So they say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  I think that is true.  Given how verbose I can be, this column is really on the absolute opposite end of the spectrum.  I have 4 pictures to show you today that will illustrate two key problems that I see.  The very few words (relatively speaking) that I will use will very likely stick with you and help you a great deal.  One concerns rope-ties, and the other is about padding.

Most of you know that I am a huge proponent of Rope-Ties and even I become more and more convinced that there is no second best.  Well, I guess that there is a second best, but it is so far   in the rear view mirror that whatever is “second best” is quickly vanishing into obscurity.  The argument against rope-ties is almost always wash quality; “there is no way that the shirts will come clean”, is what I hear.  This isn’t true.  It seems like nearly every job I do, a shirt comes up that is *really* dirty.  I am always explained the current procedures.  They go something like this:

“First, we dryclean them, then we scrub the collars and then we wash them”.  Sometimes the order is different, but the components are the same.  Procedures, time, labor.  When I see one of these shirts (look at Picture 1), I immediately seize the opportunity to prove something that, to many, needs to be proven.  I suggest that this shirt be rope-tied normally, with other shirts and washed normally – no additional attention.  After a normal wash cycle – just one, and no scrubbing, the shirt looked like this:


It isn’t absolutely perfect, but, by the customer’s own admission, this shirt “looks as good as, if not better than, it would have looked if we had followed all of our usual steps.”  If you don’t get these results, it isn’t because the Rope-Ties don’t work, it is because either the water temperature is wrong, the chemicals that you use are ineffective or you aren’t using the Rope-ties correctly

(Watch the video

Rope-ties are a lot more than a cheap alternative to net and pin

Next up, forever our favorite subject, pressing quality.  This shirt looks awful.  The shirt was wet enough (barely) and the machine was in fine shape, the padding was current.  Everyone points to the machine, especially when multiple operators get the same results.  What else could it be?

The problem here is that the steel base pad is completely worn.  It might “look” ok, but this is the evidence that tells you to the contrary.  I don’t care what it looks like, it is no longer resilient.  The “pad” does not take care of this.  The pad does not “pad” anything.  It is just a vehicle to get the moisture out of the fabric and into the steel mesh where that moisture will evaporate instantly.  If the steel has no sponginess left, it will be like trying to press a shirt in between two hot rocks.

That’s it for today.  Remember:

“If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.”