Santa Barbara- S County

Investigation Gets the Dirt on Dry Cleaners

One local business says shady practices in ABC report are very rare

Cleaner Concerns

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With an ABC 20/20 news report going behind the scenes at dry cleaners to see if they are really going over your garments from top to bottom, a local cleaners was more than willing to take NewsChannel 3 behind the counter for a close up look.

The ABC report says, at times, cleaners do not change or clean out their filters.

In the report, Jerry Pozniak from Jeeves Cleaners in New York says, solvents are sometimes reused over and over.

"It's kind of like,  if you were taking a bath and five others took a bath before you, would you feel clean when you came out?" asked Pozniak.

In Santa Barbara, at Ablitt's cleaners,  a business that has decades of experience, owner Sasha Ablitt says her machines come with filters from the factory and she still cleans them often.   Not only would a faulty filter damage clothing, "it would eventually clog up and you would have a major malfunction," she said.

Her business also has cameras to watch the customer's order coming through the Gutierrez street plant.  "We inspect every single garment both sides inside and out  before we clean it," said Ablitt.

Special spot removing chemicals are applied on individual pieces, and it's far from a spray and wash operation.

"Anyone can set up shop and push a button on a machine," said Ablitt. "But actually to be able to remove the stains that takes a lot of practice and a lot of skill, and a lot of training."

Here men's shirts are pressed for that crisp look by  machines that do it all,  but if you have a  specialized fashionable garment,  that has to be pressed by hand, at a slightly added cost.

Also, some facilities no longer have a team of workers handling your order.  Automated machines can sort the items and bag them more efficiently.   "You had that jumble of hooks and stuff and people running back and forth, it's all gone. You  scan that little bar code, stick it in any slot you want and the machine assembles it," said Ablitt.

If you do have a concern, "we want you to tell us. We want to make you happy we want your clothes to look good and we want to be the best at what we do."

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