Maintenance: Mr Steeds Dry Cleaners, by Royal Appointment
I bet you’re wondering to yourself; “Where does the Queen get her dry cleaning done?”
It’s a good question, and I’m pleased to furnish the answer. He can be found in the unlikely location of Streatham, South West London, and his name is Nigel. For there you will find Mr Steeds Dry Cleaners, by Royal Appointment. But don’t fret if Streatham is a trip too far, they also have a collection and delivery service accessible online. It adds no extra cost.
I despair at how hard it is to find those necessary crafts people that help you keep a wardrobe of clothes in good order: alterations tailors, proper cobblers and of course a professional dry cleaner. Most of the companies offering such services would do better to simply describe themselves as butchers!
You might baulk at my describing a dry cleaner as a craftsman but hold your fire. It’s a skill that requires many years patient study, an in depth knowledge of cloth and types of materials, clothing makes and chemistry.
Dry cleaning doesn’t actually mean dry in the conventional sense, it simply means the absence of water in the washing process. The cleaning process is done by the careful application of heat, steam and a variety of chemicals mixed in the right ratios to remove stains and dirt, many of which are grease (oil) based of have their own unique microbiological properties –like red wine, for example. It is by its nature a risky –risky to the clothes- business and a proper dry cleaner will understand all this and should, if he’s doing his job properly, explain the complexity of the problems he might encounter –it may even seem as though he’s trying to persuade you not to dry clean your garment. Sadly, 90% of the dry cleaners you’ll find on the high street offer no such insight and have no such knowledge. And in my experience they couldn’t give a damn. Most don’t even actually do the cleaning on site, they’re merely pick up and drop off hubs for some industrial scale unknown third party. But where else are you going to go?
No, a real dry cleaner is as rare as any precious stone and having found one you should raise a glass to him at Christmas and wish him a long and happy life -and NEVER patronise anywhere else.
I’ve used Mr Steeds many times and never been unhappy. Sign up online, give your preferred addresses and you’re in business. In my case, they collect from my office in SW1 and return a few days later. Being trusting you pay by credit or debit card after your clothes have been returned in good order. Nothing simpler.
Owned and run by Nigel he apprenticed under the original Mr Steeds, who retired many years ago, and continues the business. Extremely knowledgeable we’ve discussed the finer, and dying art of dry cleaning, and the fact many customers aren’t used to dealing with someone who will tell them why they shouldn’t do the thing they are proposing to pay for -or the possible undesirable outcomes.
Prices are no more, and in fact slightly less in some cases, than you’d find in those key cutters come shoe repairers come dry cleaners come all and sundry high street amateurs. It is perhaps no surprise that with all this experience and professionalism comes an enviable clientele which not only includes Her Majesty but leading fashion houses and designer stores.
Dry cleaning is a last resort for removing a stain, or a once a year occurrence to freshen and clean a suit before it goes into storage for a season. Either way it is something that should be undertaken rarely. But, if you need it done get it done by Mr Steeds.
77 Mitchum Lane
London SW16 6LY
Tel: 0208 677 2374