Way back in October, my friend Doug sent me a Clothesnik canvas garment bag to try out. I finally had a chance to use it last week. We haven’t taken clothes to the cleaners since July of last year! Unfortunately, it took a while to find a green cleaner that would actually use the bag. More on that later. First, I want to tell you about the Clothesnik.
The Clothesnik is a 100% cotton garment bag and laundry bag in one. Toss dirty clothes into it and tie up the bag using the strings at the bottom. Or use it clean as a garment bag to replace the disposable plastic bags the cleaners give out. If you don’t want to pay for the laundry service to clean the Clothesnik bag, wash it at home and return with it to pick up the clean clothes. Or don’t use it as a laundry bag. There are just so many options.
Our problem was finding a cleaner to use it correctly in the first place. A while back I wrote about green cleaner Blue Sky, which uses CO2 to clean clothes, one of the most environmentally-friendly methods. They also pick up and drop off clothes at your home or office. I thought surely they’d be excited about the Clothesnik.
I thought wrong.
Blue Sky Cleaners would have nothing to do with it. When I explained that its purpose is to save plastic bag waste, which is another environmental problem, the response was that their system was fixed and would not allow for different treatment for individual customers. I did not let that go. I pressed my argument, even letting them know that I would have to tell my readers on Fake Plastic Fish about this policy. The woman’s response was, “Well, you have to do what you have to do.” So okay, I just did what I just did.
Looking for another cleaner that does not use toxic chemicals, we came across the French Cleaners up the street from us on Claremont Avenue.
The employee who answered the phone told me that the company uses only water, no chemicals. Great! We took our clothes and our Clothesnik there, hoping for the best. In the shop window, we found the following sign:
Even better! The woman who took our clothes was very excited by the Clothesnik and thought it was a great idea. And we were excited about the French Cleaners. Unfortunately, just before I left the shop, I asked, “You’ll use only water, right? Even on these wool pants?” She responded, “Oh, no water on these. We send them out. But no chemicals. No perc, no chemicals.”
My heart sank a little bit. Because as I discussed in my previous post, there are several different options which tout themselves as green and are anything but. Since the employee could not tell me exactly which method was being used, I couldn’t know for sure if it would be environmentally-friendly or not. We left the clothes anyway and went home.
Returning a few days later to pick up our clean clothes, I received them on hangers, plastic-free, but also Clothesnik-free. “Where’s the canvas bag I left to put the clothes in?” “Oh, right!” the employee responded. “I forgot it!” She searched the shelves and found our Clothesnik neatly folded. No big deal. We put the clothes in it for the trip home. But I could see it might take some effort to help clothes cleaners learn to use the Clothesnik.
One last time, I tried to engage the woman about the cleaning method used. She didn’t have more information and wouldn’t give me any contact information for the owner either. After looking over the comments left on my previous post, I am seriously motivated to try some of the home cleaning methods suggested. Lauri posted a long explanation of how she cleans wool. I may have to try it, of course looking for a non-toxic soap that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle!