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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recycling Old Carpeting and Rugs

Too much ‘stuff’ makes me crazy.  I have lots of clothes, so when I buy new clothes or shoes, I try to purge the same number of items so my already large wardrobe doesn’t endlessly continue to grow.  Whenever Gray gets new toys, we see what he can ‘live without’.  Earlier this year, we decided to replace our like-new leather living room furniture with something more comfortable, and before we even purchased our new sectional, we’d already sold our current furniture, leaving the room empty for well over a month.

That’s how I like to roll – not letting our house explode at the seams.  But now we are talking about replacing some carpeting and a rug.  Before I could even think about what I want, I had to resolve an issue that would eat at me until I had an answer to this question: What will we do with the old stuff?

There is a group called Carpet America Recovery Effort that has an online tool with a map of recyclers that will take old carpeting.  Before just showing up with your old carpet, call first to see if there is a cost associated with recycling your carpet.  If you have a small amount or just a few scraps, you could put them to good use with these ideas:
  • Turn them into furniture movers.  Cut old carpet in small squares and place a square under dresser, bed, or chair legs and then pull the item across the floor instead of having to lift and carry.
  • Save your knees.  Roll up a piece and use it to kneel or sit on when gardening or doing yard work.
  • Create a comfy place for Fido by turning it into a bed for your dog.
  • Use it to clean the gunk, dust, and dirt in your window screens by dipping a piece into warm, sudsy water, and rub the pile side onto the screens.
  • Place scraps of carpet under the feet of laundry machines to reduce noise.
  • Use small pieces inside a dollhouse or even a playhouse or treehouse.
But before you decide to cut up your old rug, check into having it cleaned first to see if you can bring it back to life.  Our 6-step professional rug cleaning process helps extend the life of your rug by removing dirt that will scratch the rug’s fibers and leave your rug looking dull and lifeless.  To see if your rug can be saved, drop it by one of our locations or call Greg Henderson at 336-804-0045.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Avoiding Wedding Day Mistakes

Who remembers that movie with Jennifer Lopez called “The Wedding Planner”?  My favorite scene in the movie is when she opens her suit jacket to reveal this kit full of supplies – needles, thread, duct tape, breath freshener.  It’s sort of a cheesy movie, but I’ll admit loving it solely because of her ‘wedding preparedness kit’.  But the truth is, as much advanced planning as goes into a wedding, things will inevitably go wrong.

Just thinking back over the years, between my own wedding mistakes and others that I’ve had to experience, I’ve put together a little list of things to remember, four on the actual day, and one after. 
  1. Skip the horse and carriage.  One of my dearest friends had a horse and carriage drive her and her new husband from the church, through town, to the reception.  The wedding party followed along behind on a ‘hayride’.  It took so long to get to the reception that many folks left.  If your reception is at a different location, allow for drive time and photos, and offer your guests something to snack on while they wait.
  2. Invest in a professional photographer.  That’s something we didn’t do, and it is my one big wedding regret.  We had a small but lovely ceremony and Matt’s uncle and cousin took photos.  In retrospect, it seems unfair to have asked them to spend the day behind the camera, plus they weren’t exactly trained photographers.
  3. Make sure you can be seen.  My college roommate was incredibly shy, and when she got married, if she wasn’t holding her bouquet too high, she was sinking back into her veil.  If you choose to carry a large bouquet, make sure you are carrying it low enough so that when you look back at your photos, you can actually see your dress.  Same holds true for the veil.  Make sure it frames your face instead of hiding it. 
  4. On the big day, follow Mary Fiore’s (aka Jennifer Lopez) example and have a small emergency kit with a needle, thread, safety pins, scissors, hem tape, lint roller, stain stick, static guard, and baby powder nearby.  These items will help with most garment-related wedding day emergencies.  I can speak from personal experience.
  5. Don’t leave your gown hanging unclean in your closet, in a plastic poly bag, for 11 years.  Have your gown cleaned as soon as possible after your wedding.  The longer you wait to have it cleaned, the less likely it is that all the stains can be removed.  I’m fortunate that I didn’t ruin my gown by this careless move.
While many of these tips we can’t help you with, we can help you with the last two.  First, we can perform alterations and prepare your gown before your big day so that, hopefully, you won’t need to use your emergency kit.  Second, cleaning and preserving wedding gowns is one of our specialties.  To learn more, check out this article on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation or stop by one of our locations to speak to a manager. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Preventing Cooking-Related Fires

There are so many good-quality pre-made products at the grocery store these days that most people are surprised when I tell them all the things I make myself – bread, jelly, vanilla, marinara, salsa, cakes, soap.  You get the idea, but one thing I’ve never made from scratch is molasses.  One of the biggest reasons is that it takes a lot of work to get the amount of juice you need to process a batch that ultimately results in not a lot of the finished product.  The other big reason is it requires lots of watching and waiting.

But one of our Roanoke customers is way more patient and industrious than I am, and he decided to give molasses making a go.  It can take several hours for the excess water to boil out of the juice to make the molasses, and unfortunately our friend fell asleep during the process.  As he and his wife slept, the mixture continued to cook down, started smoking, and ultimately ended up leaving a burnt chemical smell throughout the entire house.  There are no photos to share from this disaster because there was no smoke residue at all.  The damage was a pungent odor that soaked into all this couple’s textiles – clothes, furniture, curtains, carpet, rugs.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that 40% of all house fires are cooking related – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove.  A Cleaner World cares about you and your family, so we wanted to remind you of these important cooking-related safety tips:
  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Always set a timer when cooking.
  • Be sure to keep cooking surfaces clean to prevent food and grease buildup.
  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing when cooking.
  • Keep flammable items away from your stove and oven.
  • Always have the appropriate lids for your pots and pans nearby in case you need to smother or cover a fire.
  • Check your kitchen before leaving or going to bed to make sure all appliances are off.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and check it periodically to ensure it is not expired and is in good working order.
  • Install a smoke alarm near your kitchens and test it monthly.  Replace the batteries at least once a year.
To learn more about A Cleaner World’s Fire Restoration Division, check out the FAQ section of our website.  Should you experience the devastating effects of a home fire and need help, please feel free to give us a call

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Premium Rug Cleaning Process

Let’s be honest here – who really gets excited about having to have their rug cleaned?  At A Cleaner World, we love to clean rugs.  Seriously.  We also love going out of our way to make the rug cleaning process as easy, convenient, and painless as possible by offering choices.  First, with our 33 locations, you can drop off and pick up at the location that’s most convenient for you.  If perhaps your rug is too large for your vehicle and you live in the Triad area, we will gladly come pick it up from your home.  Simply call our office at 336-992-0700 or Greg’s mobile number at 336-804-0045.

Not only will you get convenience, you’ll also get a qualified and certified technician cleaning your rug in a state-of-the-art facility.  In fact, here’s a blow-by-blow of just how well we’ll go about professionally cleaning your rug:
  1. Before cleaning, we will thoroughly inspect your rug, including the fringe and back, for tears, holes, missing stitching, damage to the fringe, damage from pets or insects, and any dye bleeding.  In addition, we dye test the rug to ensure there will be no issues during the cleaning process.  If we discover any issues, we will call you immediately before moving forward with the cleaning process.
  2. We remove any dry soil with a special and unique piece of equipment called the Rug Badger, which gently vibrates the rug from the back, allowing fiber damaging particles to fall out of the rug and then be removed with vacuuming.
  3. Next we will use special detergents to gently hand wash your rug.
  4. After washing, we use a specially designed indoor river system and cold water to rinse your rug thoroughly, continuing the process until the water runs clear.
  5. Once the rinsing process is complete, we use a specially designed water extraction procedure to extract as much water as possible from your rug.  This is an important step as we all know that wet rugs that sit around for too long will eventually mildew and possibly dye bleed.
  6. If your rug has fringe, we will clean, detail, and refresh the fringe using specially designed detergent and non-chlorine bleach after the initial drying process.
  7. Finally, after your rug has sat on our drying racks for 4-6 hours, we perform a final inspection where we make sure all soil was removed, no spots were missed, all odors were removed, and there’s no dye bleeding.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Transitioning to Your Fall Wardrobe

I’m always sad to see summer come to a close; I’m definitely a warm weather person.  There are a number of reasons for my love of summer – the slower paced days, the fact that I’m cold natured, but the biggest reason of all is that I like summer clothes far better than winter clothes.  Transitioning your closet to a new season is never a fun job, but if you follow our recommendations, your favorite fun wears will be ready for you again next spring.  But before you start packing your things away, consider this – not every piece should be stored away until warm weather returns.  As you pack things up, take a look at your tanks, t-shirts, and dresses to see if you have some pieces that will still work during fall.  For instance, tanks might look nice layered under a sweater and dresses could be matched with a cardigan or jacket. 

For those items you definitely want to store away, here’s what we recommend:
  1. Make sure your summer clothes are properly cleaned before placing them in storage.  Even if you only wore something for a few hours and it looks clean, make sure you launder or dry clean it before storing it away.  If you’re not sure if you wore something or not, be sure to launder or dry clean it before storage.  The bottom line is that unless you are certain it is clean, launder or dry clean it.  A garment can look clean but have invisible stains like a clear beverage spill or sweat, both of which will turn yellow over time.  Plus these, along with dead skin cells, will attract moths and other insects that will want to feed on the dirt on your clothes while they are in storage.
  2. Break your clothes into two categories – fold and hang.  Fold things like sweaters, shirts, and some pants and dresses to reduce the chances of stretching and distortion.  Hang things like blazers, suit jackets, and some dresses, avoiding flimsy wire hangers and instead opting for wooden suit hangers or strut hangers with shoulder guards so that items will not become misshapen.
  3. When placing your garments into the appropriate container, use clear plastic bins with air-tight lids for your folded items; they seem to work best for keeping both pests and moisture out.  For items that will hang, never use our plastic poly bags as they will suffocate your clothes and possibly cause staining or mildewing; instead, opt for garment bags.
  4. Choose the storage location carefully.  Never place your clothes in a damp basement or a non-climate controlled attic; try to find a dark and dry place with a consistent temperature.  Extreme temperature variations could eventually damage your clothes, and too much sunlight can also cause color fading or yellowing in whites.
  5. Finally, use cedar chips or lavender and rosemary sachets to help keep your clothes smelling fresh and as additional help in warding off pests.
If all of this seems like too much work, then A Cleaner World will be glad to handle it for you.  To learn more about storing out-of-season garments at A Cleaner World, simply click here or stop by one of our locations and speak to a manager.  We’ll be glad to help make this semi-annual task much easier for you.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Top 5 Reasons to Use Professional Dry Cleaning

I tend to get emotionally involved with my clothes.  I know it’s crazy, but I somehow remember important events and happenings based on what I am wearing.  For instance, a few months ago I pulled out a dress similar to this one because, well.......I really paid too much for it and hadn’t worn it in quite a while.  We were going out for Italian food, and I said to Matt, “The last time I wore this dress, we went to that awful 1980’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre.”  We then spent the next few minutes laughing and talking about how the food was not so great, the murder mystery part was goofy, and yet we had lots of fun that evening.

Now I have another story for that lovey dress; I wore it again, and this time I spilled spaghetti and meatballs all down the front of it.  On occasion I do listen to my own advice, so I simply scraped off the excess and left it alone.  It was late when we got home, so I just laid it across the dryer to deal with later.  Looking at it the next morning, I knew I had a big job ahead of me – the combination of tomato sauce along with the grease and oil in the meatballs and cheese would mean multiple attempts.  Or I could simply take it to A Cleaner World, which is what I did, and here’s why:
  1. Grocery store pre-treaters typically cannot break down oil-based stains but dry cleaning can break them down easily.  One of the biggest advantages of dry cleaning over laundering is its knack for dissolving grease and oil stains.
  2. Because dry cleaning uses fluids instead of water, natural fibers won’t swell so there is less of a risk for shrinkage, distortion, dulling of colors, and change in feel.
  3. Dry cleaning is much gentler than cleaning your clothes in a traditional washing machine, especially on delicate garments.  Clothes experience less wear and tear when being dry cleaned, keeping them looking newer, longer.
  4. There’s less risk than if you try to remove a stain yourself.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve ruined a garment thinking I could remove the stain only to pull the color from the fabric.   
  5. It’s easier.  Ironing is one of my least favorite tasks, and it seems I’m not alone.  I checked a number of sites and found relatively close numbers on all, stating that 70-76% of the population claims to hate ironing.  When I take my clothes to A Cleaner World, I drop them off dirty and then pick them up in impeccable condition – no more ironing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Color Loss Thanks to Bleach

Back in 2011, I shared a story about how my uncle thought imparting this important tip was too obvious to put out on social media: "Chlorine; pool water; cleaners with bleach, ammonia, or peroxide; and even some toothpaste have bleach that can remove color from your clothing." His answer was something like this, "Well isn't that information sort of obvious?"  Apparently it wasn’t too obvious because shortly thereafter, I managed to ruin a pair of yoga pants by splashing toilet cleaner on them.

Recently I managed to ruin another garment again, thanks to carelessness.  Unfortunately this time it was one of Matt’s shirts.

Have you ever had this happen?  You notice a few splotches of discoloration on a garment and think, “How in the world did I do that?”  If it is color loss in a confined small area, then it is likely that it was exposed to an oxidizing agent.  Oxidizing agents are found in all kinds of every day products like hair care, acne solutions, medicine for skin issues, cleaning agents, and bleach.  Many times you won’t notice the color loss until after the item is washed and then exposed to heat in the drying process.  Unfortunately, this color loss is permanent.  It may be possible to cover the area by using a dye pad or pencil or by re-dyeing the garment, but an easier solution is to simply use caution when using these products.  Here are a few things I do to try to guard against this discoloration happening to my favorite things:
  • Brush my teeth and use bleach on my teeth while still in my bathrobe
  • Wear old clothes when getting my hair highlighted
  • Wear old clothes when cleaning, especially when cleaning the bathroom
  • Put on an old apron when dealing with bleach for laundry
How do you avoid messing up your clothes?  Share some of your tips below or on Facebook, Twitter, and G+.
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