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Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Nemesis – The Dry Erase Marker

Why a teacher would allow a bunch of 7 year olds to sit on the floor with dry erase boards and markers to do group work is beyond me.  It is probably because she doesn’t have to do their laundry.  Back in February, I shared with you how I let dry erase marker get the best of me by ruining another one of Gray’s shirts.   Well three days in a row, Gray came home covered in dry erase marker – seriously with multiple colors and on the back of his shirts too.  So now I was looking at ruining three more shirts and a pair of khakis.

The first day I started my ritual of pre-spotting and washing.  When I pulled the shirt out of the washer and saw the marks still there, I stopped.  Not this time.  I laid the shirt aside and planned on sending it with Matt on his next trip to Greensboro.  Then three more pieces came in, and they all went in the pile.  I know we’ve shared that the sooner you address stains, the easier they are to remove.  Oh, and yes we do have dry cleaners in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee.   But I’ve worked for A Cleaner World since 1996.  I know the training our master drycleaners receive.  I also know how much care goes into each garment.  So I waited.

Matt dropped off the four pieces at our Golden Gate location and talked to the manager, Bryan Cabler.  Matt told Bryan what was on the garments, and Byan replied, “We can get that out.”  He did, but he had to work hard on the stains – and there were lots of them.

I was amazed when I saw the clothes.  These pictures don’t do justice to the amount of marker Bryan had to deal with.  Marker is one of the harder stains to get out.  In fact, Bryan told me he thought car grease was easier to remove than this. 

So I’d like to end with my two takeaways from this big adventure.  First, know your limits.  For instance, I know I can get out grass stains.  I know I cannot get out marker.  I’m not going to risk ruining a shirt over pride.  I’m just going to send it to my expert.  Second, if you get something on your clothes, be sure to tell the CSR at drop off.  Bryan told me that knowing the stains helped him use the proper spotting agent from the start.  That made this monumental task just a bit easier.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I find that my raincoat is really more than just a raincoat.  It has become this multi-functional item in my wardrobe that also works well on cool days and for a nice evening out.  I actually have two, but my favorite one is a knee length traditional black London Fog coat.  But I’ve seen, and actually have been tempted to purchase, more trendy options.  Today’s raincoats come in a variety of fabrics and colors and often sport special trims like fur and suede.

Your raincoat, just like any other garment, has special cleaning needs too.  While some raincoats can be laundered at home, others must be dry-cleaned.  Before cleaning your raincoat, be sure to read the manufacturer’s care label.  Here are a couple more things to keep in mind with regards to your raincoat:

·         Most traditional raincoats are made of tightly woven smooth cotton or cotton blend fabrics.  Brushed cotton is sometimes used to create a softer, more natural look.  This fabric tends to show abrasion more readily during wear than the more traditional options. If you have a brushed cotton raincoat, keep an eye on areas around the collar, cuffs, elbows, and seams as they may become chafed or develop light areas with continued use.  The wear may appear more prominently on darker color coats.
·         Waterproofing and water repellent finishes are not the same thing.  Raincoats that go through the waterproofing process during manufacturer get a rubber coating applied to the reverse side of the coat.  Water repellent coats receive a finish on the outside of the coat.  Over time this finish gets weak and needs to be reapplied, and A Cleaner World can actually reapply water repellent for you.
·         Rainwear is often made more fashionable by treating the outer fabric with urethane coating, giving the garment a very smooth, slick leather-like appearance. These coatings are often hard to distinguish from real leather unless extensive testing is done.
·         Always make sure your raincoat is completely dry before putting it away.  Wet or damp clothes that are put away may mold.  Clothes made of cotton or other organic materials make great food sources for mold and mildew to live on.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Confessions of an Over Packer

I’m an over packer.  I just can’t help myself.  I’m so bad about it that I even over pack to visit my parents knowing that I will do laundry and wear at least one thing from my mom’s closet while there.  My over packing issue typically isn’t a problem; my car has a trunk the size of a Cadillac.  Unless we are loading the car for our annual family vacation; then it is a problem.

There are so many articles out there offering advice on how to travel lighter.  There are things like: pack simple garments that you can mix and match and try to avoid packing things like hairdryers and electric razors.  But if I’m being completely honest, I’m not a mix and match kind of girl, and I like using my own hairdryer.  So here are a couple of things that I’m going to try to make the car less cramped this trip:

  •       Plan to do a couple of loads of laundry.  If the place we are staying offers laundry services, then bonus.  But if not, I will seek out a Laundromat and do a few loads of things like undergarments and running clothes.  It will only take a small amount of time, and it will beat having to hold a suitcase on my lap for 8 hours while riding in the car.
  •       Use travel size toiletries.  If I were to do that, I’d go from a large tub (seriously it is a tub) for makeup and toiletries to a small folding makeup bag.  If I run out, I will simply hit a Walgreens -- there’s one on every corner. 
  •       I won’t take so many toys.  I can work a bit ahead and then stay connected on my iPad, which is considerably smaller than a laptop.  Plus my books will be loaded onto my iPad.  More space saved.
  •       Finally, I won’t pack to capacity.  I will get over the fact that there will be empty space in my suitcase.  Just because it is there doesn’t mean I have to fill it.  Besides dirty clothes always seem to be bigger than the same items that are clean.  Plus I’m certain I will buy a thing or two.  Saving room for it in my suitcase means that Matt won’t have to make room for it somewhere else, and that will make for a happy Matt.
Vacation season is almost upon us.  How do you keep from over packing?  We'd love to know.  Just leave a comment below or on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Benefits of Line Drying Clothes

My parents (especially my mom) always go out of their way to make our trips home special.  My dad typically smokes ribs for me.  My mom always makes some gooey chocolate dessert.  They shower Gray with gifts.  But the one thing I love the most – sheets that have been hung out to dry.  On the first night of every visit, I push my face into the pillow case and take in a deep breath of that wonderful smell.  As long as it is above freezing, she’ll hang sheets out for me.

When we moved into our house three years ago, I was thrilled to see a clothes line.  I guess that’s the one benefit of living out in the middle of nowhere.  But I still seem to throw my sheets in the dryer.  Habit I guess.  But there are so many benefits besides the wonderful smell to line drying your clothes.  Here are just a few:
  • It’s cheaper.  That’s an easy one – free sunlight versus running your dryer.  According to EECA energywise, an average load costs around a dollar to dry. 
  • Your grandmother was right.  Sunshine can function as a brightener.  Let it brighten up your dingy whites.
  • Air drying can prevent static cling. According to tide.com, ‘electric dryers produce static electricity by rubbing clothes over each other repeatedly.’ No dryer equals no static.
  • It conserves energy and benefits the environment.  It’s the ultimate green laundry.

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