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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big Surprises About Dry Cleaning

When I first moved to Greensboro in 1993, I lived out by the airport so my first cleaning experience was at the A Cleaner World off Inman Road. I handed the CSR a pile of clothes, and she asked me, "Is it all dry cleaning? Do you have laundered shirts?" I had no idea what she was talking about.

Fast forward three years, and I was being hired by A Cleaner World to be their Controller/Office Manager. But before starting my position, Chris (Edwards, President) had me spend one month working in two different A Cleaner World locations. He believed it was important for me to really learn the business. He was right.

I learned so many fascinating things about dry cleaning, and here are my three favorite:

1. Dry cleaning isn't dry. A liquid solution called perchloroethylene or perc is used, and it is from the same family of cleaning agents used in household cleaners and swimming pools. A Cleaner World goes to great lengths to make sure it is handled properly. I could give you a long list of company guidelines but believe me when I tell you that I learned really quickly that A Cleaner World takes its environmental responsibility seriously.

2. Laundered dress shirts are pressed wet, and they dry during the pressing process. That's one of the reasons why they look so crisp and like new when you get them back from A Cleaner World as opposed to when you do them at home.

3. There's a machine that folds shirts. Well it's actually this apparatus that helps manually fold dress shirts so they look like you've just purchased them at the store. The shirts are wrapped around cardboard and placed in a plastic bag then stacked in a nice paper tote with a handle. I found myself loving it when a customer wanted their shirts folded.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We Check Pockets

You would think that I'd learn a lesson after doing something several times. Clearly I don't because I still forget to check the pockets of my husband's pants. I usually wash pants that have tissues in the pockets. Most recently I didn't check a pair of workout shorts, and I washed the ear buds to his i-pod.

After the ear bud incident and knowing our customer service representatives check the pockets on all garments when writing up orders, I began to wonder about some of the crazy things they have found. So I asked a couple of our district managers. Here are my top five favorite (printable):

#5 - Dried up worms in a child's pants pocket.
#4 - A small plush toy dog with a severed head.
#3 - A pile of cash - but the story is what I loved. The wife brought a jacket in to be cleaned. (The husband had been using the jacket pocket to save cash without his wife knowing.) The next morning the husband was sitting at the drive thru door when the manager got there at about 6:30 a.m. He told the manager and asked if we found it. He was white as a sheet. The manager had the money in a safe place and returned it to the husband. The man shook his hand 10 times after getting the money back, and he asked that we not tell his wife about the money. We're guessing he found a new hiding place.
#2 - A check for $40,000 - endorsed.
#1 - A bottle of Viagra. When it was returned to the customer (wife), she said "Oh gosh, I don't want to lose that. He doesn't even know he's taking it. I put it in with his other pills."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Cleaner World Saved My Shirt (and My Husband)

If you follow this blog, then you already know that several months ago my family and I relocated to Tennessee. We closed on our house in North Carolina at the end of March and weren't scheduled to close on our new house until the end of May. So we had to box up and temporarily store everything at two different locations. First of all shame on me for not following my own advice. But you know there is always a but -- but I did think all of my clothes were going to my parents completely finished climate controlled basement for roughly two months. I used boxes. Somehow two cardboard wardrobe boxes ended up in a barn in Tennessee -- in an area that happened to receive some heavy rains last spring.

I found out the day we moved into our new house that one box got wet and several garments were covered with mildew. I handled it really well until I saw that one special item. This shirt's value is completely sentimental -- it's merely a long sleeve white athletic hoodie with the Team in Training logo on the left chest. Now if anyone has run a marathon and raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor or memory of a loved one, then you know how emotional that experience is. The shirt represented that experience.

I tried everything to get it out and finally resigned myself to the fact that it was ruined, but I couldn't part with it so it went in the grunge clothes drawer. I recently pulled it out and decided to call Mike Smith, Vice President of Operations for A Cleaner World. After talking with Mike, I learned that mildew could be removed from certain types of fabrics.

Lucky for me I have a connection because I mailed him the shirt. He got the mildew out moving the shirt out of the grunge drawer and also moving my husband out of the dog house. Lucky for you folks in North Carolina and Virginia -- you have A Cleaner World right around the corner.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


When I think of velvet, I think two things - luxury and holidays. Velvet is a lavish, distinctive fabric that can be a bit problematic. Velvet was a very popular fabric in many designer lines this season, so we're guessing something velvet found its way into your closet. Here are a few things you might want to be aware of before you put your velvet items away for the season:

1. As with storing any garment, it is important that you store it clean. Most velvet fabrics cannot be cleaned at home. Before you wash your garment, carefully read the cleaning instructions. If it is marked 'dry clean only' don't attempt to clean it yourself.
2. When storing, always hang the garment on a quality padded hanger.
3. Never fold a velvet garment over a hanger bar. If you have no place to hang it, then roll it - don't fold. Do not store it for long periods using metal clips. Don't keep it crammed in a crowded closet. Any of these practices could result in matting, flattening, or distorting of the pile.
4. Do store it in a cool, dry location. Avoid storing your velvet items in your basement or attic, both of which contain high levels of damaging substances like moisture, dust, and mold.

Taking proper care of your velvet garments will ensure they'll be around for you to enjoy next season. Let us know if you have any questions.
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