I really hate ironing
December 10, 2007 3:57 AM   Subscribe

No matter where I get my shirts dry cleaned the buttons always crack and break. Only alternative to wash and iron at home?

I've switched dry cleaners a number of times, but no matter where I go the buttons of my shirts always end up cracked and/or broken. I'm assuming this is due to some kind of wear and tear from whatever machines they run the clothes through. Besides having them replace the buttons when this happens or switching dry cleaners what can I do to stop this from occurring? Just an inevitable result of the process?

I sure hope someone knows an answer besides cleaning them at home 'cause I generally don't have the time/patience to iron a bunch of crap all the time, and a lot of my clothes are dry clean ony anyway.
posted by doppleradar to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you tell the dry cleaners about the damage to your garments? A lot of dry cleaners have a guarantee that your clothes will not be damaged, so it might be worth seeking out one of those or checking to see what your existing dry cleaner's policy is.

If all else fails, there is home dry cleaning.
posted by burnmp3s at 4:12 AM on December 10, 2007

Most dry cleaners also do simple alterations, so they should be equipped to replace any broken buttons if you make a fuss.
posted by happyturtle at 5:15 AM on December 10, 2007

My dry cleaners have always replaced the buttons for free when I pointed out the damage the next time I was there. A different brand of shirt may help. It's been a few years since I had to dress up for work, but I remember having good luck with LL Bean dress shirts. The buttons had almost a rubbery texture that seemed to help them survive the pressing process at the dry cleaner.
posted by COD at 5:47 AM on December 10, 2007

Usually dress shirts are for "laundry" at the dry cleaners (as in light starch), not "dry clean" at the dry cleaners. I've had dress shirts laundered for years, and have never had buttons break, so I'm just wondering if that's a clue (maybe dry cleaning has harsh chemicals compared to laundering that are hard on the buttons).
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 5:47 AM on December 10, 2007

i launder my shirts at home and take them to the dry cleaner's for pressing only (I too hate ironing). The buttons consistently break - I believe the pressing equipment causes this to happen.

They should replace the buttons for free. If you're wearing super expensive shirts with nice buttons, I'd say you're out of luck - you'll have to iron at home to avoid the broken buttons.
posted by sid at 5:50 AM on December 10, 2007

My dry cleaners have always replaced the buttons for free when I pointed out the damage the next time I was there.

Yup. They don't always match exactly, but if you get shirts with extra buttons sewn into the hem, they use those first. Certain shirts are certainly more prone than others.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:41 AM on December 10, 2007

it is the pressing. they should replace the buttons.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:46 AM on December 10, 2007

I hate ironing more than most anything in the world. I suck at it and have no patience.

Conair to the rescue!

This thing rocks my world. Why? It takes all of 2 minutes to get a nicely pressed shirt. The steamer seems to rejuvenate the shirt and makes it feel clean again. I can wear the same shirt a couple of times during the work week. I fill it with water before I jump in the shower and by the time I get out, it's going full bore and ready to use. When I do laundry now, I just toss my shirts and slacks in the basket and say "fuck it - this steamer has my back."

Disclaimer: I don't work for Conair. I just love this thing.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:16 AM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Two pieces of advice:
(1) For many years I have bought Land's End shirts exclusively. They make a point in their sales pitches that their buttons are top quality, and they are right -- I have rarely had one break at the launderer's. They sew two or three extra buttons on, as well, just in case. The shirts might cost a few dollars more, but they last a lot longer, both the buttons and the fabric.
(2) Land's End now has a line of No Iron shirts, which you can launder at home without ironing. I've been using those for a year or two and they work. They're guaranteed for 50 washes without ironing; have the feeling they go for more than that. (Fish around the site, there are multiple styles and color lines.)
posted by beagle at 11:29 AM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Buy better quality shirts. these are indestructable. And no, you don't have to buy the ones that cost $350. Not only do these buttons last, they don't even pop off. I've worn dozens of these shirts and maybe one or two actually popped off from wear and tear - total.
posted by wfc123 at 2:07 PM on December 10, 2007

I know that most of the time I used to take shirts and suits to the dry cleaners it was not because they were dirty but because they were wrinkled. As KevinSkomsvold pointed out, a home steamer is an awesome tool to have and if you do the math you'll probably find that it saves you money v. dry cleaning in a short period of time and less trips to dry cleaner (aprat from expense and environmental impact) means fewer broken buttons.

I heartily recommend plunking down the cash (<>Jiffy Steamer.
posted by donovan at 2:40 PM on December 10, 2007

Response by poster: Right on. I'll check out the shirts and home devices.

I generally buy pretty expensive shirts, so having the cleaners replace the buttons is not nearly as preferable as them not breaking in the first place.

I'll keep checking back for more....
posted by doppleradar at 7:57 PM on December 10, 2007

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