Starch is basically a carbohydrate made by plants as a way of storing energy. It is commonly found in fruits, vegetables and tubers. People have been using starch in their laundry as far back as the Middle Ages. Back then they would boil starchy materials such as bran in water, which was then used to wash the clothing. After the clothes dried, they would be “polished” with a tool called a “slickstone,” which was often made of rock or glass. Because of the lengthy and elaborate process, starching was reserved for those who could afford the luxury.
Today’s starch is usually made from a mixture of vegetables like corn, potatoes, wheat and/or tapioca. And, while some starches are added directly to washing machines with clothes, the starch used by dry cleaners is typically applied during pressing. Materials that take starch well are natural or organic fabrics like cotton, cotton/polyester blends, and woolens.
Starch is most often used on dress shirts to help retain their shape and creases when worn. This improves the overall appearance and sharpness of the shirt. Starching is also used on dress slacks and even jeans.
At Flair Cleaners, we offer various degrees of starching: light, medium and heavy. The intensity of the starch depends upon your personal preference. Light starching is most appropriate for a less-stiff look; while medium and heavy will help your clothes retain their shape longer. If you are unsure of which intensity you want, discuss it with our cleaning professionals.
Starched clothes are simpler to clean; the starch prevents most dirt, perspiration and other dirt from being absorbed into fabrics. In essence, regular starching can actually reduce the likelihood of staining and extend the life of your clothes.
If you are not sure whether or not to use starch, ask the dry cleaning professionals at Flair Cleaners.