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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Avoiding Kitchen Sink Problems During the Holidays

Are there certain things you’ve done in the past that someone won’t let you forget?  Well, I have several, and one that my dad will never let me forget is the time I poured melted Crisco down the drain.  I remember doing it though I no longer recall what I was thinking at the time.  I’d ask my dad, but I know he’d take the opportunity to poke fun at me – again.  He laughs about it now, but he was very unhappy with me in the moment.

Well, here is an interesting piece of information.  According to abc.com, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for residential plumbers.  The number one reason folks call -- kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals.  Plumbers are expensive.  Rates vary according to location, but I saw as low as $45 per hour to as much as $150 per hour.  So if you are hosting a gathering tomorrow, here are a few things to remember:

*Don’t pour grease down your drain. You’d think that would be an obvious one, but……
*Wipe greasy pots and pans with paper towel before washing to remove as much grease as possible.
*Be careful what you put down the disposal.  Stringy vegetables can’t be completely chopped up and the strings could wrap around the blades. 
*Be careful how much you put down the disposal.  A garbage disposal is great for small amounts of food, but it shouldn’t be used as a trashcan. 
*Make sure you are operating your disposal properly.  Run cold water while disposal is on.  Don’t turn off the disposal until the processing is complete.  Then let the water continue to run a bit longer to flush everything out.

Hopefully these tips will help you avoid a holiday disaster.  From all of us at A Cleaner World, Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Crayon Coat

In 2011, Laura took her first piece of dry cleaning to our A Cleaner World located at 2290 Ten Ten Road in Apex.  It wasn’t just any old ordinary piece of cleaning; it was a very special coat.  To be more specific, it was her child’s favorite coat, and it was placed in the dryer with three crayons. 

Now if you don’t know, crayon is one of the hardest stains to remove because it is a combination stain that includes both wax and dye.  The coat was so badly stained that initially she looked to purchase a replacement but was unable to locate a similar coat.  That’s when she asked Tim Rolle, Manager of the Apex location, along with three other drop stores in Chapel Hill, for help.

Tim carefully worked on this valuable garment for approximately four hours.  Because of the type of stain, he had to clean it in steps addressing it from three different angles – first the wax, then the stain, and finally the dye – while still preserving the integrity of the fabric.  That crayon was no match for Tim.  I’ve mentioned in a past blog post that Tim is incredibly precise, but I haven’t mentioned that he is also incredibly knowledgeable – being one of less than 100 dry cleaners in the US that has earned the Certified Garment Care Professional designation from the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute.

Tim said that when Laura picked up the coat, “she was positively shocked.  She thought the coat was unsalvageable.”  Since then, she has trusted Tim with everything from every day regular dry cleaning to precious family heirlooms.  In a recent Yelp review, Laura wrote:  “We remain grateful for his professionalism, expertise, and the customer care he gave us as our daughter will be wearing the coat again this fall, two years on since the crayon incident.”

As the mom of a young son, I completely understand the sentimental value associated with certain garments.  We have been known to have a few garment crises in our household.  Like Laura, I am also thankful for our managers and their care and expertise.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cleaning After the Flu

Ugh, the flu.  You know the symptoms – fever and chills, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, body aches.  The real kicker about the flu -- you can be laying completely still, and still your body just hurts all over.  I hate that.  And even though the peak of flu season is still over a month away, the flu is out and about creating havoc and hurt in lots of families.

According to webmd.com, between 5 – 20% of the U. S. population will get the flu.  So what happens if an individual your house gets the flu?  Someone else is going to have to help care for them.  What if that someone is you?  How will you keep from getting the flu?

Flu.gov has some excellent suggestions while your patient is ill, such as creating a sick room and confining that person to the sick room, dedicate one bathroom to the sick person, and so on.  But the bigger thing, I believe, is afterward.  Let’s be honest, if someone is sick then we’re all super careful around them.  But as soon as the symptoms subside, we let our guard down.  Remember, those germs are still hanging around in your house.

This is what I do in addition to normal cleaning and laundry if someone has been sick in our house:

*Make sure all the tissues are properly disposed (My husband has a habit of leaving them lying around) and disinfect where they were laying.
*Thoroughly clean and disinfect the bathroom(s) 
*Wipe down surfaces – bedroom, kitchen counters, etc. – along with light switches and door knobs with disinfectant.
*Wipe off any items – like toys and phones – that they touched.
*Wash all the bed linens, including the pillows.  We never sleep with the decorative comforter.  But if someone is sick, I fold it up and place it in the closet before they even hit the bed.  Everything else is washed before anyone sleeps on it again.

So far my strategy has worked, but what about you?  What cleaning rituals do you follow when someone has been sick in your home? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cleaning and Storing Halloween Costumes

I love piecing together homemade Halloween costumes.  It’s something my mom did for my sister and me.  I’ve always done it for Gray, and I have to admit that I’ve come up with some pretty cute costumes over the years.

This year Gray wanted to be a police officer, so I got online and took a look at some costumes.  As I went through his toys to see what he already had that I could use, he saw a picture of a ready-to-purchase costume and went crazy.  Matt heard the ruckus and before you know it, the two of them were lobbying me to buy it – and I caved.  Did I mention that it was $50?

With prices like that, I think more than one use is in order.  But like any garment, you should never store a costume away without cleaning it first.  Here are a few suggestions to help should you decide to get multiple uses out of your kid’s Halloween costumes:

•    Always wash or dry clean before placing in storage. Insects are attracted to drink, food, and perspiration.
•    Check the care label for cleaning instructions and follow them.
•    If you have questions about the fabric, instructions, or cleaning method, bring it in to one of our locations and let us examine it.  We’ll tell you if it is something we think you can clean at home, if it requires professional cleaning, or if it is considered a disposable costume.
•    Store costumes in a temperature controlled environment – never in a cold basement or hot attic.  Extreme temperatures can cause damage.

I checked the care label on Gray’s police costume – it’s a cotton/poly blend that can be machine washed in cold, tumbled dry on low, and pressed with a warm iron.  It is in the wash as we speak, and I will follow my own advice so that it can be used next year.  For more information on caring for Halloween costumes, check out our Helpful Hints section.
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