How Often should clothes be dry cleaned?

We hear this question often and wanted to give you some guidelines from The Drycleaning and Laundry Institute. Despite information to the contrary, professional dry cleaning will actually prolong the life of a garment.  In fact, it’s the oils, body salts, cologne, perfumes, hair products, insoluble soil, rain, food and beverage stains that  will shorten the life of your garment.

First and foremost, a person’s body heat, activity, and the clothing’s stains largely determine cleaning frequency. If a garment is soiled or affected by perspiration or odor, it should be dry-cleaned as soon as possible. Light color garments and frequently worn clothes are especially susceptible to dirt and require more frequent cleaning. Have all matching pieces such as suits cleaned at the same time. This prevents any inconsistencies resulting from color changes. Always clean your garments before storing away for a season. Moths and insects are attracted to oil and perspiration.
Below are some more specific guidelines based on the Texas climate:

  • Clean EVERY other wearing: Tuxedo, Dress, Skirt, Wool dress pants, Wool suit, Lightweight Suit, Sportcoat or Blazer, Sweaters
  • Clean EVERY wearing: Evening wear, Cotton laundered shirt, Blouse particularly silk, Polo Shirt, khakis and lightweight dress pants
  • Clean at the End of the Season: Coats and other outerwear
There has been a lot of misinformation about gender pricing at the dry cleaners and we’d like to set the record straight. At Westbank Dry Cleaning, the cost to clean a woman’s pant and a man’s is the same.The cost to clean a woman’s coat is always going to be the same price as a man’s. But when we start talking about shirts it gets a little muddy.

Executive Director of the National Cleaner’s Association, Nora Nealis, responded to President Obama’s reference to dry cleaning and gender pricing with the following statement: “As an industry, dry cleaners do not charge more for a woman’s shirt than a man’s shirt, they charge more for a hand ironed shirt than they do a machine pressed shirt. The price is in the math as calculated by the labor required not the gender of the client! Simple math. Hand ironing takes more time and requires more skill, and therefore costs the cleaner more to produce.”

First, an explanation for the difference between pressing and hand finishing. Most garments require
a combination of machine pressing and hand ironing to achieve the desired finish. A commercial laundry
has special “assembly line style” machines that can press a typical button-up cotton shirt without any
hand ironing. With these machines, units can press hundreds of shirts an hour. This “mass production”
keeps cleaning costs lower. It takes multiple machines and operators to finish one shirt. One part presses
the body of the shirt, another the collar and cuffs.

The shirts are pressed while they are wet between hot, nearly 400°F, metal plates. This gives shirts a
crisp and somewhat stiffer look and feel. Most synthetic fabrics melt and distort in the high temperatures
used by the automated shirt laundry presses, which are designed to get the wrinkles out of thick cotton
shirts, requiring a great deal of heat, steam and pressure. If a women’s shirt meets the criteria and size
(up to 20 inches across) to fit the commercial presses, then it absolutely can be pressed and priced the
same as a man’s laundered shirt.

Laundry Shirt3000 px
Shirts that don’t meet these criteria are handled differently.  They are either dry cleaned or washed, and then dried. In order to achieve a quality finish, they need steam and a combination of machine and hand pressing. Women’s blouses come in an extremely wide variety of fabric types and may have fancy buttons, contain spandex, trims or other ornamentation. These variations can change dramatically from season to season with the latest changes in fashion. This prevents the machine manufacturers from developing presses that will fit the majority of women’s blouses. Men’s shirts are almost always made of 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend, and have more or less looked the same for over 100 years.

So I’d like to finish with the Obama letter from the National Cleaners Association for a final point. Nora Neilis asks: “I’m sure you’re wondering, why don’t manufacturers make a machine to press women’s shirts? It’s simply economics for a small business. Like most male professionals, you wear a shirt most every day. That means you have lots of shirts that need to be cleaned and pressed by the end of the week. It makes sense for a dry cleaner to purchase a machine that costs upwards of $50,000 to press those shirts, correct? By contrast, how often does the First Lady or your average American woman wear a simple, cotton boxy shirt?”

The photo below tells the story:Obama podium group_p110912sh-0083

Saying “YES” To Customer Service

Secret Shoppers Give Westbank Dry Cleaning Highest Overall Score in the U.S.

Customer satisfaction is at the heart and soul of Westbank Dry Cleaning. That’s why we are so proud to announce that we were honored with the first-ever YES! Award for “Year of Exceptional Service 2014” at the Clean Show in Atlanta on April 18th. The award was presented by MarketWise, a national mystery-shopping consulting company.

Westbank Dry Cleaning wins "YES" award for exceptional customer service 2014(Left to right) Westbank’s William Charnes and Stacey Luster receiving the “Yes!” 2014 Award from Carolyn Nankervis, President of MarketWise Consulting Group, Inc.

To be eligible for the YES! Award, all eight of our locations were secretly shopped six times throughout the year. The awards were based on 540 mystery shopper visits at participating cleaners across the nation.

The program consists of an evaluation of the counter person at drop off and pick up, and an overall evaluation of the quality of the cleaning and the customer service experience.
Westbank received the highest overall score in the country across all categories!

We are especially appreciative and proud of our staff for their dedication to a high standard for customer care. The YES! Award is a direct result of their commitment and expertise. When we meet and exceed industry standards, the real credit belongs to them.

3 Tricks to Look Your Best in Photos

dry cleaning blog

Meet the Stylist Miranda Darr

Miranda is this month’s guest blogger and she shares how to prep for photos by wearing the right outfit so you’ll always hit them with your best shot!  Here are 3 tricks to look your best in photos:


Miranda Darr 880 px

Miranda Darr is an expert wardrobe and image consultant, stylist and personal shopper.  She is the owner of Quatro Austin, a Carlisle & Per Se Collection showroom. (Spring, Summer, Fall & Holiday) by personal invitation & appointment.  For more information on her services visit




Structured Shoulders

Tops with structured shoulders will give your entire upper body definition. A fitted blazer or blouse with “peaked shoulders” can work well. These items will add clean lines and help you look sharp in a photo.

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Dress in a “Column of Color

(All one color) – Coordinate your colors by wearing a monochromatic theme. Wearing a color column is a simple, chic and slimming look. (make sure the color is that is flattering to your skin tone).

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Wear a Slim, Dark Pant

A black trouser or skinny jean looks good on most everyone. Avoid wearing something oversized and bulky.

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Once associated with edgy musicians and bikers, leather comes in so many chic trends this season. Anything from dresses to leggings, vests and outerwear.   You’ll see traditional colors as well as vibrant hues. Here are 10 tips to keep leather clothing looking luxurious, so you can enjoy them for many seasons:


10 tips for keeping leather clothing looking luxurious


  1. Wear a scarf around your neck to keep the collar from being soiled by the oil in your skin.
  2. If a leather garment gets wet, blot with a white cloth and dry it out in a cool, dry place on a broad padded hanger. Do not put it in the dryer.
  3. Avoid carrying heavy objects like keys or a cell phone in the pockets as this will stretch out the skin.
  4. Avoid spraying perfumes or hair spray while wearing.
  5. Don’t apply pins or adhesive name badges on leather.
  6. Saddle soap is best used on saddles. It shouldn’t be used on leather clothing since it may cause streaking and staining.
  7. If an item is wrinkled, you can press it using the coolest setting on your iron, BUT NEVER USE STEAM. Use a heavy brown craft paper as your pressing pad and always do a test spot on an inconspicuous section.
  8. Use breathable fabric bags to store leather items. DO NOT store leathers in plastic bags. They can promote a moist environment for mold or mildew to grow.
  9. Clean matching garments at the same time since some variation in color may occur.
  10. Hang leather garments on padded hangers. Avoid folding items in a drawer to avoid deep wrinkles.


If staining occurs, the garment needs to be cleaned ASAP by a professional leather cleaner. Don’t try to remove it yourself. The danger is you start removing the color, and then it’s harder than ever to get out and restore. And remember that even thought a leather coat may not look dirty; it’s best not to wait more than two seasons to have it professionally cleaned.

It’s a chore that many homeowners miss or don’t know about. Clothes dryer fires start more than 15,000 home fires every year, usually from lint build-up. Lint and other debris can build up in your dryer vent, reducing airflow to the dryer, backing up dryer exhaust gases, and creating a fire hazard.  These fires can easily be prevented with routine maintenance.

Fire prevention and safety is a cause near and dear to our hearts. FRSTeam by Westbank Dry Cleaning carefully restores items that have been affected by fire or smoke. We care for our customers deeply and understand the emotional and financial stress that can accompany this challenging time. In honor of Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, we’ve gathered 11 safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association

Clogged dryer vents cause thousands of house fires every year
  1. Always have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  2. Never use your dryer without a lint filter and always clean the filter before each load of laundry.
  3. Check your outdoor vent flap to make sure it opens when the dryer is operating and clean out any debris around the exterior of the flap.
  4. Clean the vent hose at least once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry. Consider hiring a professional once a year for a thorough vent cleaning.
  5. Steer clear of drying items containing foam, rubber or plastic such as a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
  6. If you have a gas dryer, have a professional inspect it to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  7. Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
  8. Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  9. Never overload your dryer. Overstuffing will not only prevent your clothes from drying properly, it may damage the machine in the long run.
  10. Turn your dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  11. Last but not least, make sure you have working smoke alarms at strategic areas in your home, and check the batteries regularly.

Share your fire safety tips and join the conversation by using the official Fire Prevention Week hashtag, #FPW2014 and following @WestbankATX on Twitter!

FRSTeam by Westbank Dry Cleaning is a specialized fabric restoration company that provides the most effective restoration cleaning available for your clothing and household textiles. We restore clothing, plush toys, shoes, belts, purses, window treatments, bedding, pillows, leather, suede and more. To learn more about FRSTeam by Westbank Dry Cleaning visit

Laundry 101 For College Students

How to do laundry college students

Laundry 101 for College Students

Living the dorm life is rough and doing laundry is probably one of the LAST things a college student wants to do. Here are some tips to help take a load off and earn high marks for clean clothes.

Buy your supplies 

Detergent: Know if you need HE (high efficiency) detergent or regular.  HE detergents are low-sudsing and quick dispersing for use in low water volume machines. Using a traditional laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer (front loader) will produce too many suds. You can use HE detergent in a traditional washer with no problems.
Stain Treater: Like Shout Advanced Gel
Dryer Sheets: They cut down on static cling, add softness and just smell good.
Laundry Basket or Bag A basket is recommended so you can fold or drape your clothes over the edges.

Sort & Separate Before You Hit the Laundry Room

Lights, Darks, Delicates, Towels and Sheets
Always wash darks in cold water to prevent bleeding. Towels and sheets usually need warm or hot water. Not sure, use cold water.
Got stains?  Treat them BEFORE you put them in the washer?  Once dry they’re difficult to remove. Need help? Here’s a great how to stain app from Clorox myStain.

Check Pockets

There’s nothing worse than discovering a pen, tube of lipstick or chapstick in a pocket after the wash or dry cycle.

Delicates? Silk blouses, nice sweaters (not wool), bras and fine swim wear should be hand washed or at least use the hand wash or delicate cycle. After washing reshape clothing flat on a towel to dry.  You can put the item in a very low dryer to fluff when it’s almost dry for a few minutes so the item softens back up and most wrinkles fall out.

Quarters anyone? 

This may be a thing of the past. Many schools allow you to use your school ID as a debit card for the machines. If your school has older machines then set aside a container to collect quarters so you’re prepared.

Pick the right time 

Wash during non-peak hours, which means early in the morning or late at night….pretty much when everyone else is sleeping.  You can also use off-campus laundry mats if your dorm laundry is always crowded.

Don’t over stuff!

If you can’t close the door, it’s too full! When you stuff your washing machine full, there isn’t enough room for the laundry to move around to get clean.  Basically don’t fill the machine more than two-thirds full.  Small, medium or large load?  Not sure?  When in doubt choose the larger size!  The same rules pretty much apply to the dryer.  Be sure to check the lint filter and clean it out.

Laundry Courtesy 

Don’t forget that you are sharing a limited number of machines so try not to forget your clothes in the washer or dryer.  Set an alarm on your phone if you have to leave the laundry room. It’s best not to leave your clothes unattended because clothing may be placed on the floor by your fellow dorm mates.

Fold or Hang

Fold or hang your laundry immediately.  Unless you want to look like you just rolled out of bed, put away your clothes as soon as you’re done doing the laundry. Put your nicer shirts and pants on hangers before you leave the laundry room. Give jeans a good shake and smooth them out. Fold shirts, shorts and other items or at least hang them over the edge of your laundry basket until you get to your room then fold and put away.

If all else fails, you can always keep buying new clothes!



Swimwear Care Tips

We know how tough chlorine, salt and sand can be on your swimwear. Finding the perfect fitting swimsuit can be quite a task, but once you’ve found one, take special care so it will last more than one season.  Here are a few tips to help you do that:

Quality Counts 

This is where buying a well-known brand can be especially important. More spandex is a good thing here because your suit will hold its shape longer. Also, alternate your swimsuits.  Let your suit dry 24 hours before wearing it again.  Spandex is a memory yarn and needs time to return to its original shape.

Pool Use 

Chlorine is the main culprit here.  It’s a disinfectant, but it is also a BLEACH. Some fading can occur.  Be sure to rinse your suit with fresh water after you swim. The same goes for hot tubs.

Salt Water 

Again, here’s where it’s important to rinse with fresh water after a dip in the ocean.  Salt water can deteriorate fabrics and dyes.

The Sun 

Sun changes your skin’s color so you can count on it having an effect on your swimsuit’s color as well. Be especially careful applying sunscreen and self tanners, they can change the color of your swimsuit.

Watch Where You Sit 

Scratchy pool decking, wooden lawn chairs and other rough surfaces can snag your suit and cause pilling which makes it look old and worn.  Take care to sit on a towel to save your seat.

Dryer Beware 

Nothing will wear out a suit faster than heat from a clothes dryer.  The heat will cause a breakdown of the elastic quality of your swimsuit.  If drying outdoors, be sure to hang in the shade.

For Immediate Release: March 4, Tuesday
Media Contact: Chris White, Executive Director

America's Best Cleaners

Westbank Dry Cleaning Named One of America’s Best Cleaners for 2014

Westbank Dry Cleaning is honored to have been selected for the sixth year as one of America’s Best Cleaners (ABC) for 2014. ABC is a national organization that recognizes the best dry cleaning establishments in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. In order to be selected, Westbank Dry Cleaning had to meet strict criteria.

In order to be accepted as a Full Affiliate of the organization, Westbank Dry Cleaning was required to undergo on-site inspections by certified ABC representatives to determine if the company met minimum requirements of cleanliness, machinery equipment, stain removal and finishing quality. As one of only about 30 cleaners certified by ABC for 2014, Westbank Dry Cleaning will be also required to undergo monthly quality tests and quarterly mystery shopping reports, testing for customer service and quality as part of the most stringent certification in the dry cleaning industry.

“Full Affiliation with ABC, and the associated requirements, gives our customers the assurance that we are fully committed to continually exceeding their expectations of quality and service,” says Westbank Dry Cleaning owner, William Charnes. We know our customers expect top quality for their garments and we are proud to be part of this elite group of cleaners.

Westbank Dry Cleaning is a progressive, technologically advanced, environmentally conscious drycleaner. The company offers premium garment care, exceptional customer service, expert spot removal, hand pressing and finishing and thorough, personal inspection of every garment. ABC’s founder, Ed D’Elicio, commended Westbank Dry Cleaning for its cutting-edge technology, and stressed the importance of such attributes in the selection process, an essential component in sustaining ABC’s relationship with the fashion and garment industry, which has taken notice of the accreditation organization’s ability to act as a liaison between high-end clothiers, cleaners and clients.

For more information on the America’s Best Cleaners’ program, please visit
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About America’s Best Cleaners:
America’s Best Cleaners™ is an independent certification organization for the dry cleaning industry, dedicated to the continued excellence of the dry-cleaning industry. To that end, America’s Best Cleaners™ has devised and implements the toughest standards of quality in the dry cleaning industry. To assure dry-cleaning clients, designers, retailers, and manufacturers that they will receive the utmost professional care, America’s Best Cleaners’™ affiliates are inspected thoroughly and tested monthly and yearly with on-site inspections. America’s Best Cleaners™ also takes surveys of retailers and clients, secret shopping reports and we listen to you, the customer to ensure the continued quality of service for all affiliates.

Announcing the winners of our giveawayToday we are thrilled to announce the 20 winners of our $2,500 dry cleaning giveaway. Twenty people were randomly selected as $100 winners. From those twenty, (1) $500 winner was selected. The winners have been contacted and have received an in-store credit if they were existing Westbank customers. Those new to our business will receive a gift certificate in the mail. We’d like to thank everyone who entered our sweepstakes and helped make our 20th anniversary month so special. We’re delighted to have grown our Facebook family and are honored to have such wonderful and loyal customers. Congratulations to all of the winners!
Below are the names:

Jim Wagoner $500
Kate Adams $100
Jason Carr $100
Dotty Dreux $100
Peggy Evans $100
Jeanne-Marie Fontana $100
Catherine Gill $100
Eric Hungate $100
Dyanne Jackson $100
Colleen Lockwood $100
Joe Magdaleno $100
Sherry Maysonave $100
Paul Mizell $100
Daviz Pham $100
Brenda L. Pollett $100
Martha Steinle $100
Joe Stewart $100
Connee Sullivan $100
Patricia Szekely $100
Mandy Wilson $100

Full Steam Ahead Approach Leads to Two Decades of Success; Westbank Dry Cleaning Celebrates 20th Anniversary

First-generation and locally owned, Westbank Dry Cleaning is fueled by a business strategy that underlines customer service and commitment to the community.
 20th badge finalThis month officially marks our 20th anniversary in business in Austin, Texas.  Time sure does fly.  We remember preparing the store for the first day and wondering if anyone would bring us their clothing to clean!  We’re so grateful to the community for embracing us and trusting us with their wardrobes for two decades.  As a “thank you” to the community, we’re having a ribbon cutting ceremony and would love our friends and customers to attend.  The ceremony is Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 from 11:30-1:00 p.m. at our original location, 3300 Bee Caves Rd. Ste. 380, Austin, TX 78746.  The Westlake Chamber of Commerce will be officiating and owners William and Angie Charnes will be there to meet and greet guests. Finger foods, beverages and cake will be served.

View Full Press Release

Click here to view our 20th Anniversary Video:


Westbank Dry Cleaning is giving away $2,500 in FREE dry cleaning


To top off our month-long celebration of our 20th anniversary, we’ve launched a sweepstakes through Facebook.  We’ve had several customers ask how to enter if you aren’t on Facebook.  We’ve added an option to do just that!  Go to this link and you can enter to win one of the prizes…..One Grand Prize of $500 or one of 20 prizes of $100 in free cleaning at Westbank Dry Cleaning.  The contest ends at midnight, May 5th and winners will be chosen randomly May 9th and notified by email and phone.  *You must be at least 21 years old to win and Westbank Dry Cleaning employees and their immediate family are NOT eligible to win. Prize may not be combined with other offers or discounts.

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