Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT........dry cleaning and you.


Hi.....my middle name is "an accident waiting to happen"....and in the best interest of all my new blogging friends and with it being sweater season I thought this would be an appropriate post....No pictures, because no one wants to see gross pictures of my underarms....This is a dry cleaning story and it's not a pretty one....A number of years ago I had my favorite Ralph Lauren flag sweater dry cleaned. I always did this because it was navy and I didn't want it to fade plus cotton sweaters come out softer if you dryclean instead of wash....Ralph makes beautiful clothes but they do tend to shrink.....I picked up the sweater at the cleaners, came home, took it out of the plastic bag then put it right on...If you remember one thing in you lifetime not to do...this is it. We left for the movies, it was winter, I had on a coat and I kept it on in the theater. Big Mistake...about halfway through "Duece Bigelow, Male Gigilo" it started to feel like a colony of fire ants had crawled up under my arms.....and that's a mild description of how it felt. Cutting the movie short we drove the short ride home and the minute I hit the stairs from the garage the sweater was off...My skin was actually burned....It being the weekend and not wanting to go sit in the emergency room I was at the doc's office first thing on Monday morning...."Oh, it's just a little dermatitis, have you tired new soap?".....Guess again you idiots, what part of it happened right after I put on a freshly dry cleaned sweater didn't you understand. This went on for a very long time....no one knew anything about this wacky stuff called dry cleaning fluid, this stuff called "Perc".....I happen to have an investigative type personality so I started checking and checking some more...No one wanted to discuss it.........The dry cleaner, when asked, said he had simply washed the sweater he didn't dry clean it...This went out the window when the sweater was clearly labeled "Dry Clean Only".....and I still had my receipt, I had paid for dry cleaning...


So the saga continued, months and months went by....my skin had now discolored from where the burn was....and this is what I finally found out...When dry cleaners are busy and they are trying to speed up the process they sometimes....sometimes....take out the clothes from the dryer while they are still a bit damp and bag them up....They might be dry by the time you pick up the item but those chemicals have now been left in the garment..It was the residue of Perc that had burned my skin...Luckily, even though I was sick for many months I have had no ill effects...Perc *is* a carcinogenic..This is how you can prevent this from ever happening to you...


1.)Never bring freshly dry cleaned clothes home and put them directly into your closet.
2.) If possible, leave the clothes hanging in your garage for a day or two before bringing them into the house.
3.)Always remove the plastic bag and let the clothes air out before you do put them in your closet.
4.)If you know someone who is pregnant tell them not to get anything dry cleaned during the pregnancy, infact don't even go into a dry cleaner. Exposure to Perc has been known to cause mis-carriages.
5.) Don't get children's clothes dry cleaned.
6.) Don't bring into your bedroom freshly cleaned drapes or bedspreads then sleep in that room the same day.....Air them out first before putting them in the room.
7.) And the most important thing to remember is not to pick up an item then wear it the same day.....

I still do have things dry cleaned.....but not very often. With the prices coming down I tend to buy alot of cashmere sweaters and they can be washed in cold water....and I also follow all the above steps.....This is something no one talks about but I did months and months of research and it's a bit scary....I hope you found this helpful and the next time you pick up your clothes at your local dry cleaner just remember Sue and her armpits!!

11 comments:

Mimi Sue said...

Thank you so much for the warning. I had no idea. I have enough problems without having an arm pit rash. Love the little bird dish. I think you should stick with your original idea. M&M's go with everything. Mimi

Kathleen Grace said...

Wow! I have never heard this! Thanks for the heads up, I wonder why these precautions aren't part of a tag at the cleaners?

Lisa said...

Wow, who would've known? Thanks for the info!!

Linda Lou said...

Wow, I didn't know that about the chemical-I used to dry clean stuff a lot when I was working, now I don't have to, good and bad, I guess, my husband has all of his shirts done for work, but I think those are washed! BTW I loved that Ralph Lauren sweater.

Ms. ~K said...

Ouch!!!
Thanks for the info.
Hugs to Boo,
K

Liz said...

This is SO scary! I was just about to take some coats to be dry cleaned, thanks for the warning!

And Eleanor is a friend of mine. Thank goodness, no one else would tolerate me drooling over their house like she does. :)

Sue said...

Hi...I'm happy I posted this and hope you'll all pass along the info to your friends. I do want you to know that I did not do internet research when this happened. I spent many many hours at Emory School of Medicine in their library going through journals to find this information. So all that I found out was legitimate....you all know how sometimes the info on the internet is not always accurate....

nikkicrumpet said...

LOL...do we have to think about your armpits??? I've never had this problem...but I'm glad for the great tips!!! thanks for looking out for us!

Kim@ForeverWherever said...

I don't take many things to the cleaners anymore, but I always wondered about the chemicals! Thanks for all the information and I'm sorry you had to find out the hard way!
-Kim

Country Girl said...

Wow, Sue. I had no idea. I'm so glad I read this!!

Nouveau Stitch said...

Aww geez. Who knew? I rarely dry clean anymore but I sure will remember this. Nothing good ever comes of those chemical-y smells!

Ellen