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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Check Your Smoke Detectors

Just last week, Gray and I heard a beeping sound from upstairs.  Gray told Matt, who replaced the batteries in the smoke detector a day or two later.  The truth is, that’s the only time we change the batteries.  But according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, smoke detectors should be checked at least once a month and batteries should be changed at least twice a year.

With next month being National Fire Prevention Month, I thought it would be a good time to remind us all (me included) on how importance this is.  After all, according to the Red Cross, a working smoke alarm almost cuts in half the likelihood of dying in a fire.

Allstate.com also suggests testing your smoke detectors at least once a month and recommends following these steps for testing:

• Be sure to inform family members that you will be conducting a test.
• Station a family member in the house at the furthest point away from the detector.  I would also suggest that you shut any doors if applicable.
• Follow the manufacturer’s directions on testing the alarm.  If the sound is weak or if it has been six months since the batteries have been replaced, go ahead and replace the batteries.
• Test the detector with real smoke as well.  Light a candle and then blow it out underneath the detector.  If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace the batteries and test again.

The maintenance doesn’t end there.  The Environmental Protection Agency also recommends that smoke detectors be replaced every ten years or sooner if the manufacturer’s instructions indicate a shorter life span.

All this sounds to be a tedious little task – just one more thing to add to your ‘to do’ list.  But the National Fire Protection Association reports that almost 60% of reported home fire deaths from 2007 – 2011 resulted from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  They also said that when a smoke alarm doesn’t operate, it is usually because the batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.  Those facts make this tedious little task seem not so trivial now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Men’s Dress Shirts

My husband likes his dress shirts to be stiff – so stiff that they can stand in the corner on their own.  In a pinch, I’ll have to iron one at home.  He’s not crazy when that happens because I can’t seem to get them remotely close to what he likes.  But recently, after dropping off some shirts at A Cleaner World, he commented that they weren’t stiff enough.  I inquired and learned something new.

Matt has taken to buying a 70% cotton and 30% polyester blend for his dress shirts.  I asked him why he’s settled on this shirt as of late.  He’s sure there is a reason, but he can’t remember.  After talking to Mike Smith, our Vice President of Operations, I learned that the fabric blend was the reason the shirt wasn’t getting stiff enough for Matt’s taste.  I like having things boiled down to the bottom line, so here’s the takeaway from my lesson:

• The starch we use is based on a vegetable byproduct that is dried then mixed with water.
• The thickness and weight of fabric determines how much starch the shirt will hold.
• Heavyweight 100% cotton shirts are the only shirts that can be heavily starched.
• Oxford weaves will allow for heavier starching than finer pinpoints.
• Polyester, a man-made synthetic fiber, will not absorb or hold starch the way 100% cotton will.  Starch cannot bind with polyester fibers so you will never get a stiff shirt.
• Even if the shirt is a blend, it won’t hold the starch like a 100% cotton dress shirt will.

We will finish your shirts however you’d like but keep in mind that what the shirt is made of determines the final outcome.  If you have questions or concerns about your laundered dress shirts, just connect with us below or stop by one of our locations.  We are here to help.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Removing Mildew Smell From Clothes

My husband is so thoughtful.  He came up with another blog post for me – by leaving a load of towels in the washing machine for a week.  I walked into the laundry room after being gone and saw that the washing machine door was closed, and I knew what I was in for.  I opened the door and that funky mildew smell smacked me right in the face.  I examined them.  There was no evidence of mold.  But just because I couldn’t see it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there -- especially if the fabric is dark.

I suspect that I’m not the only person that’s had to deal with this.  So what do you do if this happens in your household?  Just rewashing won’t do the trick.  Once the item gets wet again, the smell will return.  Below are three tips from our resident expert, Mike Feudale.

• If it happens to be white undergarments, rewash in chlorine bleach using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.  You can also put 3% hydrogen peroxide on the area, wipe it clean, and rewash.  Either way, dry the items outside in the sunlight. Fresh air and direct sunlight eliminate mildew.
• If they are color clothes or towels, try adding a small box of baking soda to the wash.  Be sure to hang outside in the sunlight to dry as well.  To avoid the possibility of fading, turn the items inside out.  Obviously if they are towels, there’s no turning inside out.  But the fading will be minimal.
• If it is a delicate or special item bring it to A Cleaner World, even if it is white.  Sometimes chlorine bleach can damage the optical brightness of white causing yellowing.

We hope these tips prove helpful should you have a mildew load.  But if it happens and you need help, feel free to call one of our locations or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Types of Commercial Floor Mats

On a recent visit to our Commercial & Uniform Services Division, I got a glimpse of some really cool supplies.  I was particularly fascinated with our huge assortment of floor mats – all the colors, sizes, and varieties.  I had lots of questions, so Mike Feudale, Manager of both A Cleaner World Fire, Smoke, and Water Restoration Services and A Cleaner World’s Commercial and Uniform Division, gave me a lesson.

Logo Mats -- First impressions are so important.  That’s why Oliver Diesel & Auto Repair choses to place this logo mat inside their front door.

But this mat isn’t just for looks.  It serves a much higher purpose.  Did you know that according to nsc.org (National Safety Council), falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the US, accounting for 8.9 million visits to the emergency room?  And the Healthy Facilities Institute shares on their website that 85% of all soil enters a building on the feet of building occupants.  This mat does so much more than display Oliver’s logo or match their d├ęcor.  It protects both the building and those that enter it.  These logo mats are made of incredibly durable nylon – solution dyed so they won’t fade, heat set into rubber so they won’t crack, and have a crush resistant pile so they won’t look worn – and can capture 80% of the dust and dirt that enters through the front door.  They also work well in inclement weather by holding several gallons of water.  Further, they are slip-resistant so they can help prevent slips and falls.

Raised Scraper Mats -- While our logo mats work well on their own, our customers like to pair them up with this raised scraper mat.

It is designed to be placed right outside the front door so that folks can scrape and remove dirt, debris and snow from the bottoms of their shoes.  “Scraper mats are a great barrier to keep dirt from going through the front door in the first place, removing up to 50% of the soil on the soles of those that enter,” explained Mike.  “Just think how tidy a business could stay by utilizing both these mats.”  But here’s one really cool feature about this mat – it can be flipped over and used at any employee work station as an anti-fatigue mat to create a more comfortable work environment.  I should also add that they are made of 100% rubber so they are very durable and have beveled edges so there will be no tripping.

Wet Area Mats – These mats are perfect for restaurant kitchens or behind bars because water goes right through the circle holes and stays trapped.  Then at the end of business hours, remove the mats, clean the floor, and place them back down for the next business day.  These mats also have anti-fatigue properties, but more importantly they help prevent slips and falls.  And they too are made of 100% rubber and have beveled edges.
I couldn’t believe how much I learned about mats in a quick 20-minute lesson.  And I have to admit that I was a bit jealous.  I’d love to figure out how to get my hands on some for use at my own home.  If only I could keep my family from tracking so much dirt in……  But if you have a business in the Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem area and a need, just call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299.  He will be glad to stop by and help you figure out exactly what you need – even if it is only for certain times of the year – and how to make it fit your budget. 
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