball to the dryer to fluff the down.

If you have any questions about down or how it should be processed, please call the Presto Valet Consumer Help Line at 703-998-6464.

Presto Valet is a GreenEarth environmentally safe dry cleaner.


 The Woes of Winter Snows:    Mold and Mildew on Your Clothes

 After a long, hard winter of large snowfalls and flooded basements, many area residents are facing a new duo of problems: mold and mildew on furnishings and clothing. The “M & M” team of mold and mildew can discolor and destroy the fibers in fabrics. 

 What  are  Mold  and  Mildew?

Two major groups of organisms that can cause this type of damage are bacteria and fungi. Mold and mildew are visible signs of fungi. These fungi produce a musty smell and range in color from black or gray to orange and red.  Textiles damaged by bacteria-contaminated water have a  sour or musty smell.

Temperatures above 115 degrees F. will kill most  mildew, but freezing does not kill mildew fungi.  Micro-organisms thrive in dark places but can be killed by sunlight and untraviolet radiation. However, stains and color changes may be remain in the garment.

Fibers such as cotton, linen, ramie, and rayon are easily damaged by mildew, but silk and wool are very resistant to it.  Synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, and acrylics can be stained  and damaged by mildew under extreme conditions.   Mildew damage to leather and natural rubber can include stains and thinned areas or holes.

Flooding and dampness can create breeding grounds for mold.  Mold has been linked to many allergies and illnesses.  Insurance claims have skyrocketed in recent years due to problems related to mold.

Can garments damaged by mold and mildew be  saved?

When you bring your mold and mildew-damaged garments to a professional dry cleaner such as Presto Valet, the items are inspected for stains and fiber deterioration before being processed.  Presto Valet’s experienced staff will discuss potential problems and probable restoration outcomes with their customers. 

One effective method for destroying odor is the use of ozone, which stops the growth of microbial organisms.  However, rubber and some dyes may be damaged by ozone.

The best way to treat color changes or stains caused by mildew is to wetclean or launder the item in a solution that contains oxidizing bleach.  Specific bleaches are safe on certain fabrics.  Dyed fabrics need special care, since they cannot tolerate oxidizing bleaches.

The bacteria found on washable garments contaminated by flood waters can be killed when washed in hot water with normal concentrations of bleach, followed by tumble drying.  The bacteria found on drycleanable items can be killed by a careful drycleaning process which includes special methods of drying and steam finishing.  However, the International Fabricare Institute (IFI) cautions that “Drycleaning, alone, will not remove water-soluble impurities left in the items. Therefore, full restoration may be impossible on some items.”

The mildew found on leather items can be wiped off with a damp cloth, then  air dried, followed by an ozone treatment in order to stop mildew growth. Leather specialists are recommended for cleaning and restoring damaged leather garments. In cases of severe damage, restoration might not be possible.


For consumer questions about garments damaged by mold or mildew, please call  Presto Valet’s Consumer  Help Line at 703-998-6464.