Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Industry whiteness/brightness tests

Post number 5

Industry whiteness/brightness tests

There is concern in some quarters that CCCC will not regard the industry tests as vital or necessary when certification and approval from the world of fashion and others are obtained as to the proof of concept of our cleaning standards and consumer centred quality parameters.

This is far from the truth. We regret our misleading the industry and general blog readers if this has been your perception. We need to work with certain parts of the industry that will be instrumental in the success of CCCC, and it’s immediate off shoot These are some European and UK chemical manufacturers who have geared up for the work for a long time now.

Similarly, dry cleaning machine and equipment manufacturers will be heavily relied upon for the manufacture of new generation of Perc machines and additional equipment. Design and structural changes to these are brought about after extensive consultations with NISE (National Health Innovations South East) of the NHS since late 2006.

In this regard, ‘segregated dry cleaning’ does not only mean the compartmentalisation of dry cleaning in to the domestic, industrial, and household sectors, but the shop working area will also be segregated in to clean and soiled zones to introduce changes as a result of the application of basic principles of hygiene and public health.

Proactive consumer education and marketing exercises will be conducted to attract work from NHS itslef (hospital staff), the United Kingdom armed forces, government and parliament to sell them health benefits towards the control of infections here and abroad. Spotting table practises are highly suspected as sources of crosss infection.

Relevant details without revealing IP will be detailed in our business plan which is being finalised to attract seed capital for the proposed and long awaited test bed.

Our efforts to open up dry cleaning for debate will continue through this blog, and your views will be found highly valuable to proceedings. Althoguh we have a back log of e-mail queries to reply to, we have no direct responses to the first 4 posts from any source.

Although we are confident that the attention of TSA's Mr Murray Simpson, Chris Tebbs and other captains of the indsutry has been drawn to offer comments, we wonder if Which? could also highlight the blog to industry sources and chains for instrumenting constructive and positive debate on 11 September in their call in session at their offices.

We have informed certain fashion houses and Saville Row tailors in view of their taking a proactive role in the future of dry cleaning.


Wednesday, 13 August 2008

We are rebuked.

Post number 4:

We are rebuked!

E-mail queries have been received, and we are dealing with back logs one at a time. At this stage of our public information, we are rebuked by a source close to the industry who claim that our achievements of the past as reported in this blog and elsewhere in the past 20 years are baseless, and without scientific proof.

We are warned that if we do not retract claims we have made or do not stop expressing critical view of existing practises, then we should expect no help from the industry. We are further advised that if we continue to insist that CCCC predecessors have achieved results beyond the expectations of the industry practitioners, then no efforts will be spared to stop us in our tracks. We comment as follows:

1) We thank the source for opening a door between us and the industry who must be reading this blog by now, in addition to our earlier written communications to them. We hope that the industry uses this platform and express their views openly to readers.
2) We thank Which? for painting a realistic picture of the dry cleaning practises nationwide, and giving us this opportunity to respond.
3) Reportedly, the industry wishes CCCC to test our technology by cleaning white cotton material samples for soil retention and comparison of both filter types. We have never had any objections to taking part in the tests once our test bed is in operation. It is just the question of timing that we not specified so far.
4) Industry tests will be carried out after we have sold the service to consumers via fashion designers, Saville Row tailors and major garment retailers. We would wish these organisations to proactively take part in promoting CCCC international service by becoming our agents along the lines of our association with Jaeger in the 1990s, when our scheme served a dry cleaning service fit for purpose and certified by both the designer and their demanding consumers.
5) We have over 100 care label friendly organisations that we will invite. We will prove that dry cleaning bottle necks will have been removed from their ways so as to encourage them to design and manufacture in any natural and synthetic fibres in as Much quantities as they would wish to undertake. WE WILL POPULARISE WOOL ONCE AGAIN - WARM AND CUDDLY IN THE WINTER, COOL IN SUMMER (SUPER 120 SHIRTS AND BLOUSES).
6) We will then seek certificates of approval from these sources in order to establish proof of concept for the purposes of going ahead with protecting our numerous IP through the Patent Office.
7) At that stage of the progress, we will be ready to invite the industry to test the service as often as they wish during our real time day to day practises. This would be far better than to do the industry test first before selling the service. It is obvious that we intend to get tailors, designers and retailers proactively involved in dry cleaning instead of sitting on the side lines and be dictated by the industry whose ways of conducting dry cleaning has never succeeded to impress any one.
8) Our business plan seeking seed capital for the test bed is being finalised as this reply is written. We may just go ahead and publish the entire business plan with appendices in this blog subject to consultations with our main investor and, branding, marketing and publicity partners. Who knows? May be fashion and Saville Row (Norton & Sons) who may recall Harvi-Nash (our Wandsworth firm) successes may wish to invest in CCCC International. Our first subsidiary offering home shopping only would be a good starting point to invest.


Monday, 11 August 2008

More feedbacks via e-mail

Post number 3:

"CCCC predecessors cleaned dry cleaning – literally. The industry has a standard (though don’t recognise it as a vital standard and quality parameter)) for the degree of cleaning: The retention of 20 microns (20,000 nano metres) soiling left in textiles. No matter what solvent and technology is used, the soil removal efficiency remains the same. 20 microns soil retention is dirty – in fact very dirty.

We reduced this soil retention to a mere 4 nano metres and the results were so incredible that it turned dry cleaning philosophies, and practises on their head. What you read below is our experiences after successful commercial operations of more than 20,000 hours using 6 different Perc machines with innovative operational modifications."

A source close to the industry, machine manufacturers and suppliers has shown strong disagreement with our claim in the quotes above, and states that 4 nano filtration efficiency has long existed before we laid claim to it and practised it. They claim that neither have we been will informed nor the dry cleaner has had a closer look before purchasing his machine.

Perhaps readers can identify machine manufacturers who do supply the market with 4 nano metres filters capable of producing crystal clear quality solvent. We would be very interested to contact them.
We are not aware of the existence of a single machine in commercial premises in the UK or for that matter in the entire world that practise 4 nano efficiency. If the objector claims that his machine brand supplies the market with what we wanted along, then he could point us in the direction of shops any where in the UK and we will gladly travel there to see the results for ourselves and report our findings back to you.
The problem is more fundamental than whether 4 nano efficiency exist or not, commercially. The problem is that the industry and machine manufacturers do not believe that efficiencies in excess of 20 microns are needed. As we claimed earlier, all machine manufacturers are proud to announce that their machines are capable of filtering out soiling matter smaller than 20 microns.

The difference between us and them is that they call 20 microns residual soiling as clean and we call it dirty. In fact very dirty! So the question is, the mysterious machine with 4 nano efficiency is technically uncalled for. Who and what made them think of 4 nano metres for commercial operations in the first place?

The only filter mesh size smaller than 20 microns is practised by GreenEarth in their North American machine models, according to Mr Timothy Maxwell, the president of GreenEarth Kansas city and Martin Gregson (early to mid 2007 phone written recorded phone calls), the then technical director of Johnson Cleaners. Mesh sizes of between 5 microns and 10 microns are in practice in North American machines. 20 microns efficiency is considered more than good enough for European commercial practises.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Feedback to post number 1

Post number 2

Some of you have decided to remain anonymous and have sent in constructive remarks and harsh criticisms of our claims in post number 1, via e-mails. We respect the anonymity, but will share your comments with blog readers in the hope of encouraging response from the rest of you.

One individual advises that proceedings are lengthy and readers will loose interest in following up the debate. We thought about this, but decided to part with as much knowledge as possible, owing to the scarcity of published material on dry cleaning that is consumer friendly over the past 50 years. Just a glance at Wikipedia and sites such as reveal that information given don't go beyond a history of dry cleaning, and various solvents and machinery in use.

The sources don't cover the current sorry state of dry cleaning - a failed service sector business that is doomed to extinction if current trends continue. Still, we apologise to those of you whom we bored to tears, but hope that the information given provided ample grounds for debate among yourselves for a better dry cleaning of tomorrow. Share your views with us and ask quetions.

The second welcome response, also via e-mail is from a source close to the industry. First, they do not consider our reply to Which? necessary at all, and advises us to leave matters to TSA to deal with. They even hint that because we are not a member of TSA, then we are not qualified to comment.

Our response is that we clearly dissociated ourselves away from the industry as a whole, and the TSA and the Guild of Cleaners & Launderers in particular. We are all known to each other. Our files are full of one way correspondence with both, Laundry & Cleaning News, Laundry & Dry Cleaning Today (Mr Jack Fowler), SATRA, Messrs Murray Simpson, Chris Tebbs and others going back to 1994.

We have expressed similar views to Which? with the industry who have decided to remain silent for reasons known to themselves. One aspect to which we drew attention to was the non existence of quality criteria dictated by consumers against which dry cleaning should be checked for the purposes of fitness for purpose. We give details of our own quality list below that are continually being updated based on the ever changing wishes and demands of the consumers:

Dry cleaning quality parameters drawn from consumer surveys at shop service counters

• Customers want their clothes cleaned to 4 nano metres cleansing standard (tap water quality rinse)
• Original colours should be maintained, with colour run items as exceptions
• Clothes should maintain original feel and touch
• Clothes should not smell
• Clothes should be free of all stains except for ink, paint, blood on non wool items, etc.
• Service should offer convenience
• Service should fully comply with cleaning & care labels, except fakes and cheap copies
• Service should produce reliably predictable results each time; similar to laundry results
• All shops should produce the exact same results exhibiting quality parameters (bullet points) above.
The above parameters define quality from the customers’ view point for the first time in dry cleaning history. The absence of knowing customer expectations and meeting them has been a route cause of dry cleaning as a failed business sector.

These standards were tested and sold to consumers for more than a decade up to the year 2000, and produced literally no customer complaints. They also met with approval of major fashion designers and Saville Row.

Copyright of CleanestClean Clothes Care (CCCC) Limited
40 Roundway, Egham TW20 8BX, Surrey, England
United Kingdom, 3 September 2007

We would hope that between now and 11 September we will have built a useful platform on dry cleaning when all interested parties with gather at Which? offices (we presume) to exchange views on dry cleaning and seek solutions to Which?'s investigations.


Thursday, 7 August 2008

Reply to Which? Magazine's Investigation of April 08

Post number 1

New blog, A Sea Change…. Dated Friday 1/8/8

Old blog is discontinued. From here onwards, subject matter will be strictly business and relevant to our business plan which is long overdue. Feel free to post your comments for attracting common sense replies that even lay people will understand.

A Sea Change In Dry Cleaning

The following is CCCC International’s answers in Italics and bold to Which? Investigations of April, 2008:

1) A dirty business

Indeed. Almost the entire clarification that Which is seeking for is in the three word sentence in 1) above. Dry cleaning is not clean. It has never cleaned anything, and it never will unless one a fresh look is taken from outside the box.

Ideally, a book needs be written on the subject based on CCCC’s 14 years hands on experiences at commercial level using 6 high street prototypes in London and Surrey. Until then, these investigations will have to suffice to explain to Which? readers how CCCC predecessors will have coped with their assigned skirt, had our test bed been ready to receive the test piece.

CCCC predecessors cleaned dry cleaning – literally. The industry has a standard (though don’t recognise it as a vital standard and quality parameter)) for the degree of cleaning: The retention of 20 microns (20,000 nano metres) soiling left in textiles. No matter what solvent and technology is used, the soil removal efficiency remains the same. 20 microns soil retention is dirty – in fact very dirty.

We reduced this soil retention to a mere 4 nano metres and the results were so incredible that it turned dry cleaning philosophies, and practises on their head. What you read below is our experiences after successful commercial operations of more than 20,000 hours using 6 different Perc machines with innovative operational modifications.

4 nano metres efficiency meant that we maintained a solvent clarity comaparable to tap water to see if we could emulate laundry results or standards close to them. To do this, we ‘segregated’ dry cleaning into garment and non garment sectors and selected to concentrate on the former group, leaving the rest for others to deal with as they have done since commercial dry cleaning began.

One shocking revelation was that in the industry led dry cleaning, the whole garment is covered in one huge stain! Every square mm of it! All of what the best qualified professional dry cleaner does is to uniformly distribute the 20 microns soiling so that no marks appear in the post treatment of the stained area.

In reality, the post treated area becomes the only cleaned patch on the garment, while the rest of it is covered in a huge stain north to south and east to west, if you will.

Try this test whether you are a customer conducting the test at home or a professional dry cleaner in the back of his shop: Take the best cleaned skirt (a Which? test peace), chose a small patch of 25-50 mm and imagine there is a stain there. Lay it flat on a table (or a spotting table) and place a few drops of water on the patch. Let it dry and you will end up with a water mark. Water, probably through the action if surface tension transports the already loosened soiling as far as it could depending on the quantity of water you used. You just created a cleaner patch (ironically called the stain) on a dirty skirt. Try the same test on a laundered piece, and you won’t get a water mark, because the skirt is clean. We tried the test on our 4 nano metre sample, and we didn’t get a stain (according to the customer) or a drink mark (according to the dry cleaner) on our work.

In the above analysis, we may have just proven Which?’s statement that dry cleaning is indeed ‘A dirty business’ as they so rightly claim. Can one imagine how dry cleaning expertise, industry guidelines, standards and everything else fall down like a house of cards, and become irrelevant? This example will drive the point home: Why should you clean matching outfits together? Our 4 nano efficient dry cleaning cleaned a Jaeger silk dress, not knowing the customer had retained the shortened piece of the hem for making a belt to go with the dress. We cleaned the loose piece weeks later and the straw colours matched!

Which experts, the industry, the chains, and the independents may bear in mind that at any given hour of any day there are some 5,000 differing varieties of solvents in as many machine tanks in the UK, producing 5,000 varieties of cleaning on 5,000 skirts identical to Which?’s test pieces.

We at CCCC International are in the process of writing our business for our investor to invest seed capital for a test bed or a production unit where we can again practice what preached for in excess of 20,000 man hours and over a 14 year period.

We see Which?’s investigations as a godsend to make a point or two, and append this Q &A as a vital appendix to our business plan. Analysis here will also begin our new blog ‘ A Sea Change in Dry Cleaning’ shortly for all to contribute for offering consumers a service fit for purpose, and for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

2) You might think a professional dry cleaner would be able to get simple every day stains off your clothes and return them to you in good condition. Well, think again. We stained 48 identical skirts with red wine, double cream and vinaigrette and took them to chain and independent dry cleaners across the UK to be cleaned. These stains come from the three main groups (vegetable, protein and fatty) and are the most common marks found on clothes. Treating them is part of the exam syllabus for dry cleaners and our experts said they were ‘easily removable’. The results were unbelievably poor.

We cleared our shelves of all the industry’s approved stains removal kit and developed 3 of our own that removed most stains except those that cannot be removed such as ink, paint etc. The most invaluable commercial asset of our innovations was that we removed the need for stains identification, it’s history and origins.

This facet of our innovations renders customer participation in the shop totally unnecessary. During our 3 years association with Jaeger (93-95), we served their customers through some of their 100 plus free standing shops, concessions at Harrods, Fenwicks, Selfridges, Army & Navy, Peter Jones, Europe (Germany and Belgium), and a customer in San Fransisco.
We offered the service through shop serve, home serve (collection and delivery van), and postal service. Jaeger shops at Regent Street, Sloane Square, Brompton Road, Kings Road Chelsea, Kensington High Street, and Wimbledon were our receiving units and dozens of staff worked for us free after being trained by us.
Our business plan for our test bed will outline the mechanics of service using our Jaeger association as a model. Our services will be offered to over 100 fashion designers, garment manufacturers and Saville Row.
Our marketing and publicity partners will approach the customers relations departments of these establishments and invite them to recommend our services to their customers wherever they are.
A list of our approved designers and manufacturers we served in the past can be noted below:

CCCC friendly care labels, updated 29/3/8
Revised Sunday 27/3/8

Agnes B
Alexander McQueen
Amanda Wakeley
Ann Demeulemeester
Alberta Ferretti
Anne Klein
Austin Reed
Banana Republic (GAP)
Betsey Johnson
Betty Jackson
Bruce Oldfield
Calvin Klein
Caroline Charles
Child & Sons Wndsworth High Street, London
Christian Dior
Christian Lacroix
Coco Chanel
Concessions at Harrods
" " Harvey Nichols
" " Peter Jones
" " Selfridges
" " House of Fraser
" " Army & Navy
" " Debenhams
“ “ Fenwicks
DAKS Simpson of Piccadilly
Dior Homme
Dolce & Gabana
Donna Karan
Donatella Versace
Dorothy Perkins
Edina Ronay (if any has survived)
Emporio Armani
Ermenegildo Zegna
Emanuel Ungaro
Gharani & Strok
Gianfranco Ferré
Gianni Versace
Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Priv
Givenchy Homme
Hardy Aimes
Harris Tweed by others
Harrod's own label
Helmut Lang
Hugo Boss
Hunter (of the sixties?) even F clean labels, if any
Hussein Chalayan
Jeff Banks
Issey Miyake
Jasper Conran
Jean Muir
Jean-Paul Gaultiere
Joe Blog Jeans
John Galliano
John Richmond
John Smedley
Julien Macdonald
Katherine Hamnett
Karl Lagerfeld
Lacost dry cleanables
Lee Cooper Jeans
Levi Strauss
Louis Feraud
Lucy Barnes
Manolo Blahnik
Marc Jacobs
Marks and Spencer
Mary Quant
Matches of Wimbledon (brands sold)
Matthew Williamson
Max Mara
Moschino Cheap & Chic
Nicole Farhi
Oscar Jacobson
Oswald Boateng
Paul Costelloe
Paul Smith, Sir
Patricia Lester, OBE By arrangements with the designer
Pier Cardin
Pringle of Scotland
Ralph Lauren
Richard Shops
Rifaat Ozbek
River Island
Saville Row (all of them)
Stella McCartney
State of Montana (By Claude Monata)
Ted Baker
Top Man
Tom Ford
Tommy Nutter and other Saville no longer there
Top Shop
Valentino Uomo
Yves St Laurent
Vivienne Westwood
Warehouse by Jeff Banks
Wayne Hemmingway (discontinued and moved on to other entrepreneurial fields and social responsibility projects)
Wrangler Jeans

Kaz 29/3/8 139 labels plus Saville Row

With this approach of having full agreement with the above approved list – by us, we introduce anther major Sea Change in dry cleaning. While the industry, the chains, and independents continually bicker with fashion designers and garment manufacturers on the care label issues, CCCC International Limited will have no problems in servicing products by our own approved list.

3) Which?'s findings:

• Just four out of 48 dry cleaners returned the skirts in an acceptable condition.
The four dry cleaners results may have appeared acceptable until and if the customer spills just plain water on the skirts. The skirts will become stained in the affected area. Our results didn’t in the past nor will they in future once we start production in our test bed and offer the service to a wide catchment area.
• Thirty one failed to clean off all the stains
It is difficult to remove stains by post spotting in the 20 microns conventional practice whether offered through using Perc, Hydrocarbon, GreenEarth or liquid CO2. One needs 4 nano efficiency for effective and acceptable post spotting.
• Nine shrank or stretched the skirts (known as distortion) by an unacceptable amount, but removed the stains
It is difficult to comment on the shrinkage because of lack of information on fabric composition of the skirts. Generally, shrinkage is caused by the unacceptable amount of water in the cleaning solvent – specifically Perc.

Taken to the Cleaners
Which?'s investigation uncovers alarmingly poor standards at dry cleaners across the UK
CCCC found through extensive emperical trials that traditionally, the top to bottom design philosophies and service practices have never meant to clean anything. Hence, poor standards will continue to be the norm, no matter what the long awaited response, if any, from the industry, the chains and the independents is in reply to Which’s investigations of April. Practises and the existence of an adequate number of professional dry cleaners possibly up to early 80s produced acceptable results when the Consumer Association files were not jam packed with customers’ dry cleaning complaints. There onwards, standards continually went on a downhill slide with today’s investigations placing dry cleaning at its worst since records began.

Long before Which?’s investigation, we have posed some of the following curiosities when we had a look at dry cleaning from outside the box – in a bottom to top approach. We took the consumer side after a 2 year ‘over the counter’ survey, wondered about and questioned:
• Why do shop publicity campaigns, whether in leaflets, Yellow Pages and elsewhere avoid the term ‘cleaning’? How clean is their cleaning? Shop names are superlatives of exotic experiences, and although eye catching, but have nothing to do with cleaning. Consider these fictitious ones: ‘Cloud Nine Dry Cleaners’, ‘Gently, Gently Dry Cleaners’, ‘absolutely pressed in time Dry Cleaning’, etc. That is why we call ourselves CleanestClean Clothes Care (CCCC) International Limited to emphasise that, that is exactly what we do – Clean clothes really well. We registered the name with Companies House on 4/7/7 to protect it
• Why lure the customers with cheap shirt service, other laundry offers, and wedding dresses to give shops some day to day cleaning work (bread and butter) such as suits, skirts, ties, jumpers, coats and jackets? Why do they down rate their core work by offering to clean 5 items for £10? Could this approach tell customers that the cleaning standards on the bread and butter items are not up to scratch? We at CCCC will be far too busy dry cleaning for over 100 fashion designers and tailors to be able to cope with shirt service and laundry. Our business plan will target these 100 plus care label friendly establishments (customer relations) and give them a service they and their customers have wanted for over half a century but have not received
• Why does a chain offering the latest technology (GreenEarth) dedicate 75% of their sales area to the sale of home cleaning, duvets, batteries, umbrellas, curtains, carpets/rugs, films, cameras, luggage, locks, picture frames, photo albums, tumble drier sheets, anti bacterial wipes, flight socks, folding money belts, passport holders, etc. Tastefully decorated shop front with displays and posters for cheap shirt services give an indication that dry cleaning is a side line business only. What confidences will the customers gain from a dry cleaner so desperately short of core work that has turned his shop to a tourist accessory shop? Why should the independent dry cleaner buy the technology, if it needs propping up with sale of unrelated goods?

16 April 2008,

4) One shop gave Which? a skirt back with more stains on then we’d put on it.

Perhaps an accident with wet side post cleaning when more cleaner patches (known as stains) were exposed by accidental spillages of water?

• Four failed to press the skirt properly, though they did meet the acceptable standard on stain removal and distortion
Experienced and professional dry cleaners will know that to press means the exact opposite, at times – do not press. Avoid excess press buck pressure in order not to flatten the double seam lines (the handkerchief test to adjust buck pressure). A garment is a structure. Forces applied to it must respect the static equilibrium. Place on a skirt hanger and visually test results. Correct to equilibrium, if needed.
• One shop gave Which? back the skirt with more stains on than we’d put in it to be cleaned
Explained above
• A second shrank the waist band by almost 3.5 cm
Excess water in Perc solvent? Care labels do not apply to GreenEarth and Liquid CO2. Hence we cannot comment
• Which?'s experts said: ‘Its’ a serious concern that consumers are effectively being defrauded by cleaners that don’t deliver the service for which they are charging
We wouldn’t have thought the consumers are effectively defrauded. Dry cleaners have been given the wrong tools to do their job. Contaminated solvent (20 microns), lack of ‘segregation’ (clean industrial, domestic and Sunday bests in the same machine), and the absence of basic hygiene and public health practises. The latter if applied will result in better cleaning results and reduce the risk of cross infection at the spotting table

5) The Chains

The three main chains are
• Johnson Cleaners
• Morrison
• and Persil Service
Two branches of Persil produced acceptable results – the only branches of any on the three chains to pass the test.

However, other branches of Persil failed to impress. Eight failed to get rid of the stains; three also badly pressed the skirt.

Five branches of Johnson were good at getting the stains out (one was excellent). However, all five let themselves down by shrinking or stretching the skirt out of shape, or because of the poor quality of pressing. The six other branches of Johnson we visited failed to remove the stains, and half of these also distorted it.

All nine Morrison branches we visited were abysmal at tackling stains, although they were better at preventing the skirts from distortion.

If the industry continues not to consider a bottom to top approach such as we have, then there is no hope for the chains or indeed the independents to produce acceptable results. Perhaps proceedings here when published in a new blog and Wikipedia may draw a response from those concerned if Which?’s investigations continue to draw silences from all. We will have taken the debate to the wider world, when the industry will be compelled to enlighten us with their views.

6) Which? recommends: Time to take action

We told the dry-cleaning chains and Textile Services Association (which represents chains and independent cleaners) about our findings. The Association said they will carry out spot checks anonymously to tackle problems we’ve highlighted. Its’ also writing to members to stress the need to train staff who inspect the clean clothes.

We at CCCC agree that training needs to updated, but with the inclusion of the basics hygiene and public health principles to introduce the dry to real cleaning standards. New customer driven quality parameters need to augment the industry drawn ones to arrive at producing a service fit for purpose by the consumer, and approved by the fashion and garment industries. We see the roles of the latter as vital for the birth of a new dry cleaning industry that will work along side each other on grounds of agreeing on existing care labelling practises. CCCC will have in excess of 10 quality assurance guidelines that are customer driven. These will be spelled out in our business plan and widely publicised to attract additional investment, and development partners.

It’s Chief Executive, Murray Simpson, said it was difficult to talk in detain before seeing the report. But he said it did seem to show that the ‘usual high standard of customer care and stain removing skill’ of professional dry cleaners wasn’t achieved in all cases.

It is high time the industry pondered about the possibility of existing dry cleaning as being unfit for purpose, and accepted alternative proposals from others outside the industry. It is hoped that efforts here will open up positive and constructive debate. CCCC will go ahead with encouraging our investor to put up the seed capital towards opening up of our test bed in the not so distant future.

Johnson Cleaners, Morrison, and Persil Service said they were disappointed with the results and asked for further details.

Results from CCCC test bed will be put to the test by customers through the involvement of over a 100 designers and manufacturers through their customer relations departments. IP will then be patented and otherwise protected for selling the technology to the market, including the chains. One of the many Super markets may also be interested in buying the technology and offer it as a home shopping item, giving them an edge over their rivals for attracting more customers.

Each said they successfully clean millions of clothes a year. Johnson promised immediate and corrective action once it had more details, while Morrison and Persil said they would investigate further once they had more details.

The chains and others have had more than 3 months to reply to Which?. During recent telephone conversations, it came to light that Which? is not expecting any replies from anyone in the industry, the chains and independents. Instead they will have a call in session on 11 September when some feedbacks may be received and views exchanged at Which? offices.

Which? says the dry-cleaning industry has vowed to clean up its act as a result of this report

Anyone can open dry cleaners. There is no law requiring staff to be trained or for service to be regularly inspected. We believe that this report has revealed the vital need for such training. The three chains and many independents are members of Textile Services Association (TSA), which may be best placed to see this happen.

The industry and the chains have a great opportunity in our view to unite and staff their shops with fully qualified industry trained staff to produce a service fit for purpose. May be then a repeat survey by Which? can produce better results.

7) Which? says

• We bought 50 identical dry clean only skirts with labels that showed what they were made of and how to clean them. We applied three small (25-50mm across) stains to each, and measured the skirt. We took 48 to dry cleaners, sent one to an independent cleaner we knew followed the correct procedure, and kept one as a comparison.

• We had six tests of how well a skirt was cleaned: stain removal, distortion (how much the skirt shrank or stretched), pressing(whether it had bubbles, creases or wrinkles), drape (how clothes ‘hang’), odour, and matting and felting ( a hairy look from poor cleaning).

• Each test had a five-point scale from useless to excellent. A dry cleaner should achieve at least a three (acceptable). For stains removal, this meant stains were largely removed, and only a shadow left. Completely removing stains would score a five (excellent).

• The most common faults we found in our investigation were stain removal, distortion, pressing and drape.

CCCC International will encounter no problems with the removal of treatable stains short of blood on some cottons, ink, paint and similar that no known treatment can remove.

8) Getting clothes cleaned properly

Which says: When a stain happens
Dab the garment with a clean, damp, white cloth. Never rub it or use a coloured cloth (the dyes can be more difficult to remove than a stain). Wetting the stain causes a water mark that can be difficult to remove.

Under the CCCC regime of public health orientated, segregated dry cleaning, we suggest nothing be done to the stained area. Our 3 new chemicals (new IP) and methodology do not demand any pre dry cleaning processes by customers. Its best to let CCCC staff handle stains on receipt from garment retailers and fashion designers. Direct contact with consumers will be avoided as far as possible during the test period of 6 months to a year, for reasons beyond the scope of this study. .

Act as soon as possible
Old stains are harder to tackle. Make sure the cleaner knows where the stains are, what caused them and whether you have tried to remove them.

There will be no need for CCCC staff to know anything about stains and when and how they happened to land on clothes. This ability enables CCCC to launch its home shopping and do away with shop serve altogether in the testing and proof of concept stage. This is the toughest test that the new re engineered Perc technology can be put through leaving all competing technologies behind.

CCCC will have no competition. Its market can be as wide as the UK or indeed the world. With such a wide market place, the service will be offered to the first come first served basis.
Matching parts together
Clean both parts of a matching outfit together – changes in colour and texture occur during dry cleaning.

For the first time in dry cleaning history, customers can have their matching parts cleaned separately if the need arises.
Pockets and linings
Check these before you hand an item for cleaning.

Inspecting garment
Give the cleaner the chance to look for existing damage and issue any disclaimers in writing. If this isn’t done, a cleaner could claim damage caused by the cleaning was there when you brought it in.

CCCC test bed will receive the incoming work from customer relations departments of the 100 plus care label friendly designers and manufacturers listed above, and return the finished service to them for a prior inspection before passing the clothes on to their customers who had purchased the outfits from them. That way, we will have sought and obtained the approval of both the designers and their customers with no contact between CCCC and the dry cleaning customers.

Customer relations teams will be trained based on the service model with Jaeger between 1993 and 1995. Training procedure will be detailed in the business plan. With passing of the rigorous tests such as the one we have designed, the protected technology can then be sold to others to apply to existing Perc shops. New training manuals for operators will be issued then for shop owners/managers to resume servicing customers through newly revised shop serve practised as designed by CCCC in phase 2.

Give them enough time
A one-hour express service may not be enough to remove stains properly.

CCCC will require a few days to receive and return the cleaned items to customers through the designer/retailer outlet to dry customers. Normal quick service will be possible once shop serve is offered by the new CCCC licensed but already practising dry cleaners. Only some habits need to change, and training manual (new IP) followed.

If there is a problem

Complain as soon as possible. Send written complaints by recorded delivery. Keep copies. The Textiles Services Association offers an informal dispute resolution service if you can’t agree what caused the problem. If this fails, or the cleaner isn’t a TSA member, you may have to pay about £120 for an independent report. If the complaint remains unresolved, write to the cleaner repeating the issue and the steps you have taken. Say you are giving it 14 days to resolve the issue before considering legal action.

The new customer – designers’ customer relations – CCCC route of communication (and back) will obviate the need for all of the above. The service will be offered after strictly adhering to the customer driven quality criteria leaving no grounds for complains. Quality manuals will be issued to fashion designers and manufacturers/retailers for passing on to their customers when making their purchases.

When you get it back
Check the garment carefully. Take off the polythene cover and examine them in a good light, looking at the pressing, seams and any areas of double thickness.

Any hitches will have been ironed out between CCCC and fashion designers/retailers without the customers being made aware of anything unsavoury. Our model with Jaeger worked perfectly with only one complaint over the 3 year period and after processing 1000s of items.

Which?'s tips for making sure you get the service you want

CCCCC omments to sections below will follow a little later

9) The independents
Independent shops make up the bulk of the market. We visited 18 and found that 14 failed to get rid of stains or distorted the skirts shape. Another two did these well, but pressed the garment poorly. Two independents passed our test.

10) Problems – what problems?
Which? found that customer service was sometimes poor as well. The dry cleaner should examine the garment when you are in the shop and ask how the stain got there. This is best practice, according to the industry’s professional body, the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers, and will help choose the best way to treat it. Three quarters of the shops did examine the skirt, but this appeared to have little impact on how well they cleaned it.

When giving back the garment, the shop should explain any problems that there were in cleaning it. Of the 31 that failed to remove the stains, just 10 told us about it. None of the shops mentioned the other problems that occurred during cleaning.

11) What they should have done
Our experts said the results showed the poor standards of the industry in the UK. They said: ‘This shouldn’t have been a challenge for a competent dry cleaner.’ All the stains were easily removable when pre-treated with an off the shelf dry cleaning stain removal kit. Most cleaners didn’t do this or didn’t do it properly. Distortion was probably caused by the cleaner not using the right level of chemicals or trying to press the skirt using steam, despite its care label specifically advising against this. We gave an identical skirt with the same stains to a dry cleaner that we knew followed the correct procedure. It cleaned the stains with no problem.

The successful cleaner probably removed the stains in the pre spotting stages to dry cleaning. However, the skirt remains unclean because the rinse solvent (and hence particualte matter embeded uinformly distributed throughout the skirt) will contain 20 microns soiling right across the board no matter wheter you get the skirt cleaned. Most machine manufacturers specifications will readily confirm this claim.

4 nano metre cleaning does not exist commercially. Its use may be limited to test centres.