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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Offering a Service That Will Clean Everything

There's an old Soviet-era joke: A man walks down the street with a large supply of toilet paper. People, surprised at the large quantity of the luxury product, come up to ask him where he got it. Each time, the man shuns them with a rude word and no explanation, until, on reaching his apartment, someone asks him one last time.

"Listen," the man implores, "please leave me alone. I've just brought it back from the dry cleaners."

Standards throughout Moscow have improved since then. Not only is quality, non-recycled toilet paper now sold in abundance, but some of the city's dry- cleaning services have undergone such a metamorphosis as to provide a level of service similar to that found anywhere in the world.

Since its humble beginnings in 1994, with one cleaning center at 15 Poklonnaya Ulitsa, the Russian company Diana has grown into an impressively large operation with 170 pickup points spread over the city.

Diana says it offers a European level of cleaning that comes from a dedicated approach to customer service.

"Our main goal is ease and comfort for our clients," said Yelena Shpack, advertising manager for Diana. "Now, through experience and equipment taken from abroad, we can provide a service that caters to everybody's needs. We clean everything."

Given 72 hours for turnaround, Diana will clean shirts for 34 rubles ($1.20) each and pants for 72 rubles. A two-piece suit will cost 160 rubles ($5.50), and overcoats will set you back up to 200 rubles. Discount cards are available after your first visit, with up to 50 percent off for children's clothes.

A two-hour express service is available for almost double the price for leather items and 1 1/2 times the price for textiles.

Diana has a special cleaning factory for fur (fur coats start at 570 rubles) and also provides a service for mending clothes. It also offers a convenient delivery service for either no charge or an 89-ruble fee for orders less than 700 rubles.

Another high-quality cleaner, American-owned Californian Cleaners, survived a temporary setback after the gangland-style killing of an assistant director in 1995 and now operates 20 pick-up points around the city in major supermarkets, including Sedmoi Kontinent.

If the times and distances are inconvenient however, California Cleaners will pickup your dry cleaning for an added 95 rubles.

Californian Cleaners' prices are similar to Diana's. Shirts cost 114 rubles to clean, and a two-piece suit will cost 285 rubles. The company has facilities to clean fur and leather.

The two-year-old Contrast Cleaners is another Russian company that offers professional dry cleaning, using what it calls the British method of cleaning.

Contrast Cleaners has 24 pickup points around town, most of which are in supermarkets.

It provides a three-day turnaround but for a 50 percent markup, it will have your dry cleaning ready in 24 hours — providing you drop it off at their main office at 32 Ulitsa Bratislavskaya.

Shirts cost 80 rubles to clean, skirts 150 rubles and pants 99 rubles.

Contrast Cleaners provides a pickup service for an additional charge of 100 rubles. The company is also offering a 15 percent discount throughout April.

Another option for dry cleaning is in the city's major hotels. The prices are higher but the service is good.

At both the Renaissance Hotel and the Radisson Slavjanskaya, a clean shirt will cost $8 and a two-piece suit will stretch you to $25. Both places accept credit cards and the staff speak English.

However, whereas the Renaissance provides a typical three-day turnaround, the Radisson Slavjanskaya will dry-clean your clothes that same day. Providing the Radisson receives the clothes by midday, it claims to have them back to you by 6 p.m. for no extra charge.

Neither service requires you to be a guest of the hotel, but they neither pick up nor deliver.

Admittedly, any dry-cleaning company is not flawless. Certain pickup points have been known to refuse items due to their age or to mutate delicate materials, break buttons and zips or generally "lose" garments.

However, the alternatives of hand-washing clothes in the bathtub or the Soviet-style dry cleaners' rough-handed attitude to khimchistka are not appealing.

Selected Pickup Points

9 Ulitsa Butlerova (Tel. 336-2533)
3/5 Smolenskaya Pl. (Tel. 136-8721)
25/6 Tsvetnoi Bulvar (Tel. 200-1051)
16 Ulitsa Bolshaya Gruzinskaya (Tel. 254-9613 Ext. 22)
22 Kutuzovsky Prospekt (Tel. 243-4280)

California Cleaners
24 Pokhodny Proyezd (Tel. 493-5311/8500)
Sedmoi Kontinent Supermarkets:
12/1 Bolshaya Lubyanka (Tel. 928-9577)
54/2 Ulitsa Arbat (Tel. 241-0761)

Contrast Cleaners
Supermarket Belgrade, 28 Ulitsa Domodedovskaya
Supermarket Columb, 137/1 Leninsky Prospekt
Supermarket Yours, 11 Krasnaya Presnya

The Renaissance Hotel — 18/1 Olimpiisky Prospekt (Tel. 931-9000)
Radisson Slavjanskaya — 2 Berezhkovskaya Nab. (Tel. 941-8020)