Dry cleaning is all about helping people look and feel good (and, of course, have access to properly cleaned clothing!). There’s a certain level of prestige when it comes to using dry cleaning—after all, the kinds of clothing in need of the service tend to be more delicate or expensive items. Living up to this professional standard—and properly maintaining the business itself—takes a lot of know-how and a specific set of dry cleaning supplies. Let’s explore the essential ones.

Protective Gloves

As a dry cleaner, keeping yourself safe should be a top priority. Some dangers aren’t obvious to the naked eye—especially when it comes to chemicals—and the improper use of dry cleaning supplies can present a serious risk to your health. Perchloroethylene is a non-flammable, colorless, yet volatile compound, and contact with the skin can cause irritation, blistering and dizziness. Over the long term, it can lead to memory loss, slow reaction times and even cancer.

That’s why you need protection. And with an interesting assortment of protective gloves, we’ve literally got you covered. Each style offers sufficient protection, but you’ll want to decide what feels best on your skin (and doesn’t aggravate any sensitivities), what looks best to you (if you have a preference), and how much protection you need.

After all, protecting your hands is not only great for your health but also your looks. Got an upcoming date, a fresh manicure, or a side gig as a model? Ensure the success of all three with the right gloves.

Garment Bags

Once clothing is dry cleaned, protecting it is paramount to customer satisfaction. Even the smallest nick, wrinkle or imperfection can disappoint (and even infuriate) a customer. Garment bags are the best way to prevent stains on cleaned clothes, both in the shop and during its journey back home. These special poly bags are very thin, yet have incredible durability, and protect clothes against rain, snow, and dirt.

Also called dry cleaning bags, they’re printed with child safety warnings to keep both clothing and loved ones safe. For business owners wanting to brand their dry cleaning supplies, there’s ample room for printing logos or slogans. It’s a great way to give poly bags some real character.

For added convenience, garment poly bags have pre-slit holes that let the necks of hangers come through top of the bag. This makes them easy to load and easy to hang.

Garment bags send the signal that a customer has something worth protecting. Using them is a subtle way of communicating that you know what you’re doing (and that you do it well).

Claim Tags

These guys are essential for tracking what order belongs to which customer. Perforated for easy tearing, the bottom section is handed to a customer as a claim ticket, while the top is attached to their clothing order. Pre-printed with consecutive numbers, all you’ve got to do is write the same info on both the top and bottom sections and match them together when your customer comes calling.

Claim tickets, especially their bottom sections, offer a fun way to build relationships with customers. Many dry cleaners add jokes, puns, subtle compliments, or simply good wishes. It’s an easy way to brighten a customer’s day.

Thinking of doing the same? Here’s a few tips for having fun with claim tags.

  • Don’t force it. The first nice thought that comes to mind is the best one to write. People can feel what’s real, and it’s the best way to form a connection. Just be you. You’re great.
  • Read your customers. Some people may not be as receptive as others. Once you’ve been at it a while, you’ll get a feel for who likes fun notes and who simply prefers to be handed a tag.

Twist Ties

They’re one of the simplest dry cleaning supplies on this list, yet they’re essential for bundling orders together, attaching claim tags, and sealing garment bags.

Paper vs. plastic has been an ongoing debate in both the packaging and manufacturing worlds. No matter where you stand on the topic as a business owner, there’s certainly a twist tie for you. Both paper and plastic twist ties come in many colors—the standard black twist tie is a favorite (simple yet classy!)—and matching them to your brand colors will help customers remember your excellent service.

Twist tie material and color aren’t the only decisions you’ll make, as they also come in pre-cut and spool formats. Pre-cut twist ties are great for quickly tying just a few items together, while spools are better for high volumes and will need to be cut—preferably with a twist tie machine.

Twist Tie Machines

Twisting every tie by hand can be a time consuming, mundane task. To eliminate that kind of hassle, consider adding twist tie machines to your works paces. These easy-to-use gadgets are time savers that help you speed up and automate highly repetitive actions.

Simply install a twist tie spool (of your material and color preference) and you’re ready to go. Twist tie machines are available in both semi-automatic and hand-held formats, applying twist ties evenly and cleanly in just seconds. They’re a great first step into the realm of entry-level automation, and the time, headaches and payroll they’ll save you make them a cost-effective investment.

Owning and operating a dry cleaning service can be a demanding job. Making sure these five dry cleaning supplies are on your list of packaging essentials will help you lighten the load a little bit.