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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why Should Your Employees Wear Uniforms?

A little over a year ago, we shared the Top 5 Reasons to Rent Employee Uniforms, including reasons like making a great first impression, promoting your company, and creating a team environment.  But have you ever thought about having employees wear uniforms simply to keep them safe?  I’ve mentioned many times before that my son is quite the talker.  When he runs out of things to talk about, he usually ends up asking me lots of crazy ‘what if’ questions, so ……..
  • What if an unauthorized person enters a restricted area?  Company uniforms in specific styles and colors make it easy to identify these folks quickly.
  • What if your employees work with flammable materials?  My brother-in-law is a welder – a really good one in fact – and they are required to wear flame resistant gear.  Flame retardant uniforms can work alongside proper protocol to keep employees protected from dangerous situations.
  • What if your employees work in an area with heavy traffic?  Uniforms with high-visibility markings allow employees to be easily seen.
  • What if you are concerned about keeping things sanitary?  Uniforms, managed by a company like A Cleaner World Commercial Services, specifically made for the food industry can help lessen the likelihood of cross-contamination.  
  • What if your employees work in an exceptionally dirty environment? Uniforms will protect their own clothing from getting dirty or damaged during work, keeping them from having to spend their hard-earned income on work clothes.

    If uniforms aren’t a part of your business, but you’re thinking they should be, then call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299.  He’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have and explain to you how the process works.  Then both you and your employees can enjoy the benefits and safety features that company uniforms offer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Recycling

My son’s school started a new thing this year by grade level – Community Service or Community Outreach Programs.  The Agathos Parent Council came up with a list of suggestions -- sending cards to folks in the military, collecting food for a local food pantry, collecting books for the Boys and Girls Club, preparing a meal for the homeless, and so on or the class could choose some other project.  One of the things his school wasn’t doing was recycling, so that’s what his fourth grade class decided to do – set up and manage a recycling program at their school.


Starting a program from scratch can be a bit overwhelming, so his teacher, Mrs. Powers, did some research, and she discovered that when first starting out, it is recommended to collect only one or two items.  When Mrs. Powers realized how much paper and how many plastic bottles were being thrown away, she chose those two items to start out with.  The students got started by putting together presentations, visiting classes to explain the program, and giving each classroom two recycling containers so they could get started.  


 

Once the classroom containers are full, students empty them into the recycling dumpster.  A rotation of parents and high school students has been set up to empty the recycle dumpster and take the items to the county Convenience Center.

What a simple way to teach an awesome lesson to teach our children, and I love that they are getting truly involved at such a young age.  It shows if we all do just a little bit, together we can make a big impact.  I’m guessing this is just the kind of thing Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had in mind when he came up with Earth Day in 1969.  A Cleaner World has been doing our little bit, hoping to make a big impact, for over 25 years now.  We recycle our dry cleaning solution.  We ask customers to return their no longer needed hangers to us as well as place their used poly bags in the bottom of their express bags when dropping off.  


If you didn’t know about our recycling program and would like to get involved, simply ask us for a hanger caddy the next time you stop by one of our locations; we’ll be glad to explain how the program works.  To make sure your used poly bags are recycled, simply stuff them inside your express bag, place your dirty clothes on top, and we’ll take care of it from there.  For more ideas on ways you can do just a little bit at home to make a big impact together, click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Community Baby Shower

I was 38 when I finally got pregnant with Gray.  We waited, sometimes longingly and impatiently, for a child to arrive.  I knew, without a doubt, that someday I’d be a mom so as I waited I prepared really, really well.  My parents, on the other hand, have a completely different story.  My mom was 18 and my dad was 21 when I was born, and they struggled, worked hard, and relied on the generosity of family and friends to get by.  I’m certain that if the Community Baby Shower had been around in 1968, my parents could have used the help.

That’s exactly why the FOX8 Community Baby Shower came to be.  “There was a need, and we wanted to help,” said Chris Edwards, President of A Cleaner World.  “Having a baby is such a joy.  New parents should be focusing on loving, nurturing, and enjoying the baby, not how they are going to pay for diapers and formula.”  To participate in the Community Baby Shower simply drop off new things like diapers, wipes, formula, and supplies or gently used things like baby clothes, toys, and cribs at any Triad area A Cleaner World from April 17 through May 12, 2017.  Family Service of the Piedmont and Family Services of Forsyth County will collect and distribute the donated items to new mothers and babies in need throughout our community.

To get an idea of what kind of impact the Community Baby Shower had last year, I talked to Angel Boyd-Gilyard, the Healthy Start’s Program Manager (Healthy Start is Guilford County's version of Head Start) with Family Service of the Piedmont.  Family Service of the Piedmont is a non-profit, grant funded organization that runs several programs including the Healthy Start program, a program that goes from birth to age 2.  While all their programs benefit from the Community Baby Shower, Healthy Start benefits the most.  Here’s an example of how your donations are put to great use.  A Spanish speaking woman fled to Guilford County, leaving a domestic violence situation, with a toddler in her hands, the clothes on her back, and expecting another child soon.  Thanks to the donations from the Community Baby Shower, she received all the things she needed for both her newborn baby and her toddler.  One year later, she has her own place, is working, has her children in childcare, and donates the clothing and items back to the program so that someone else can use them.  “Families that receive items from Healthy Start are definitely in need,” explained Angel, “but they are also actively participating in parenting programs.  It’s a voluntary program, and they are there because they want to be better parents.  They are 100% committed to the program.”

Thanks to donations from last year’s Community Baby Shower, Family Service of the Piedmont had ample supplies for 6 months.  Angel said they always have a need for baby gates, infant clothing, and baby blankets, and she pointed out that even partial packs of diapers and wipes can be put to good use.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Michelle Melton, Assistant Director of Public Relations, Family Services of Forsyth County; Family Services of Forsyth County is also a non-profit organization that relies on donations and grants.  They too run a number of programs but primarily focus on child development from birth to age 5, preparing a child to succeed not only in Kindergarten but also in life.  Michelle had so many terrific stories about what kind of impact the Community Baby Shower had in Forsyth County.  There's the phone call from a nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital who shared a story of a mom that had no baby supplies or family that could help.  The nurse saw the Fox 8 promo and decided to call; Family Services provided the new mom with a diaper bag full of essentials.  How about the young mom in her 20’s that was finishing her degree at WSSU.  She was graduating in May but was due in February.  They were able to provide her with needed supplies, and now she’s doing great.  Finally, they recently met with a mom that received help last year.  She’s finishing up a medial coding certificate at Forsyth Tech and is so incredibly grateful for the help she received.

While the success stories are fun to share and make me smile, here are some statistics that shocked me.  Did you know that 1/3 of kids in Forsyth County live in poverty and that among those that live in poverty, 58% are single parent families headed by mom?  That’s the kind of information that motivates me to take action…..to throw a pack of diapers or a couple pacifiers in my basket while doing my family’s shopping.  The thing is, when you donate to the Fox 8 Community Baby Shower, those supplies are so much more than just diapers and wipes.  “When Fox 8 approached us last year,” explained Michelle, “we realized it would give us the opportunity to work with children, provide essentials, and work with the mom.  The unique thing about Head Start is that it’s not just about the child; it’s about the whole family, and every child has an advocate as long as they remain in the program.  That advocate helps identify needs that should be addressed, but moreover, we can help families become self-sufficient on their own and help change the path they are on.”  Thanks to generous donations from last year’s Community Baby Shower, Family Services of Forsyth County was able to assist 70 new or soon-to-be mothers who had little or nothing to welcome their child.  Michelle pointed out that many mothers don’t know the gender of their baby, so gender-neutral items are greatly appreciated.
 
The Fox8 Community Baby Shower kicks off in just a few days, and I hope these stories encourage you to be a part of such a worthwhile event.  Drop off at any Triad area A Cleaner World.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How Often Should I Wash My Clothes


I am meticulous about our laundry.  I sort loads by color, fabric, and weight.  I examine all items so that I can catch places that need pre-treating.  I carefully measure out the detergent so as to not get too much, and I wash garments on the proper temperature and wash setting, using great care not to overload the machine.  My husband, on the other hand, let’s just say when he absolutely has to do laundry, he’s not that careful – and just leave it there.  According to Procter & Gamble, people do their laundry improperly by not sorting loads, overloading machines, and washing clothes too often.  They also went on to share results of a study that found 'the average American woman spends 7 to 9 hours a week in the laundry room, up from the 1960’s. This phenomenon is likely due to the singular wearing of garments and larger wardrobes.'

I would like to reduce the amount of time I spend on laundry, but more than that, I want to be sure what I’m putting on my body is clean.  So my question today is – how often should I wash that?
  • Bathing Suits – wash after each wearing.
  • Bath Towels – every 3 – 4 uses, making sure you hang it up between uses to dry.  
  • Pajamas – every 3 – 4 wearing.  Pajamas rub against your skin, and you are constantly shedding skin cells.  Sometimes skin cells contain microorganisms that could cause health issues.
  • Bed Sheets – weekly.  Click on bed sheets to learn why.
  • Underwear, socks, bras, t-shirts, tanks, camisoles, basically anything that rubs right next to your skin all day long – should be washed after every wearing.
  • Pants and jeans – usually after 2 wearing unless it is hot out, you’ve been sweating, or there is visible dirt.
  • Leggings and tights – wash after every wearing.
  • Suits – there’s simply not an easy answer for this one.  The short answer is it depends; it depends on the environment, how long you wore it, did you spill anything on it, and so on.  To learn more about suit care, click here.

Of course there will always be exceptions, but one thing does remain constant.  That is, if something you are wearing gets dirt on it, has something spilled on it, or is stained, don’t place it back in the closet; instead wash it or have it cleaned as soon as possible.  The longer a stain or spill sits on a garment, the more difficult it becomes to remove.  A Cleaner World is always here to help, so if you need assistance with a garment, just drop it by one of our locations.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Home Stain Removal

Over the years, we’ve shared a number of stain removal tips – from ice cream to mustard to strawberry jam, and we’ve tried to educate you on the different types of stains and knowing when to say when.  One thing we’ve said time and again is that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ stain remover.  And as much as I share all this information with you, I am always one to try to remove a stain at home before bringing it to A Cleaner World.  My husband would tell you that it’s because I don’t like to be beaten;  I’ll tell you that it’s the mom in me – you know, I try to fix everything.

The truth is that there have been many times I’ve looked at a stain and the fabric and immediately determined it was beyond me.  When it comes to instances like a stain over a really large area, delicate fabrics, and heavy-duty grease, I don’t bother.  But many small, every day, common stains can be removed at home, and we recommend that you follow these general guidelines before proceeding.
  • Address all stains as soon as possible to prevent the stain from setting into the fabric.
  • Always read the care label before trying any stain removal method or products.
  • If you’ve never made any stain removal attempts on the garment, be sure to test for colorfastness first.  Just apply a small amount of the agent to an unexposed area of the garment, let it stand for about five minutes, then rinse.  If there is no color change, then it’s fine to use the product.
  • Never rub a stain.  Doing so could cause the stain to be worked deeper into the fabric.  Instead of rubbing, blot the area to help remove the substance without causing it to spread.  Rubbing is especially a no-no when dealing with a silk garments.  In fact, I never care for silk at home.
  • After spotting and laundering the garment, check to see if the stain has been removed before placing the garment in the dryer.  The heat from the dryer can cause the stain to permanently set into the fabric.  If the stain is still there, repeat the cleaning process or bring it to us. 
  • Never iron a soiled garment or a garment with a stain.  Again, the heat from the iron could cause the stain to permanently set.
  • Be mindful of oil-based stains.  Many times they dry invisible, so you won’t even notice them when pre-treating in preparation for laundering.  With time or after cleaning, they tend to turn yellow or brown and become even more difficult to remove.
  • Avoid being overly aggressive when trying to remove stains at home; too many attempts can lead to color loss or damage to the garment. 
If you’ve made an attempt at home and cannot get the stain or spill to come out, drop it by one of our locations.  When you do, point out the stain and tell us about your removal attempts, and we’ll be glad to take it from there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cleaning Up After a Pet

In August, we welcomed this little girl into our family:


Her name is Macy, and she is a rescue dog.  The process to adopt a rescue dog through the organization we chose was a bit involved.  There was the application, the background check, the references, and then finally we started meeting dogs.  But the biggest hurdle was Matt; Gray and I had to do some tall talking to get him to agree to a pet.  One of his reasons for voting against a pet was the mess it would possibly create.  Knowing what a clean freak I am, he was worried that I would drive myself even crazier trying to keep our house spotless.

While it’s true that I am a clean freak, I actually think I’ve handled the addition of Macy’s messiness quite well, and I don’t think I’m having to clean more than I did before.  Here are some tips to keep your home clean while having pets.   
  • Stop dirt at the door.  We leave an old towel hanging on a hook in the mudroom, and we wipe her feet whenever she comes in. 
  • Grooming.  I read that brushing your dog a couple times a week can help reduce shedding.  Brushing your dog outside will keep you from having to clean up the mess inside and will also help with airborne allergens.
  • Cover your furniture.  Or better yet, keep your pets off the furniture.  I know that can be a challenge, but we’ve trained Macy to stay off the sofa.  I will admit, however, that if I’m going to be gone less than an hour, I’ll leave her out in the house instead of putting her in her kennel and will throw an old sheet over the sofa in case she’s tempted.  Also, if you have dog hair on your furniture, try using a lint roller to remove it.
  • Dust, vacuum, and mop regularly.  While it would make sense to vacuum and mop regularly as pets typically mean more mess on the floor; but pets also increase the amount of dust in our homes.  If I look carefully around, I can see a few Macy hairs on the side tables and piano in our living room.  Dust first and then clean your floors; some dust will end up on the floor and vacuuming or mopping will pick up the remainder.
  • Tackle accidents immediately.  We’ve actually addressed this issue before, so here are links to blog posts on how to clean up pet urine and pet poo.
One final tip – A Cleaner World recommends that you have your rugs professionally cleaned every 12 – 18 months to keep your rugs looking great, but if you have pets, and especially if your pets have had a few accidents, you may want to have your rugs cleaned a little more often.  If you have questions about this, please feel free to give Greg a call at 336-804-0045.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Storing Winter Clothes

Spring will officially be here in 5 days, and there is not a person in the world that’s happier about that than me.  Not only am I a warm weather person, I like spring and summer fashions way better than fall and winter.  But even though I don’t love my cold weather fare, I do want to keep them looking good for next season, so while we’ve discussed this before, we want to share reminders on how to properly store away out of season clothes so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises down the road.
  • Make all repairs, like sewing sagging hemlines, replacing missing or secure loose buttons, mending split seams, before washing or cleaning garments.
  • Be certain that everything has been washed or dry cleaned before putting it away.  Clear spills and invisible stains will darken with time, making them more difficult to remove later.  Plus, dirt, perspiration, body oils, and food or beverage spills are invitations to insects.
  • Never store garments in hot attics, damp basements, or garages.  Instead choose areas that are cool, well-ventilated, and free from natural and artificial light.  The ideal location would be a cool, dark closet.
  • If you store your garments in a closet, simply drape a sheet or cloth over your things to protect them from dust and light.  If you are storing your clothing in another climate controlled area, place wool garments in cedar chests or other airtight containers.  To keep pests away, place cedar chips or blocks inside containers.  Mothballs also discourage pests, but they can leave a strong odor on clothing. 
  • For things like suits and dresses, hang on good quality hangers and place inside of garment or canvas bags.  Never hang knit items because the weight of the garment on the hanger will lead to distortion.  Instead, fold things like knits and sweaters and wrap them in white tissue to help reduce wrinkles.  If you do choose to hang knits and sweaters, fold them over the cross bar of a strut hanger.  
If your home is like mine and is limited on storage space, you can always store your out of season garments at any A Cleaner World location.  To learn more about our storage service, click here.
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