Clothes Clinic and Columbus Cleaners offer wet and dry cleaning services to customers in greater Boston. Known under two brand names, the family business is operated by the husband-and-wife team of Vassilis Vassiliadis and Maria Kamperides. Started in 1990, they have four locations: two Columbus Cleaners in Boston; one Clothes Clinics laundry in Braintree and one in Whitman, Massachusetts.
Columbus Cleaners/Clothes Clinic has always used both wet and dry cleaning washers to clean items. Wet cleaning uses water and detergent, much like washing machines at home.
“I noticed that the cleaning quality just wasn’t right,” says Vassiliadis who insists on returning perfectly cleaned goods to his customers. “There was spotting on a lot of clothes and they were coming out rough. So we changed the chemistry and the finished product still wasn’t up to par. So I began researching options for new equipment.”
Vassiliadis attended an equipment show and after some research, he decided on the Miele Professional combination washer and dryer because they “looked dependable.”
Vassiliadis purchased a Miele PW 6321 (71-pound capacity) washer and Miele PR 8507 (55-pound capacity) steam dryer. He then added the Miele PW 818, a 45-pound capacity washer. The machines are located at their Braintree location, which handles all processing.
The Miele Professional system has proved to be very versatile, Vassiliadis says. His team regularly wet cleans dress shirts, cotton pants, down products (jackets, comforters, pillows), silks, leathers, small area rugs, designer sneakers, and even UGG® brand sheepskin boots.
As one would expect, Clothes Clinic’s business was affected significantly by the pandemic.
While it has improved lately, their business is still about 50% below pre-pandemic levels. Vassiliadis estimates that his operation’s pre-pandemic volume included approximately 3,000 laundered shirts per week, 80 pounds of cotton pants daily and 60 pounds of knit/golf shirts daily. Additionally, during the winter, approximately 45 comforters a week.
Specialty items processed include UGG brand boots, lambskin and shearling coats, area rugs, knit wool sweaters and wedding and formal gowns.
After installing the new equipment Vassiliadis says there was a noticeable difference in the quality of his wet-finished goods. “The equipment is more efficient than what we had. It uses less chemistry and cleans better,” he says. “And our Miele dryer has a moisture sensor. We set it so everything comes out ready to press.”
Vassiliadis says he set his Miele washer to 50 percent moisture retention for wet pressing. “Our dress shirts are pressed wet. So that’s a nice feature with Miele. You can adjust the extraction RPM according to your needs,” he says. “We set it to get the right amount of moisture which allows us to produce a superior product.”
There were additional benefits Vassiliadis experienced with his new equipment. “My water bills dropped approximately 30 percent,” he says. “The machine uses less energy. I use less steam in the wet cleaning process and have a smaller hot water tank. And there is less shrinkage and stress on the fabrics cleaned.”
Vassiliadis adds that about three hours a month are saved since collar stays remain inside Miele’s honeycomb drum. “You can pick them out so we have no more clogged drains,” he says. “It saves us time and money.”
After nearly four years with Miele Professional equipment, Vassiliadis lauds their versatile and efficient operations.
“I have used different brands,” he says. “Miele is the best thing I have come across. It is a no-brainer. Somebody who wants to do quality cleaning should buy a Miele.”