Captain Dry Clean owner Mike Waintraub has been in business in Ewing for under two years, but says he has a loyal base of customers.

When a hero is needed to defeat dirty clothes, Mike Waintraub hopes Ewing residents will summon Captain Dry Clean.

Captain Dry Clean, who is signaled with a regular telephone, is the mascot of Waintraub’s unique laundry and dry-cleaning business. Call the captain, and a van will come to your house to pick up your dirty laundry or dry cleaning, no extra charge for the pickup.

When Waintraub’s started the business in August 2007, it was just himself and a van. Last August, he opened to include a storefront at 37 Scotch Rd. in the Suburban Square Shopping Center. Here, the cleaning is done with washers, dryers and a massive organic dry-cleaning machine.

Waintraub said the machine uses organic chemicals, which are easier on the ecosystem than the traditional dry-cleaning chemical Perc.

Waintraub was a commercial insurance salesman before he started Captain Dry Clean. His initial idea was to market the laundry pickup service to college students at local universities. Though Waintraub said there are still college students among his customers, the emphasis has shifted to the general public, and his clientele now includes families and the elderly as well. He also changed the name from “Captain Laundry” to “Captain Dry Clean” so that people would not mistake his store for a laundromat.

However, the laundry component is what makes his business unique. Waintraub said Captain Dry Clean is the only local business that offers laundry-pickup services.

Waintraub said he picked the superhero theme because it is a catchy marketing logo that could easily be applied to future locations or franchises, and because he liked the idea of a superhero to rescue citizens from dirty laundry. Captain Dry Clean (whose delicate cape does in fact have to be dry-cleaned) has appeared at Trenton Thunder baseball games, golf outings and other public events.

Wash is $1.30 a pound, shirts are $1.75 each, laundered and pressed, suits are $9.75 and pants are $4.95. The store is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and closed Sunday. Same-day service available for in store drop off. For more information, call (609) 771-8600.

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Diccon Hyatt is business editor of U.S. 1. He has worked for Community News since 2006 and was previously community editor of the Ewing Observer, the Hopewell Express, the Lawrence Gazette, and the Trenton Downtowner. From 2003 to 2006, he was a general assignment reporter for the Middletown Transcript in Middletown, Delaware. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Delaware, where he was features editor of the student newspaper, The Review. He has won numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware D.C. Press Association and the Association of Free Community Newspapers for features, news, and opinion writing. He is married and lives in Marlton, NJ.