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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Purchasing and Caring for Down Items

In March we wrote on caring for bedspreads but heavily insulated comforters, sleeping bags, and garments can pose a challenge to clean thoroughly. Down, a natural product, and fiberfill, a polyester fill, are both terrific products to help keep you warm; the problem comes in when the item is poorly constructed. This is especially true when it comes to inadequate quilting because that can cause the filling to move around or lose its shape. 

What specifically should you look for when purchasing down items?  Below are some tips:
  1. Check the quilting.  Quilting stitches should run vertically and horizontally with quilting lines about 8” – 10” apart.
  2. Check the construction.  Make sure the stitching strength is strong.  If the stitching is loose, then the down or fiberfill will shift.
  3. Check for fullness.  Thicker filling means more insulation.
We recommend taking down and fiberfill items to a professional dry cleaner for two reasons.  First, A Cleaner World’s staff has been trained in the best practices for bedding and to say we have experience handling these items would be an understatement. Second, many times down and fiberfill items are large and bulky, which can lead to overfilling, spills, and sections that weren’t fully saturated by detergent.       

If you choose to care for down and fiberfill items at home, we recommend the following:
  1. Follow the instructions on the care label.  Keep in mind that these items might take a longtime to air dry.  If the care label indicates that it is safe, tumble dry keeping the temperature below 140 °F (medium heat) to prevent shrinking.
  2. Always clean the item and repair any tears, snags, or broken fasteners before storing it away for the season. 
  3. Never put it away before it is completely dry; doing so will lead to mold and mildew issues. 
  4. Store in a cool, dry, dark space that isn’t subject to extreme temperature changes. 
  5. Finally, don’t compress the item or place it in plastic bags while in storage.
Of course, A Cleaner World is always available to answer any questions about down and fiberfill garments, comforters, and sleeping bags, or any garment for that matter.  Simply call or stop by one of our locations.  We are always here to help.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Caring for Sweaters

I have oodles of sweaters; that’s because I am forever cold.  In the spring and summer, I carry around a cardigan sweater, that matches my outfit of course, because I freeze in the air conditioning.  In the fall and winter, I wear multiple layers, usually ending with some sort of sweater on top.  But not only do I love sweaters because they keep me warm, I also love them because of the variety and style they can add to any ensemble.

There are so many styles and fabrics out there plus many sweaters have decorative trims and embellishments; therefore, sweaters require special attention.  If you have a sweater with trims like suede, leather, snakeskin, fur, sequins, or beads, we suggest you take it to a professional for cleaning or at the very least for advice before cleaning it on your own for the first time; many of these features require special attention.

If you’d like to care for your sweaters at home, we recommend using these general guidelines:
  • Before washing or dry cleaning, check your sweater for any unraveling, fraying, and loose yarns and have the problem mended before cleaning.  Proceeding with cleaning before mending any issues could lead to further unraveling or damage.
  • Always follow the instructions on the sweater’s care label.
  • If the care label indicates it is fine to tumble dry, then do so on the lowest temperature possible.  If not, then lay the sweater out flat to dry.
  • As with any garment, always treat stains immediately.
  • If you are concerned about shrinkage, make a pattern of the sweater by tracing its outline on a piece of brown paper.  This will allow it to be blocked back to its original size should it shrink.
  • Never put a wool sweater (or any garment for that matter) away wet.  First allow it to dry at room temperature, away from heat, then brush with the nap.
  • To store sweaters, either fold them over a strut hanger or fold and place in a drawer or on a shelf.  Never hang a sweater from the shoulders; the weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch.
If you need help caring for your sweaters, feel free to stop by one of our locations.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we will, of course, be there to provide the best care for all your garments, including your sweaters.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5 Ways to Help Reduce Clutter

A few weeks ago, Matt’s dad was in the hospital; Gray and I were visiting when a nurse came in and offered to show Gray around and answer any questions he might have.  I loved that he really wanted to go see other patients, check out the monitors, and ask questions.  But then the thought occurred to me; the last time this happened, he came home with a pile of hospital supplies.  Sure enough, it happened again.  More stuff. More clutter.

With two ‘collectors’ in my house, I am forever battling clutter.  Here are some tactics I use to help reduce clutter in my home:
  1. Just say no.  My first tip is – don’t let the stuff come into your house.  Unless you are absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt sure that you cannot live without it and will use it every day of your life, then don’t even bring it home.  If you haven’t had this widget before and didn’t miss it, chances are you can live without it now.  I say no to my child – a lot.
  2. Purge.  If it did make it into your house, then how often do you use it?  If I use something regularly, say weekly, then it has a home, like a cabinet or closet, somewhere in our house.  If it is a few times a year, then it goes in the storage room off the bonus room or in our shop.  If I haven’t used it in over two years, I donate it.
  3. Get rid of multiples.  I once asked my husband, ‘How many blade screwdrivers does a man need?’  He turned around and asked me, ‘How many pairs of khaki pants does one woman need?’  Point taken.  I am down to three pair.
  4. One in, one out.  I’ve mentioned in past blog posts that I adopted this plan, but in particular, I really apply it when it comes to home décor and my clothing.   
  5. Evaluate your décor.  I don’t have tons of knick-knacks, photos, and mementos on display.  Limiting the number of things you have out helps keep the room from looking cluttered; it also helps when it comes to cleaning time – less to dust.
To me, clutter=chaos=stress; the less clutter in our home, the more relaxed I am.  If you have tips on how you keep your home clutter-free, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and G+.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Cleaner World is More Than a Dry Cleaner

Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually cut my explanation short by saying ‘I’m a blogger’.  If the person seems interested, then I provide a little more information by saying something like ‘I do social media marketing for a family-owned dry-cleaning chain that has stores in North Carolina and Virginia.’  Most of the time, unless we are at a function that requires you to sit around and chat, that’s about as far as I get.  But recently I found myself talking in great detail about A Cleaner World and my job.  That’s when I figured out that I’d been selling myself and my company short.

The thing is, A Cleaner World is way more than a dry cleaner.  Sure, we take in dirty clothes, remove the stains, press them into crisp perfection, and return them in pretty packaging, but have you thought about A Cleaner World in the following three ways?

  • Image Maker – Have you ever placed a pair of khakis that you ironed next to a pair of khakis that A Cleaner World professionally finished?  The difference is astounding, and that’s because the two processes are completely different.  (Follow the link on professionally finished to find out how.)  You know, we all have our own individual style, but stop and think about how you feel when what you are wearing is crisp, clean, and professional looking versus looking a bit disheveled.  A Cleaner World takes disheveled and turns it into wow, bumping your individual style to a crisp, clean, personal brand. 
  • Time Saver – The one thing we all seem to run short of is time.  Ironing is one of my least favorite tasks, and it seems I’m not alone.  I checked several 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!  It’s not just ironing, check out all the ways A Cleaner World saves you time: folded dress shirts, replaced buttons, alterations & repairs, wedding gown cleaning and preservation, uniform rental & commercial services, rug cleaning, and fire restoration.
  • Happiness Maker – Along the lines of no more ironing and other time-stealing tasks, several articles came out in August sharing the fact that ‘Money Can Buy You Happiness.’  The study showed that people that do spend money on time-saving services are less stressed and more satisfied overall.  Who knew that having to care for your clothes could dampen your mood?
Stop by one of our locations to see how we can help you create a personal brand, save you some time, and, most importantly, make you incredibly happy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

E-mail from A Cleaner World

Recently, I had a customer fill my ear with compliments about the service she’d received at one of our stores.  She was pleased with the quality of the cleaning and finishing, loved the staff, and was touched by the dog treat for her dog.  But the thing she went the craziest over?  She loved getting an e-mail from the store letting her know that her order was ready.

You might be wondering why you’re not being notified that your order is ready when you already receive e-mails weekly for Wild Wednesday reminders and our monthly newsletters.  That’s because they come from two different sources.  I thought, given the questions we’ve received lately, that it might be a good idea to explain how the whole thing works.

E-mails from wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com

Wild Wednesday reminders are sent out mid-morning every Monday, and they tell you what the week’s special is going to be.  Monthly newsletters are sent out toward the beginning of each month, and they contain helpful information on garment care, fashion, and current events as well as a coupon.  Both are sent via an e-mail marketing platform with the e-mail address wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.  To sign up, click this link, and if after signing up you find you don’t want to receive them anymore, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any of the e-mails.

E-mails from customerservice@acleanerworld.com  (or alan@acleanerworld.com, mike@acleanerworld.com, steve@acleanerworld.com, michael@acleanerworld.com)

These e-mails are sent from the store you visit.  If you aren’t signed up with your store and would like to be, simply tell the CSR at your location, and they can take care of signing you up.  Once you are signed up, you’ll receive e-mails like these:
  • Notifying you that your order is ready
  • Giving you the option to have your invoice and receipt e-mailed to you
  • Reminders if your orders have been in the store more than 30 and 60 days
  • $5 Free dry-cleaning coupon sent to you on your birthday
If after signing up you find you don’t want to receive these e-mails, you can simply click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the e-mails.

Finally, we value your privacy, so we’ll never share your personal information with anyone.  We also value your business and care about what you think. If you have a good experience with our staff, give them a shout-out on Yelp. If you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions you’d like personally handled you can always e-mail me at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Importance of Clean Bedding

There are so many factors that lead to a terrible night’s sleep – too much alcohol, a heavy meal, lighting, temperature, noise, children in bed with you.  The list goes on, but did you know that sleeping on clean sheets can help you get a better night’s rest?  Check out these results from a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation:
  • 78% of the respondents agreed that they are more excited to go to bed on sheets with a fresh scent
  • 85% of people reported improved sleep
  • 86% stated the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding is an important part in getting a good night’s sleep
  • Only 62% stated that they change their sheets at least weekly or more often
  • A Yahoo survey found that only 16% said they wash their sheets only once a month
So why is all this the case?  The short answer is ‘I don’t know,’ but here’s what happens when you don’t wash your sheets often enough and hopefully the information in the next paragraph will be an excellent motivator.

Your body does some crazy things; for instance, it sheds around a million skin cells per day, has more germs on it than people in the United States, naturally secretes oils, and has a built-in mechanism to help you cool down -- called sweat.  In fact, a Wall Street Journal Online report reported that one person can perspire as much as a liter in one night.  These things, when left on sheets for an extended period, can put you at risk for infections, viruses, acne, and induced asthma symptoms.  In addition, dust mites feed off dead skin cells; these little creatures live, die, and reproduce in bed sheets.
Now that you are motivated, here’s how you go about properly caring for your bed sheets:
  • Before washing, read the care labels to ensure there aren’t special instructions to follow. 
  • Just as with your clothes, sheets can bleed onto lighter color fabric, so be sure to separate by color.
  • Wash with the hottest temperature setting listed on the care label; hot water kills most germs and will also kill dust mites.  Cotton sheets can handle hot water while polyester blends need to be washed in warm water.
  • Sunshine is a both a natural disinfectant and a natural brightener, so instead of throwing your sheets in the dryer, consider hanging them outside to dry.   
  • Several years ago, I poked fun at my mom for ironing sheets, but the truth is doing so will help kill the last of the germs and will also make them easier to fold and store.
  • To efficiently store your sheets, place the folded set inside one of its matching pillowcases and store them in the room in which they will be used.  It is best to store them in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. 
  • To help your sheets last longer, consider having more than one set so that you can rotate them.
As always we are here to help, so if you have questions about caring for your sheets, stop by any one of our locations or send me an e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Trick-or-Treat Safely

When I was a kid, Halloween was easy.  You just threw together a homemade costume, told your parents where you were going, and started walking down the street.  Not today.  Either you are concerned about keeping your children safe or, like us, you live out in the middle of nowhere.  Today there are so many things to think about for just a couple hours of candy collecting, and each year, I seem to learn more and more about what not to do.  Like for instance the year I let Gray talk me into letting him be a ghost. 

That violated half the tips I’m about to share.  Thankfully, that was one of the years that we just trick-or-treated Matt’s office.
  1. Costume Safety: Avoid letting them wear masks, and make sure other accessories aren’t blocking their vision.  Check the costume’s length to avoid tripping hazards.  If the costume isn’t reflective, consider adding some reflective tape.  Have them carry a flashlight, and make sure they wear comfortable shoes.
  2. Driving Safety: Be alert, use care when going through neighborhoods, and never take your eyes off the road.  Put your iPhone away.
  3. Pedestrian Safety: If there are sidewalks, then walk on them.  If not, then walk against traffic and stay as close to the curb as possible.  Look right and left before crossing the road, and only cross at intersections.  Carry a flashlight and be aware of your surroundings.
  4. Candy: Only visit homes where the light is on and of those that you know.  Go through your child’s candy collection before allowing them to eat any.  Throw away anything that is not commercially wrapped, has an unusual appearance, or has a torn or discolored wrapper.
If you do have the option to trick-or-treat an office, a mall, or trunk-or-treat, I highly recommend doing that.  The environment is safe, they always get plenty of candy, and typically there’s lots of other fun stuff going on as well.  Whatever you choose, we hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween.
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