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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.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Restoring Stuffed Animals after a Fire

On December 21st, when most of us were dealing with holiday festivities, the Watkins family was dealing with a tragedy – a home fire.  Thankfully they were out when it happened, but a fire started in their chimney and quickly spread to the attic, causing a fair amount of damage to the home but more importantly, a great deal of smoke and water damage to their personal items.  Jan said they lost a number of items but she estimated that about 50% of their stuff was salvageable.  Initially, she tried washing many of her everyday things in hot water only to find that caused shrinkage, so she and her husband, Thad – a Thomasville City Fireman, decided to take their nicer garments and textiles to the A Cleaner World in Thomasville, and they in turn sent them to our Fire Restoration Division.  Mike, of course, quickly cleaned much needed items and returned them to the family within two days, and he and his crew then continued working on the rest of their order.

Here’s where the story takes a sweet turn, for in the balance of their order was this little fellow.

In the photo above, he is on the way to our warehouse to be cleaned and made smoke-free.  Jan purchased him before their daughter Finlee was born just because he was soft and she liked him, and as Finlee grows, each month Jan takes her photo with the elephant to see Finlee’s progress.  Finlee is now 9 months old but has sadly missed two photos with the elephant because of their family tragedy.  Because this little guy is so important to the Watkins family, we’ve taken a special interest in him.  We also decided to take a few photos to show his family how he went from sooty and smelly to clean and fresh:

As we lovingly restored him back to his like-new condition, we kind of got attached to ‘the elephant’, so we started including him in our daily activities.  Here he is hard at work:

As you can see, he is very talented and capable.  We’ve had such a good time with this little guy, and we are happy to say that the Watkins family has the rest of their stuff and is doing quite well.  The community really rallied around them and helped them get set back up in a different place.  Jan is hopeful for the future.  She said their plans all along have been to save money and build a new home, and they are continuing on that path.  “The important thing is that we weren’t at home,” she went on.  “I could be sharing a different story if we had been.  But things can be replaced, and I now have a new understanding of what others in similar situations have been through.”

A Cleaner World Fire Restoration is so thankful that we were able to help the Watkins family and that they are on the road to returning to some normalcy.  “The Fire Restoration business is such a personal business,” said Mike Feudale, Manager of A Cleaner World’s Fire Restoration Division.  “Customers trust us to bring their intimate, personal things back to life, and we can’t begin to put into words just how much we appreciate the confidence folks like Jan and Thad and others put in our abilities and the treasures they allow us to care for.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Caring for Bedspreads

We only use our bed comforter for show; I purchased it solely because it went with a specific chair that I wanted to use in our bedroom.  Every night, I remove the comforter, fold it up, and lay it in the corner.  In the morning, I make the bed up and place the comforter back on, topping it with decorative pillows, and smile as I walk away because I like the way the room looks.  I take great care of this comforter because I don’t want to have to invest hours (again) in trying to find another one that goes so well with the room.  You’re thinking, just have it cleaned.  But the truth is that I’m concerned about shrinking and fading; even if I follow the care label and use the proper cleaning procedure, it could fade or shrink.  Why is that?  Many times, comforters are finished with a special glaze to give them a nice shine or are colored with dyes that are not colorfast to both dry cleaning and washing.  After they are cleaned, by either washing or dry cleaning, they may appear streaked, have an overall dull appearance, or experience light fading that is noticeable when place with matching items that haven’t been cleaned.  Then there’s the batting on the inside that can get clumpy. 

Sadly, comforters and quilts aren’t covered by the Care Label Rule, so how do you go about making sure they continue to look lovely over the years?  Look for quality when purchasing:
  • Check to make sure there is a care label and read the care instructions.
  • Find out if the bedspread has been preshrunk. If it wasn’t, then it could shrink even during an acceptable cleaning method, which could cause it to not fit properly and to look too small.
  • If you are thinking of purchasing a down or fiber-filled comforter, make sure they are well-quilted, with stitches that run both vertically and horizontally with quilting lines running about 8-10” apart.
  • Check to make sure the stitching is strong and secure.  Loose stitching will allow the filling to shift during cleaning.
  • Read the label to see what kind of batting the comforter uses; wool batting can shrink and distort if washed in a washing machine.
When caring for your bedspread or comforter:

  • Remember that light exposure over time will lead to color fading.
  • Clean any spots or spills immediately to prevent them from becoming permanent.
  • Before washing or having items cleaned, make sure there are no loose stitches, cuts, or tears.  When a quilted item gets wet, it gets heavy and small imperfections can turn into larger ones.
  • Follow the instructions on the care label.  If there is no care label, take it to a professional.
  • Wash or have all matching items cleaned together to ensure they will continue to look uniform.
  • If you are concerned about color loss, take it to a professional so they can test an inconspicuous area to see if it might possibly fade.
  • Bedspreads and comforters that are filled with heat-sensitive fibers can pucker or shrink during the cleaning process or if the items was not preshrunk, even if the instructions are followed exactly.  A professional dry cleaner can test an inconspicuous area to see if this could happen to your bedding. 
The bottom line is that if you are in doubt, check with a professional dry cleaner.  A Cleaner World has 32 locations throughout North Carolina and Virginia, and we would be happy to take a look at your bedding and offer advice or simply just take care if it for you so that you don’t have to worry about it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Commercial Apron Service

My husband and I prefer to frequent locally-owned restaurants instead of large chain restaurants for a number of reasons – to support our neighbors, to enjoy one-of-a-kind recipes, to receive personalized service, and to enjoy a unique experience.  Matt tends to go for ‘Dive’ type places, where I look at those and immediately wonder what their cleanliness grade is.  So many times, he will check out a place before me to make sure it is ‘Barb approved’.  What’s that, you ask?  Barb doesn’t approve of restaurants with dirty floors, unclean tables, and unkempt wait staff.

The thing is – I don’t care a bit about fancy, but I do want to enjoy my unique, delicious meal in a clean environment.  When a server shows up at my table with stains on their uniform, or I see a disgusting towel being used to clean a table, my appetite immediately disappears.
I cook a lot – really, and everything is from scratch.  There’s no such thing as cutting corners in my kitchen.  I always wear an apron when I cook, so I know, just in my own personal kitchen, how difficult it can be to remove food stains.  To clean commercial towels and aprons, it takes more than just spraying on some grocery-store spotter and then throwing them into the washing machine.  Commercial towels and aprons are subjected not only to incredibly difficult stains but to a lot of them.  It takes experience, skill, and the right supplies and equipment to restore these types of linens back to their like-new condition.

There’s so much involved with running a restaurant – from ordering food and supplies to managing wait staff to cooking food and handling customers, it can be a bit overwhelming.  Why would you want to add uniform, commercial apron, and towel cleaning to all of that?  Not only can A Cleaner World Commercial Services lighten the load for your restaurant so that you can concentrate on the parts of the business you enjoy, we can also help improve your restaurant’s image.  Just imagine your servers arriving at customer’s tables with a clean, smooth uniform or apron, and your busboys using fresh, clean, sanitized, stain-free towels to wipe tables.  Not only will items look clean, they’ll be clean thanks to our state-of-the-art cleaning process which includes washing in bacteria destroying hot water temperatures and adding bleach to rinse cycles to guarantee cleanliness and safety.   Restaurants that use A Cleaner World Commercial Services are definitely ‘Barb approved’; Matt would have no trouble convincing me to eat at one of those places.

If your restaurant needs help caring for uniforms, commercial aprons, and towels, just call Scottie Springer at 870-6299 or 992-0700 to find out how our service can help you. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thanks for Donating

Give A Kid A Coat wrapped up its 30th campaign on Saturday after collecting, cleaning, and distributing 20,576 coats.  But I don’t think of it quite that way; I think of it as 20,576 kids and adults that will stay warm this winter thanks to you.  So thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to check your closets.  Thank you for dragging your kids into the mudroom to make them try on coats, which I know can be like pulling teeth.  Finally, thank you for driving to one of our locations to drop off coats.  Give A Kid A Coat starts with you.  If you don’t bring us coats, then we can’t do our part. 

Of course, I cannot forget to thank our staff for the extra hours they put in to make sure the coats are clean and ready for The Salvation Army when they come to pick up. 

The folks at The Salvation Army do just a terrific job organizing the coats and making the distribution process go so smoothly.

Finally, a big shout out to our friends at Fox 8, 1075KZL, and Rock 92 for sharing important details and keeping everyone up-to-date on what’s going on with the campaign.  Give A Kid A Coat is definitely a group effort, and if one piece is missing, then it simply doesn’t work.  But I think that photos say so much more than words do, so perhaps this will convey what I’m trying to say.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Caring for Scout Uniforms

While my son Gray loves being a Cub Scout, he’s really looking forward to being a Boy Scout.  He says it’s because he wants to help the younger kids, but I think there’s a part of him that wants even more bling and a new uniform.  He really likes all the regalia.

This is his fourth year in Cub Scouts, and he’s finally moved into a beige shirt.  Over the years, I’ve learned a little bit about caring for these uniforms.  They’re not difficult to care for, but here are a few things I’ve learned:
  • Don’t waste your money on peel and stick adhesives for the patches.  They say it will stay on during washing, but trust me – it doesn’t.  If you want the patches to stay on permanently, they need to be sewn on.  I’ve tackled that before, but it can be a daunting job.  If you’re not a gifted or patient sewer, you could always ask A Cleaner World to do it.
  • Be sure to wash and iron garments before applying badges.  If you are unsure exactly where the badges need to be placed, check out this guide
  • Before washing, check the care label.  Newer uniforms have instructions but here’s how I went about caring for Gray’s uniform shirt: When washing, especially the navy Class A garments, make sure you remove all pins, turn the garment inside, and wash in cold water.  This will help both protect the badges and reduce the chances of fading, which the navy shirts tend to do pretty easily.  Hang the garment up to air dry.  This again helps protect the badges and reduce fading, then press out the wrinkles with a warm iron if the care label indicates the garment can withstand ironing. 
A Cleaner World has a long history with the Scouts – our President, Chris Edwards, is an Eagle Scout as is his son, Grant.  While we love taking care of all your garments and textiles, we especially love helping out with two things: the American Flag and Scout uniforms!  If you have a Scout uniform question or have one that needs special attention, just stop by one of our locations.  We are always happy to help.
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