Taking Westporters To The Cleaners

A newcomer to Westport writes:

I’m trying to understand the disparity of dry cleaning prices in this town.

dry-cleaner-cartoonWe have the $2.99-for-everything place over the Norwalk line. Then we have a guy charging me $4.95 for a golf shirt. These charges rack up quick in the summer — $25 a week! Needless to say I am making my husband “re-wear” his golf shirts, which he is not happy about.

I even came across one that is cash only, and the most expensive of them all. I am a one-and-done customer for them.

As a newcomer, I would like to know who is the best dry cleaner, with the best prices. I would prefer not to have to drive to Norwalk to get my stuff.

“06880” readers could help this out-of-town girl.

There you have it. Click “Comments” below to recommend the best dry cleaner in town — and explain why. Please use your real, full names!

An "06880" reader took 9 items to a Westport cleaner (left), and paid $70.64. She took 9 to a cleaner in Norwalk.The bill: $28.79.

An “06880” reader took 9 items to a Westport cleaner (left), and paid $70.64. She took 9 to a cleaner in Norwalk.The bill: $28.79.

32 responses to “Taking Westporters To The Cleaners

  1. We have tried several cleaners and always seem to go back to the same one. We go to Swiss cleaners. It is by far the most expensive, but they do the best job. We tried Minuteman cleaners, as everyone loves their pickup and delivery service, but they ruined several items and it just wasn’t worth it in the end. We tried the Norwalk cleaners that does everything for $2.99, however they lost several of our items and it took weeks for them to find them. I would love to know if anyone has found a flawless cleaner that has reasonable prices. We have tried, but have never been successful.

  2. Mark Mathias

    Having tried a good portion of the local Westport cleaners over the years, the $2.99 cleaners in Norwalk, sandwiched between Staples Office Supply and Five Guys on the Post Road across the street from Aitoro, is definitely the least expensive and we’ve had great success with them. They also launder and press men’s dress shirts for 99 cents each! And thanks for the reminder. I have some items to pick up there today.

  3. Bruce Fernie

    Truly a first world problem.

  4. Town Cleaners, in the Bev-Max/Wendy’s shopping center opposite Stew’s, is inexpensive (cheap by Westport standards), professional and great quality. Sue, the owner, will clean, wash and mend your clothes and give you a 20% discount if you pay cash in advance. It’s great not to be ripped off – even if it means driving an extra few miles to Norwalk.

  5. Eric William Buchroeder

    Use Woolite, an iron and Easy-On spray starch. What real old time Westporters did was wash their clothes in the Saugatuck and beat them on a rock.

  6. Well, at least the Westport receipt is embossed with “Thank You!” (For allowing us to rip you off). The Fairfield factor, is what I call it when merchant’s arbitrarily bump pricing when they think they can get away with it.

  7. Bobbi Essagof

    After patronizing most cleaners in town, at one time or another over 24 years, I love Minuteman Cleaners, near train and 1-95 exit 17. Marco, their tailor is by far the best in town. The cleaning is great, No broken buttons! Pick up and delivery and they even deliver the items that Marco has so perfectly altered.

  8. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I live in Fairfield and use the $2.99 cleaner in Norwalk. Have never had a problem with their service. When I drop things off, I go to the Pepperidge store, Stew Leonard’s and Carters. It is worth it to me to go there being able to do other errands on the same trip. Dry cleaning/pro laundering of a golf shirt????? NEVER!

  9. I use Washing Well on Main Street. It’s $2.00 per shirt and they have always done a good job. I used to take my shirts to a dry cleaner in Norwalk that did them for $1.00, but they damaged a few shirts. Washing Well is great. They are located in the back next to Gap.

  10. Bobbie Herman

    I used to take my cleaning to Greens Farms Cleaners, but the owner, John, closed and moved down South a few years ago. Since then, I’ve been using Pure Elegance (next to Fortuna’s), and they’ve always done a beautiful job. But their prices have skyrocketed recently — I think they have new owners. So, I’d be happy to learn of a reasonably priced and good cleaner, too.

  11. Ellen Andersen

    We use Dean Cleaners in the Whole Foods shopping center. We have used them for many years and Mr and Mrs Kim have always been wonderful!! Their prices are not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive – somewhere in the middle. They provide excellent service – even staying open one day when we had to pick something up! I HIGHLY recommend them!

  12. Jeffrey Ruden

    Not sure about price, but New Canaan Cleaners are fantastic. I have been using them for 10 years and they pickup and deliver to Westport twice a week! Amazing at getting out stains!!!

  13. I have not shopped around, but my parents have used Dean Cleaners in the whole foods plaza for years, so I more or less went by default. They are very friendly, have good customer service and are very good at getting stains out. Always a pleasant experience. I know I could probably get a better price elsewhere, but have not bothered to check. They do pick up and drop off as well, although I believe you have to spend a certain amount to qualify. I tried Minute Man when I first moved here but I had such a rude and unpleasant experience at the front desk that I refused to return.

  14. Dick Lowenstein

    $7.50 to clean a “T-shirt cttn wht”? I thought white cotton T-shirts go in the washing machine.

  15. Marcy Anson Fralick

    I agree with Eric…I live in Golf Country U.S.A. (Southern Arizona) and golf shirts are perfectly fine in the washing machine on delicate and air dry in the dryer. I rarely use a dry cleaner…that’s the least expensive of all options.

  16. William Adler

    Dean Cleaners is the way to go in Westport. They use non- or less-toxic chemicals and that makes all the difference since these items rest on our skin !!! The price differential from chemical palaces is worth it.

  17. John Hartwell

    We use the Maple Cleaners on Post Rd East. Lovely people, convenient, not the cheapest but very personal service.

  18. I had the same sticker shock upon moving to Westport from Philly suburbs three years ago! After trying our local Community Cleaners (too pricey-not good alterations), Minuteman Delivery (too pricey), & State Cleaners (you guessed it, too pricey), we are now enjoying paying much less at the $2.99 Norwalk cleaners mentioned near Staples. Their alterations are good, their prices are great, and for what we need, they are perfect!

  19. I go to Maple Cleaners, corner of Maple Ave. and Post Rd. I started going there because it used to be Mac’s Meat Market so I have a special attachment to the spot. I see from the Norwalk receipt that one dress shirt cost $2.99. I am pretty sure that, although you have to bring in at least two shirts, they are $2:50 at Maple.. I could be wrong, maybe the price has gone up…everything does. Still, it is the service, which at Maple Cleaners is very personal and excellent, and the proximity to one’s house that make the difference.
    My husband are I are loyal customers. Once we find a place which preforms a service well and remembers us and our preferences, we stick with them.
    We agree with John Hartwell, They do good work, they are very friendly and professional.

  20. I used Final Touch behind Carvels for several years, but in 2012, I had problem after problem including ruining a new suit that they altered and the repair was worse than the initial damage. For the past year I have been using Swiss and though they are more expensive, they can fix and repair anything

  21. +1 for Dean Cleaners.
    Dan Lasley

  22. I use Fred & Dolly by Angelina’s. good prices and service. Once in a while, they also offer a Groupon.

  23. Dean’s and the Kims get my vote.

  24. My mother used to do the laundry in a highly manual 1930s-style machine with a roller to squeeze water out of clothes and then she’d hang them up to dry. This was in the Janson apartments, on South Maple circa late 1950s. I recall one Sunday the landlady “Old Ma” Janson came charging out at my mother and threatened to evict her for “doing laundry on the Lord’s day” and my mother cried. Also in this living complex were legendary Westport teachers Art Marciano, Edna Kearns and John Hanulik, and amateur champion golfer Dick Siderowf.

    • Just curious — I used to live on Maple Avenue South, but I moved there in 1983, and don’t recall any apartments. Where were the Janson apartments? And what is there now?

      • Oops… I meant to say South Compo, sorry. (We also lived on South Maple, later, hence my brainfreeze.) The Janson apartments have been standing since 1900 – it’s really something unique in Westport… a planned apartment complex of that era that still stands. I think our address was 6 or 8 South Compo. Today they’re condos and have been nicely redone. When we lived there the place was falling apart – we had roaches (in Westport!) and once the bathroom floor collapsed under me. Still it was a cool place – back then, 20 acres of beautiful fields and woodland, so kids like us didn’t know we were poor.

  25. I would think that the market interest for “green” cleaners in Westport and the lack of specific labeling is muddying the price points a little bit. There are several places that advertise “organic” dry cleaning, which is misleading, as the USDA only regulates the use of the term in agricultural products. In 2009 the NYTimes quoted someone from the National Cleaners Association who said, about some cleaners who were deliberately using the term “organic” in a misleading way, “I could clean garments with nuclear waste and I could call myself organic.”. Some Perchloroethylene-alternative processes require new machinery, which would result in higher prices, but it would be difficult for a consumer to tell the difference. I looked at several “organic” cleaners in Westport, some of which didn’t use perchloroethylene (there is some evidence that perchloroethylene is a carcinogen, see below**), but who were using chemicals that produce a sizable amount of volatile organic compounds, contributing to our lousy air quality. I wouldn’t trust that higher prices equate to a happier environment: ask your store what solvents are used.

    **(“Employment in the dry cleaning industry and occupational exposure to PCE are associated with an increased risk for ESRD and for cancer at several sites.” Mortality and end-stage renal disease incidence among dry cleaning workers, Calvert et al, Occup Environ Med 2011;68:709-716 doi:10.1136/oem.2010.060665)

    • So which did you think were “greenest”? How did Dean stack up?

      • Mr. Adler – the last time I looked for a dry cleaner (several years ago), I only looked at places that were within walking distance of downtown Westport. I ended up mostly giving up on dry cleaning and washing as much as I could at home. According to their web site, Dean uses a solvent called Solvon K4, which is a hydrocarbon (1-(butoxymethoxy) butane, also referred to as butylal or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal). This is a new solvent, so there’s not much data about its effects in everyday use. Google “Perc Alternatives Assessment Fact Sheet” for an interesting assessment of different wet/dry cleaning solvents by an institute at UMass Lowell, including Solvon K4 (they call it acetal).

  26. Dick Lowenstein

    Justt had a sport jacket spotted and cleaned at $2.99. Great job and a lot cheaper than WE$TPORT.