It’s as if that slice of pizza had a grudge against your favorite shirt. And why does your lovely toddler wait for you to get dressed for work before hugging you with her blueberry-stained hands? While stains seem inevitable, a good drycleaner can help you recover—and have mad pressing skills and help with alterations, sewing on stray buttons, and just getting smelly garments clean.

Our ratings can help you find the best Mr. (or Ms.) Clean to freshen up your clothes. We also tell you which shops charge low prices.

Our ratings tables show our evaluation of drycleaning shops. The ratings on companies’ service quality come from our surveys of area consumers, who were primarily Checkbook and Consumer Reports subscribers, but also other randomly selected consumers we invited to participate. We asked them to rate drycleaners they had recently used as “inferior,” “adequate,” or “superior” for “doing service properly on the first try,” “starting and completing service promptly,” “pleasantness of staff,” and “overall quality.” For shops that received 10 or more ratings, our ratings tables report the percent of surveyed customers who rated each shop “superior” (as opposed to “inferior” or “adequate”) on each question. Our ratings tables also report the percent who rated each shop “adequate” or “superior” (as opposed to “inferior”) for “overall quality.” Click here for more information on our customer survey and other research methods.

When trying out drycleaners, perform these quality checks:

  • When you drop off garments, do clerks thoroughly inquire about stains and note the information you provide?
  • Do staffers provide coherent answers to your questions about whether a difficult stain will come out?
  • Are your clothes ready when promised?
  • Do the garments look and smell clean?
  • Were the clothes pressed properly? One of the most common complaints we get is that shops sloppily press garments, leaving “double creases” and crushing or losing buttons.
  • Does the drycleaner have an efficient system for finding your garments when you pick them up?

Before taking your clothes to be cleaned, check them for stains and empty all the pockets.

If there are stains, point them out to the clerk and tell them what caused it, how long it’s been there, and what, if anything, you have used to treat it. The more the pro knows, the better the chances of successful cleaning. Also indicate any hidden spots—particularly sugary spills (soft drinks, white wine, fruit juice). Pin a tag or have a staffer put tape on each stain.