Why Do Shirts Lose Their Buttons At The Shirt Laundry?

Does someone at the dry cleaners go around smashing buttons on all the shirts they clean…or is there another reason shirts come home without buttons?

It’s not exactly a question for the ages, but it’s certainly one that puzzles many Dry Cleaning regulars.  Like many of life’s great mysteries, this particular mystery has several answers.

 Why do shirts lose buttons?

First of all, buttons fall off clothing all the time, not just at the shirt laundry. For example, I find that whenever I buy a dress shirt from a certain retailer, I lose buttons the first or second time I wear the shirt and mumble under my breath that I’ll never shop there again as I sew the button back on. These manufacturers simply don’t sew buttons on very well. I also lose buttons over time as the thread wears down or I catch my shirt on something.

But it is true that the shirt laundry does cause buttons to break, crack or come off. This happens for a couple of reasons. First, shirt presses press the entire placket of the shirt at once, including the buttons. The presses have pads to soften and protect the buttons, but button loss can still occur. Also, if a dry cleaner doesn’t change these pads regularly, they become hard and are more likely to break or damage buttons. The pressing step of the shirt laundry could also exacerbate already damaged thread, being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The standard machine used to press the collars and cuffs of dress shirts:

  • The peachy pads act as shock absorbers and help protect buttons as long as the pads are changed often.
  • The top metal part comes straight down on a hinge and applies heat to the cuffs and collars giving them a sharp, crisp finish.
  • Occasionally buttons are already cracked or weakened from age or from the cleaning process and the button comes off.  A reputable Dry Cleaners will check for missing buttons and replace them.

Substandard thread in the manufacturing process is also a factor in the missing buttons epidemic.  Here at Comet Cleaners of Denton, we check each shirt individually and replace each missing button for free.  This isn’t just for dress shirts either, but we also hand inspect every pair of pants, every ladies blouse, etc…

Reputable dry cleaners will replace for free any buttons broken, cracked or lost during the shirt laundry process. We know lost buttons happen and we do what we can to prevent this loss. But as in life, a little rain will fall and you will lose buttons off your dress shirts at the shirt laundry.

Now to tackle another of life’s great mysteries — how to pick the winning lottery number.

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