Phil Brown -  journalist . writer . poet

Phil Brown

journalist . writer . poet

articles . books . poems

Last Word

Is there anything more mysterious than dry cleaning?


Column by Phil Brown

Is there anything more mysterious than dry cleaning? I know as much about the actual process as I do about alchemy. And yet I drop my stuff off every few weeks faithfully, trustingly. I have this fear that it might never return.

That happened once, although, after a few weeks searching, my favourite black merino polo neck was located.

I dropped some items off recently and was met with a puzzled look as the dry cleaner examined one of the jackets.

"There are some stains on this," she said.
"I know," I said. "That's why I'm having it drycleaned." I would have thought that was self evident. That was on a Monday and when I went

to pick up the two jackets (one of mine, one of my son's) the following Friday I was told they weren't ready. Apparently they were still working on the one with the stains. I pictured a room full of people in white coats toiling over my son's stained jacket.

Surely that wouldn't take more than a couple of days. I have no idea what they were doing to it. I have no idea how dry cleaning works. Is it really dry? Or do they use liquids? And why does it seem to take so long and cost so much?

Every time I pay my dry cleaning bill I wish I was in the business. If I owned a string of dry cleaning stores I'd be a rich man I reckon. Actually a friend of my late father-in-law did own a string of dry cleaning stores and he was able to spend a week at the Melbourne Cup each year so he must have been doing okay.

I was baffled as to why our jackets were taking so long. As I write this they are still not back although I am awaiting the call.

What are they doing with them? Now if you're a Seinfeld watcher you'll know there is a sketch about a dry cleaner and when Jerry goes to pick up his sports jacket it's also not ready. Then he finds out that the dry cleaner has been wearing the jacket!

Surely that couldn't be the case with our jackets? They are tailor made and quite nice. Keep an eye out for a dry cleaner wearing a nice grey or green sports jacket. 

by Phil Brown

Copyright © Phil Brown