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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

After the Holidays Cleanup

I always feel a bit of a letdown after the holidays are over.  I spend so much time preparing for and looking forward to them, and I consider that the fun part, that when they are over, all that’s left is the cleanup.  I find that to be not quite as fun.  But actually, it’s pretty important because it can make things much easier.

Here are two things we do each year after the party is over:

1.    Use great care when taking down your tree and storing your decorations.  It’s tempting to wad the lights up and shove everything in a box, but next year you’ll be thanking yourself that you took the time to do it properly.  We keep our lights in order by wrapping each strand around squares of cardboard.  I read somewhere that empty wrapping tube papers work well for this too.  For our ornaments, we wrap them up in used Christmas wrapping paper, place them in a plastic tub in layers using either previously used tissue paper or old newspaper between the layers for extra protection, and store them in a climate controlled storage room off of our bonus room.

2.    New stuff comes in, old stuff goes out.  We have too much, and others don’t have enough so we started something a while back where we donate an item every time a new one comes in.   During the year when it’s here and there, I keep a box in my trunk and then stop by The Salvation Army when it gets full.  After Christmas, where the grandparents and Santa go overboard, we have a 1-to-1 ratio party and then make a large run to The Salvation Army.  There’s something rather freeing about getting rid of stuff.  Plus items that are donated to The Salvation Army are sold in their Family Thrift Stores, and those funds go toward the many services and programs they provide.  If you don’t have a Salvation Army location near you, you can always drop off your no longer needed items at any A Cleaner World location.  We will make sure the folks at The Salvation Army get those items.

Invest the time and give it a try.  It may take a bit of time to reap the rewards, but I promise it’s worth it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meet Derrick Welch

If you are an A Cleaner World Commercial Services customer, then you recognize this face.

This is Derrick Welch, Route Service Representative for our Commercial Services Division.  Derrick has been with A Cleaner World for three years now and has become the face for all things uniform and business-supply related.  When Mike Feudale, Manager of A Cleaner World’s Commercial Services division, was interviewing for this position, he said there were several terrific candidates.  “But there was something about Derrick,” he explained.  “Not only did he have such great experience, he also had a super-positive, can-do attitude.  I knew he’d be such an asset to our team.”

He was right.  Derrick hit the ground running on day one and hasn’t stopped since.  He typically arrives at the office between 6:00 -6:30 a.m., where the van is already loaded and waiting for him thanks to his teammates Austin and Heather.  He checks his paperwork and then takes off to start his day, usually servicing around 45-50 customers a day.  There’s no one typical stop; each one has its own custom plan, and Derrick performs a range of services from exchanging out uniforms to installing dispensers.  When we spoke, he jokingly admitted to being a bit OCD, so helping a business stay clean and organized is right up his alley.  And while he’s a busy guy with a lot of stops, he always takes the time to check in with his customers – because of everything he does, that’s the thing he loves the most.  “I love interacting with and talking to our customers,” he said.

“Customers love Derrick,” said Scottie Springer, Customer Service Manager for A Cleaner World’s Commercial Division.  “First, he’s incredibly prompt – you can set your clock by him.  He’s also reliable, responsive, always smiling, can anticipate a customer’s needs but doesn’t try to take advantage of them.  Basically he’s an all-around nice guy.”  I asked both Mike and Scottie for feedback from customers, especially on times where he’s gone above and beyond.  They agreed that he goes above and beyond for every single customer.  Derrick does things like running back by a stop on his way home because a customer needed something extra.  He takes ownership of problems and stays on them until they are resolved.  But most of all, he takes exceptional pride in what he does.  So then I asked Derrick if he could think of times where he went above and beyond and really surprised a customer.  “That’s what I try to do with every single customer,” he replied.  “I have good relationships with all our customers, and I like to provide service beyond expectation.”

Exceptional service from an exceptional employee.  If your Greensboro, High Point, or Winston-Salem business has a need, I am sure Derrick would love to add your place to his list of stops.  Just call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299, and he will stop by to help you get started.  Then you can look forward to experiencing what our current customers already enjoy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Potential Fire Hazard

Holidays mean guests and sometimes lots of them.  Odds are that, if you have guests in and out over the next few weeks, someone will be a smoker.  Now, this is not meant to be a blog putting down smokers.  A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning wants to help you keep your home safe by pointing out a potential smoking-related fire hazard.  We are aware of this hazard because not too long ago, we helped a family in Boone recover from a home fire.  The cause – a cigarette that wasn’t fully extinguished.

Typically in a house of non-smokers, guests that are smokers are often relegated to a designated area just outside.  Hosts try to make the area as comfortable as possible, making the area many times off a back patio or the like.  But the area isn’t manned or heavily populated, so when a cigarette isn’t fully extinguished, it can go unnoticed for a long period of time.  That’s exactly what happened in this instance.

The house was built into the side of the hill, so from the front of the house you entered at the main level but at the back of the house you could walk out the basement, where if you looked up, you could see two more levels.  A cigarette was placed in an ashtray near some trim on the house at the basement ground level.  It didn’t completely go out, so the ashtray caught fire, it spread to the trim, traveled up to the deck on the main floor, then to the deck on the top floor, and it ultimately burned up the back half of the house.

While smoking outside does reduce the chance of a home fire, we would like to offer some additional tips so that you and your family won’t have to experience such a tragedy.

  • Make sure to put your cigarette out all the way every time before leaving the area.
  • Offer ashtrays for your guests.  Place them on something sturdy away from your house that won’t ignite, like a metal table or concrete bench.
  • Make sure the ashtray is stable and has a wide base so that it won’t tip over.  An excellent ashtray option is a coffee can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
  • After the party is over, give the area a walk through to make sure everything is as it should be.
One last thought, make it a habit to regularly check your smoke detectors.  Now go safely enjoy the rest of your Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Caring for your Christmas Tree

Did you know that Thomas Edison created the very first strand of electric lights in 1880?  Unfortunately, they didn’t really catch on for Christmas trees until 1917 when a young man named Albert Sadacca suggested that his family’s store start selling brightly colored strands of Christmas lights.  So how did they light their Christmas trees before 1917?  Well they would just use candles – which ultimately led to many home fires.

That practice seems incredibly silly to us today; we’d never dream of placing a burning candle anywhere close to a dried-out tree.  Yet we make other choices that put our homes at risk for fire – things like leaving Christmas lights on while we’re gone or asleep, failing to regularly water our Christmas trees, and connecting too many lights together on one strand.

Mike Feudale with A Cleaner World’s Restoration Dry Cleaning Division wants you to have a safe and happy Holiday Season, so he offers the following suggestions:
  • Select the freshest tree you can find.  It is ideal to purchase a tree that is still growing and cut it yourself, but unfortunately that isn’t an option for the majority of us.  If you are like me and have to purchase your tree pre-cut from a lot, make sure it is still healthy.
  • Before taking your tree inside, choose a location away from heat sources and direct sunlight.  It’s a good idea to place some plastic sheeting down underneath the stand to catch any water that might drip onto your rug or carpet when watering. 
  • Take your tree and repeatedly drop the trunk on an outdoor surface several times so that any old, dry needles can fall off.
  • Next, be sure to give it a fresh cut.  A Christmas tree that has sat on a lot for several days has a clogged vascular system.  Just cutting off ¼ inch off the bottom removes the clogs and opens the vascular system up, allowing it to soak up water once again.  It’s ok to cut more if you need to.
  • Once it is inside and situated, it’s ready to decorate.  Before placing them on your tree, make certain your lights are in good condition.  Never use light strands with frayed cords, and be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions as to how many strings you can connect together.  Also, avoid overloading your outlets.
  • Fill the tree stand with water as soon as possible after you give the tree a fresh cut.  While your tree is up, check its water level twice a day, making sure it never runs out of water.
  • Always unplug your Christmas tree’s lights and all other holiday decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Finally, make sure your smoke detectors are in working order.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.  Have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Crazy Christmas Sweater Contest

Do you remember that scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary where Mark Darcy turns around to reveal that he’s wearing a crazy but cute Christmas sweater?  Apparently that helped prompt our current and long-standing fascination with the Ugly Christmas Sweater.  In fact, the fascination is so big that folks throw parties dedicated to this garment.

A Cleaner World doesn’t want to miss out on all this crazy Christmas sweater fun, so we’ve decided to have a contest.  After all, we are in the garment care business, and your Christmas sweater, with all its bells and embellishments, needs proper care too.  So, we’re having a Crazy Christmas Sweater Contest, and here’s how it will work:
  • Snap a photo of yourself wearing your Crazy Christmas Sweater.  What qualifies as crazy?  It can be exceptionally colorful, overly embellished, have crazy buttons, be a vest, and so on.  If it is holiday-related and fun, we’d like to see it.
  • E-mail the photo along with your name and phone number to wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com
  • We will choose one submission at random each week between now and Christmas Eve, and award those people with $50 free cleaning from A Cleaner World. 
  • Sweaters not chosen will remain in the selection pool throughout the contest.
  • At the end of the contest, December 24, we will choose what we think is the best Crazy Christmas Sweater and award that person with a grand-prize of $100 free cleaning from A Cleaner World.
  • The contest begins today, December 1 and concludes on Thursday, December 24. 
  • Photos sent may be posted on A Cleaner World’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts.
  • Now let the fun begin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meet Heather Taylor, Manager of A Cleaner World Brandon Avenue in Roanoke

Heather Taylor grew up at A Cleaner World – literally.  In fact, many of her current customers remember the store’s marquee sign announcing her arrival into the world.  That’s because her dad is Mike Taylor, Managing Partner of A Cleaner World Roanoke.  Heather has fond memories of her time growing up in a dry cleaning family – things like being pushed around the store in clothes buggies and helping sort hangers.  When she got a bit older, she started working Saturdays and during summer break.

Apparently she’d had enough of the dry cleaning industry, because her last words before leaving for college were, “I’ll never go into the dry cleaning business.”  Famous last words that have now become a standing family joke.  Shortly after graduating from college, the Brandon Avenue location needed a manager, and Heather was presented the opportunity to join the A Cleaner World team.  “Even though I never saw myself working here again after college,” said Heather, “I’m happy to have been given this opportunity.  I’m not someone that could sit in front of a computer all day.  I love the variety, and my favorite part of my job is interacting with customers and really getting to know them.”  Four years later, she’s going strong.

Like so many of our managers, Heather receives such satisfaction from solving a problem for a customer.  For instance, she had a bride come in with a wedding gown that was stained at the bottom with red clay mud.  Apparently she had gotten caught in the rain during her bridal pictures – which were taken before the wedding.   Her wedding was only a couple weeks away.  Heather immediately got to work on her dress and was able to return it to her within the week.  “It felt really good to see the smile on her face,” said Heather.

Whenever I get a chance to talk to one of our managers, I like to pump them for garment care advice.  It always amazes me how much they know.  Heather shared two tips.  First, she recommends using caution when spotting your clothes yourself.  Tide pens, for instance, make it really difficult to remove a stain especially if they are used on a dry clean only garment.  Second, the biggest misconception floating around is that hair spray removes ink.  It doesn’t.  In fact, it just moves the ink around and then sets the stain in the fabric.  But with all their knowledge, our managers can still face challenges.  Heather’s biggest stain challenge was wing sauce on a white and navy stripped silk dry clean only dress.  Never fear, even wing sauce can be removed with the right knowledge, process, and persistence.  After several days, the dress was as good as new.  “I put a lot of heart and effort into my store,” stated Heather.  “I hope my customers see that.”

If you are in the Roanoke area and don’t know Heather, stop by her store and say hello.  She’s there waiting for you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Most of us think of insects simply as pests, ones that we smoosh with a tissue or swatter and then place in the trash.  But some pests, like moths, are difficult to see, and the first indication that they’ve descended upon your home is when you discover damage to a garment.  How do you know if you have a moth problem?  Besides the obvious holes in your clothes, they leave webbing, cocoons, and droppings.

How do you prevent a moth infestation?

It’s actually pretty easy -- simply remove their food source by doing these two things.  First, clean and vacuum thoroughly – and not just areas that everyone sees.  But you also need to be sure to vacuum your closet regularly, paying special attention to use the attachment to reach corners, along baseboards, and remove any dust on shelves.  Second, never put away dirty clothes.  Even if it doesn’t appear to be dirty, moths find invisible stains, body oils, and perspiration and will feed on it.  Always, always, always clean your clothes before putting them away.

For added measure, you can use cedar in your closet.  Hang wool garments on cedar hangers or fill sachet bags with cedar chips and place them in your closet.  One side note, while moth balls are also effective, they have a strong smell, and it tends to linger on your clothes.

What do you do if you have a moth infestation?

Find the source and start cleaning.  Thoroughly vacuum the area as well as wash down surfaces like floors, ceilings, and shelves.  After the cleaning is done, be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag and thoroughly clean any supplies used before putting them away.  If your infestation is really severe, you may want to call a professional exterminator.

Immediately wash or dry clean all garments in the infested area, making sure that you don’t move the clothes around your house.  This could cause the moths to infiltrate other parts of your home.  While we normally recommend that you follow care label directions on your clothes, in this instance we suggest you launder your clothes in water that is over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, if the garment can withstand it.  If you opt to have your garments dry cleaned, be sure to mention your moth infestation the A Cleaner World drop off.  View our locations here

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veteran’s Day

I’ve always been interested in history, but lately I’ve been on a kick of reading books only about World War II.  I find myself being fascinated with not only that era but also with the selflessness and bravery of the men and women that served.  My grandpa was a Veteran of World War II, earning a Bronze Star Medal.  I’d like to say I know a lot about his tour, but I could never really get him to talk much about it.  The books I’ve been reading paint such a vivid picture of the kinds of things he had to endure.  But his generation isn’t the only generation to exhibit selflessness and bravery.  Anyone that currently serves or that has served in our military shows those characteristics as well, and while we recognize and appreciate the sacrifice and courage, it’s hard to really put it into words.

Offering to clean a few military uniforms at no charge seems like such a small thing to do compared to what a U. S. Soldier does.  Calvin Coolidge once said that “The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”  Cleaning those uniforms is our small way to make sure we never forget our defenders.  So on this Veteran’s Day, drop off your military uniforms.  We’ll clean two per family at no charge, and we’ll consider it an honor to do so.   Just drop off at the location nearest to you, and thank you for your service.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Peanut Butter Stains

Did you know that there is pretty much some sort of holiday every day?  While there are some terrific ones in November like Veteran’s Day and World Kindness Day, there are some crazy ones too.  For example in November alone there’s Deviled Egg Day, Chaos Never Dies Day, Have a Bad Day Day – just to name a few.  If that’s not enough, somewhere along the way someone decided to create month-long holidays too.  Again there are some terrific matters addressed in November like Child Safety Protection Month and National Adoption Awareness Month.

But let’s have a little fun with this now.  November is also Peanut Butter Lovers Month.  Everyone that knows me, knows that I’m a huge foodie – and one of my obsessions is peanut butter.  I seriously love the stuff.  I buy Matt and Gray plain old Jif (not that Jif is not great too), and then I buy myself the freshly ground stuff at Whole Foods.  But my obsession doesn’t stop there.  I also have gourmet peanut butters like Honey Pretzel, Cinnamon Raisin, and White Chocolate Raspberry stashed away.

What’s the one thing all these flavors have in common?  Peanut butter is an oil-based stain so it’s not the color that’s hard to remove, it’s the greasy film that’s the challenge.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple in most homes with children, so what should you do if your youngster gets peanut butter all over a favorite garment?  Your best bet is to leave it alone and bring it to us as soon as possible.  Why do I keep telling you to bring oil-based stains to us?  Multi-purpose grocery store pre-treaters (which is what we normal folks have access to) are great at handling water-based stains, but they cannot break down oil-based stains.  Why as soon as possible?  If a greasy stain is left to oxidize, it will get darker and more difficult to remove.  And why should you leave it alone?  Using a wet cloth to wipe up oily peanut butter will cause the stain to both be forced into the fibers and to spread.

Many of us (myself included) like to attempt these things on our own so if you’d like to give it a shot, here’s what we would suggest:
  • Carefully scrape off the excess with a dull knife, using care not to rub or dig into the fabric
  • Sprinkle (don’t rub) the area with cornstarch and let it set for several hours
  • Brush away the cornstarch and if a slight stain still remains, then treat the area with Fels Naptha – a bar laundry soap used for pre-treating stains
  • Launder per the garment label directions
If the stain remains after laundering, do not place the garment in the dryer.  The heat from the dryer will set the stain.  You could repeat the process, but at some point you need to say uncle before you pull the color from the garment.  If you are unsuccessful in your attempts and need some help, bring it by one of our locations so that our trained staff can take it from there.  And when you do, be sure to point out the stain and mention what products you used to try to remove it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Safety Tips

I grew up in the country with few neighbors.  When Halloween rolled around, my parents took us to a friend’s house so that my sister and I, along with our two friends, could walk through their neighborhood trick-or-treating.  It seemed harmless at the time but as I think back about it, I’m pretty sure we didn’t always think about safety first.  Up until last year, Gray never participated in true trick-or-treating.  Matt’s company always hosted something, so I never had to worry.  And because we too live in the country with few neighbors, this past year my sister and I drove him around my hometown to a select few houses so that family and friends could see him in action.

I’d never dream of turning Gray loose like my parents did with my sister and me.  That’s because according to State Farm from 1990 – 2010, Halloween was the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents.  An article on consumeraffairs.com stated that between 6:00-7:00 p.m. is the most dangerous time, and that more than 70% of the accidents occurred in the middle of the block, usually when excited trick-or-treaters darted between parked cars.

Halloween is just a few days away and because it is on a Saturday night, I think kids will be out in full force – having a great time and forgetting about all those rules their parents taught them.  So here’s a reminder for us all:
  • Drivers – be on high alert, use care when going through neighborhoods, never take your eyes off the road, and put those cell phones away.
  • Kids – trick-or-treat with an adult, always be aware of your surroundings, avoid distractions (you too should put away your phone), stay on sidewalks, look both right and left before crossing the road, cross only at street corners, follow traffic signals, carry a flashlight, and always walk instead of running. Remember to only visit houses where the lights are on outside, and never go inside a house.  Don’t forget to say thank you.
  • Parents – accompany your kids (and if you are like me you’ll constantly be barking out orders like stay on the sidewalk, watch where you are walking, look both ways).  Make sure your child’s costume is flame retardant, fits properly, doesn’t obstruct their vision, has reflector strips on it, and that any accessories like swords and such are soft and flexible.  Examine all treats before allowing your child to eat them.
Whew.  That seems like a lot to remember, but we love our kids – and yours, and we want everyone to have a great time, return home safely, and be able to share their stories for a long time to come.  Now get out there and score some candy and have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cooking Related Fire Hazards

I am so guilty of doing this – leaving food cooking on the stove top unattended.  I’d like to blame my 8 year old son for this.  “Mom, can you come here?” he will holler.  “Gray, honey, I can’t.  I’ve got food cooking on the stove,” I typically reply.  “But it will only take a second,” he counters.  But that’s the thing, it can only take seconds for a fire to start.

According to the U. S. Fire Administration, cooking fires were the leading reported cause for residential fires for 2013 at 188,000.  Moreover, the National Fire Protection Association reports for a 2007-2011 compilation of data that unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor of residential fires.

We all know these things, but sometimes seeing them again proves to be a good reminder – for myself included:
  • Always, always, always stay in the kitchen when cooking – anything.
  • Keep things like oven mitts, dish towels, and paper towels away from heat sources.
  • When simmering, baking, or roasting foods (things you don’t constantly have to be on top of), still stay in the kitchen and check the items frequently.  If needed, set a timer to help you stay on top of it.
  • Use care when frying foods.  If you see threads of smoke, turn off the heat and remove the pan.  Smoke indicates that the oil is too hot.  Use care when adding food to hot oil to avoid splattering.  Keep a lid nearby, and in case of a fire, place the lid over the top and slide the pan off the heat.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, that’s in good working order, handy.  Here’s some information to help you both choose the right fire extinguisher and keep it properly maintained.   
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and leave the door closed.
  • Make sure you have smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances, per the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
  • Always have an escape plan, and be sure to practice it with your kids.
One final thought - did you know that 55% of homeowners from the statistics above were injured while trying to put out the fire themselves?  Use great care if you choose to try and put the fire out on your own.  Remember -- things can be replaced, repaired, and saved using restoration dry cleaning.  You cannot. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Special Scarves for Give A Kid A Coat

My grandmother taught me how to crochet, but it never really stuck.  Periodically I pull my crochet hook and some yarn out and attempt to make a dishcloth, which usually takes me forever, makes my hands ache something fierce, and turns out lopsided.  So I get really excited when I have the chance to talk to someone that has a gift that I do not but really wish I did, and one that I really consider to be a dying art.
Recently, I had the privilege of talking to Emily Vail – a person that uses her gift to make gifts from the heart for others.  In 2008, Emily showed up at our A Cleaner World on Lawndale Avenue with 50 scarves that she’d crocheted over the course of the year; she wanted to donate them to Give A Kid A Coat.  The next year she came back, and this time she’d crocheted over 100 scarves during the course of the year.  And each year she comes back, having crocheted between 100-150 scarves, always wanting to donate them to Give A Kid A Coat.  This year is no exception – here she is dropping off over 150 scarves just a few days ago.
What made her start this little ministry?  “I don’t really think of it as a ministry,” she humbly replied.  “It seemed like the right thing to do.  I figured if there was a need for coats, then there was a need for neck warmth too.  This is just my way to contribute.”  So many folks that make contributions like this do it out of love, with a great deal of thought, and without any fanfare, and Emily totally fits that description.  To give you an idea of what I mean, Emily goes out of her way to choose a special type of yarn – one that has a softer feel, spending about $260 per year.  She does these in her spare time – after work or when she doesn’t have family obligations – and can crochet one in several hours.  (Which I find to be just amazing.)  Here’s the big thing – Emily has arthritis in her hands, so when her arthritis isn’t bothering her, crocheting helps keep her hands limber.  But when it is bothering her, crocheting a scarf hurts like the devil, and the thing that keeps her going is thinking about who might wear that particular scarf and how it might impact that person.

If Emily could have one wish as to what would come of this, it is that others with similar gifts would also use them in the same way.  “I could easily see church groups or youth groups that need a service project take this on,” Emily said.  “It would be so easy, and I can see it being successful.”  For the moment, Emily’s portion of this service project is already a success.  “We are always so thrilled to get the scarves each year,” said Carole Whisnant, Volunteer Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Greensboro.  “I have for so many years wanted to find out who she is and send her a thank you note but haven't been able to.  I have the scarves available at our warehouse during Give A Kid A Coat distribution for those who may need one.  If there are scarves left after distribution, they come to our Center of Hope Shelter and are distributed to kids and adults.  They are always so excited to receive them.”  Emily will be pleased to hear that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Give A Kid A Coat

Did you happen to see this?

This is my son, Gray, hamming it up at last year’s Give A Kid A Coat kick off.  He’s in the height of his glory in that photo, and here’s how that moment came about.

Gray is an excitable little boy.  He brings lots of enthusiasm to everything he does – there’s no half way with him – ever.  When I figured out that his fall break coincided with the kick off, I asked him if he wanted to help.  Of course, but he needed to be official.  So we got him a uniform shirt, name badge, and Give A Kid A Coat button and gave him a job.  He was going to help collect and count coats as they came in the morning of the kick off.

He arrived bright and early and ready to work, so Mike Smith got him started. 

The folks at Fox 8 liked his work ethic (and handsome hair) and began including him in their on-air spots.  And before you knew it, a star was born.  This newfound stardom only added to his enthusiasm.  He had lots of fun that morning, but the message of Give A Kid A Coat really stuck with him throughout the year.  Many times last winter he mentioned his coat from the prior year and wondered who had it and did they like it.

This year, my enthusiastic child is again raring to go.  He’s told his friends at school all about the program and how he gets to help.  More importantly, he’s already gone through his closet and gathered his outgrown coats.

A Cleaner World, Fox 8, 1075KZL, and The Salvation Army kick off the 2015 Give A Kid A Coat campaign this Friday, October 9 at the A Cleaner World located at 2527 Eastchester Drive in High Point.  There will be lots of food, fun, and giveaways.  And of course, Gray will be there -- running around full of energy and excitement – but more importantly, donating his coats.  Will you check your closets for coats to donate?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Restoration Dry Cleaning After a Home Fire

Whenever we leave our house for an extended period, I find myself going from room to room checking on things.  I make sure all the lights are turned out.  I check the stovetop and oven (even if I haven’t been cooking).  I make sure the iron is unplugged (even if I haven’t ironed for days).  I could continue on, but I think you get the idea.  I perform this ritual – for every extended leave – because I seriously do worry about a home fire.  If you are like me, your home holds many prized possessions and the thought of losing them makes me really sad.

When a home fire occurs, A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning will be there in your time of need.  We understand that you will experience a range of emotions, so we will gladly work with you to make sure you have those much needed items back quickly.  We will start by cleaning emergency items and returning them to you in 24-48 hours.  After that, we’ll work closely with the insurance company, the contractor, and most importantly – you to ensure that we clean and restore your garments and textiles back to the way they were.  And because we’ve been in the restoration business since 2001, we have the training, knowledge, and equipment to get results.  In fact, our success rate is near 96%.

Experience isn’t the only thing we offer.  Our credentials include certifications by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute, and we are members of the North Carolina Association of Launderers and Cleaners. We are also members of the Mid-South Professional Cleaners Association and carry the Seal of Approval by the Carpet and Rug Institute.

If you experience a fire or smoke damage, call directly or have your insurance company call A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning at (336) 992-0700.  For emergencies call Greg Henderson at (336) 804-0045 or Mike Feudale at (336) 804-0036.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pleated versus Flat-Front Pants

I regularly make fun of my husband and his clothing choices.  That’s because he dresses like an old man.  I really dread shopping with him.  Not only for his taste in fashion but also because he is incredibly particular.  He tries on pair after pair after pair of pants.  To paint you a better picture -- you know how you walk by a bench at a clothing store and a man is sitting there waiting there for his wife?  Well, we are the opposite – I am the one waiting on the bench.  On a recent pant shopping trip, I tried to convince him to purchase flat-front instead of pleated pants.  I lost the debate, but I did provide quite a show for the folks that walked by.

So what’s the difference?  Is one better than the other?  What style should you choose?  Here are a few answers:
• Pleated pants have creases at the front of the pant along the waist.  They are the most common suit pant, and they became more popular in the 1970’s and 80’s, when looser styles came into play.  Pleated pants typically work well on men with larger frames.  According to one website I checked out, they are considered more of a classic look and typically don’t go out of style.
• Flat-front pants have no pleats but instead have a contouring dart that causes the pants to lie flat against the body.  Flat-front pants provide a more tailored look.  They were popular in the 1950’s and 60’s, regained their popularity again in the 1990’s, and tend to go in and out of style.  Flat-front pants work well on men with slimmer builds, and because they complement slimmer builds, they also tend to accentuate larger features, sometimes in a not-so-flattering way.

So perhaps in the case with Matt, I didn’t know best; according to the information above, he made the correct choice.  If you are in the market for new pants, now you know which style best suits your taste and frame. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Professional Wet Cleaning

When a garment comes into an A Cleaner World store, we do all kinds of things – check the pockets, look for stains, complete the appropriate paperwork.  We also take a look at the care label, and many times our managers discover that the care label isn’t exactly accurate.  What happens then?  An alternative cleaning method needs to be used, and one excellent option is professional wet cleaning.

Here’s an example.  This metallic shirt was recently dropped off at a Raleigh A Cleaner World location.  The store’s manager Brent Dixon, with his 18 years of experience, immediately knew when he looked at the care label that this shirt could not be dry cleaned.  If Brent had dry cleaned this shirt, the outside would have ended up looking like the inside.

Brent chose to professionally wet clean this shirt instead.  Professional wet cleaning isn’t like throwing your favorite t-shirt in the washer with a little bit of detergent.  It’s a specialized and time-consuming process that requires three things – the proper training, the proper equipment, and the proper supplies.  All three components are equally important when using this process.  There is extensive training involved, and you must invest in the right equipment.  But the supplies also play a key role.  Professional wet cleaning detergent contains both polymers, which coat the fibers to protect them and prevent them from drawing up, and conditioners, which soften the fibers leaving them feeling like the garment has been dry cleaned.

Besides metallic disco shirts, here are a few more reasons why we might professionally wet clean a garment:
  • Many garments with decorative embellishments cannot be dry cleaned
  • Water soluble stains are easier to remove using professional wet cleaning
  • Some garments and fabrics simply respond better to professional wet cleaning
  • Whites turn out whiter and brighter using this process
We are proud to say that A Cleaner World has been professionally wet cleaning garments since 1995.  You can rest assured that if a garment comes in with an incorrect care label, A Cleaner World has plenty of experience in multiple cleaning methods to ensure that item is returned to you in tip-top shape.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Grocery-Store Pre-treaters vs. A Cleaner World Pre-treaters

I have an 8 year old boy.  Translation: I go through a whole lot of Shout Advanced.  It’s pretty decent stuff but doesn’t take care of everything.  That’s because, according to Mike Smith, most products sold at the grocery store are general, all-purpose stain removers.  They are good for many food spills, but they won’t touch things like grease or blood.  I know I’ve shared this before, but the National Cleaners Association says that there is no one size fits all stain remover.  That’s true even at our stores.

But we have access to two things that the average home doesn’t. First, a few select companies that specialize in making spotting agents to address specific stains and to compliment both the dry cleaning and wet cleaning processes.  These companies have been doing it for years (like more than 100), employ research chemists, have patented processes, state-of-the-art facilities, and fully comply with environmental regulations.  The second thing A Cleaner World has is the knowledge and training to evaluate each spot and spill and then choose the appropriate spotting agent and cleaning method.  While the products we use are considered professional grade, it’s the product in conjunction with the know-how that gets the kind of results that you simply cannot get at home.

It has taken me both years of trial and error and ruining a number of garments to realize that there are certain stains and spills that I simply must leave to A Cleaner World.  Here’s advice from a stay-at-home mom (that does LOTS of laundry) with a messy boy – water-based stains are fairly simple to remove.  For many, using a good-quality grocery store pre-treater and laundering according to the care label takes care of it.  Sometimes more effort is required – like soaking in warm water with a color-safe bleach and then laundering according the care label.  But for things like oil-based stains, combinations stains, ink, blood – a grocery store pre-treater simply won’t work.  That’s when stopping by one of our locations so that our trained staff can use our specialized spotting agents comes in handy. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

History of the Clothes Dryer

I am absolutely fascinated with history.  That’s probably why I’m so obsessed with Downton Abbey.  While I am interested in the characters and story line, I’m way more interested with the fashion and how they lived everyday life.  The first episode was set in 1912, and the Abbey was just getting electricity.  Mrs. Patmore was cooking the family’s meals over a wood burning stove.  They’ve never really showed anything in the way of cleaning clothing.  But I did notice in season one, they were stitching things by hand, and a few seasons later a ladies maid caused a huge ruckus when she brought a sewing machine into the servant’s hall.

When it comes to clothing, they had some really elaborate wears back then.  Apparently there were laundry maids in those days, though there is no mention of them as part of the downstairs servant’s crew on the show.  Could you imagine being a laundry maid in 1912?  While the electric wringer washer had come along by then, there was still no modern-type dryer on the market.  Everything was hung on clothes lines to air dry.

The first mention of a dryer dates back to the 1800s, when a Frenchman named Pochon created a vented barrel shaped metal drum to be placed over a fire and turned by hand.  Sounds dangerous to me.  Even though the first electric clothes dryer was introduced in 1915, it took until 1938, when the Hamilton Manufacturing Company put out the first automatic dryer, for the use of an electric dryer to even be heard of.  Unfortunately, the cost of one was so incredibly high that only 10% of U. S. households had one even as late as 1955.  Today, we take owning a clothes dryer for granted but truly they’ve not been around all that long.  In fact, my parents didn’t get one until after my sister was born – in 1972.

Dryers today can do more than just dry clothes – many can kill germs, de-wrinkle, and most sense moisture levels.  But remember, like with any other piece of equipment, it requires regular maintenance.   And if you decide you want to give your dryer a break, there are lots of benefits to the 1912 way of line-drying your clothes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Caring for Drapes

Whenever I think of drapes, I think too much about form and not enough about function.  Besides adding a decorative touch to a room, drapes actually serve almost as a filter by guarding against the sunlight, heat, dirt, and dust coming through your windows.  As a result, they take a fair amount of abuse.  The sunlight causes the fabric to weaken, and the dirt and dust build up can impact your home’s air quality.  Regularly cleaning your drapes not only improves the air quality in your home, it also adds years to their life.  Cleaning your drapes is also much more wallet friendly than purchasing new ones.

We clean and restore lots of drapes, and as a result, we’ve come across a lot of issues over the years.  We thought we’d share those issues with you.

•    Two weeks ago, we talked about how the sun can cause color loss on your clothing.  Not only can sunlight discolor your drapes, it can also weaken the fabric, so much so, in fact, that the fabric can shred after being cleaned.
•    Moisture can also be an enemy to your drapes.  A window leak or a pet stain can cause dye bleeding and water rings, which may be difficult to remove.
•    Shrinkage could be an issue as well.  The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute reports that manufacturing industry standards allow 2-4% shrinkage in household fabrics.  Some fabrics are prone to shrink more than others, but four percent can make a big difference in the appearance.

You’re reading this and thinking that we’ve given you all the problems but no solutions.  Below are a few tips to hopefully help with your current drapes or if you are in the market for new ones.

•    To reduce the chances of sun damage, use window film, sheers, blinds, or shutters along with your drapes.
•    Just like with your clothes, darker color drapes absorb light and show color loss more quickly.  If your windows will be subject to intense sunlight, consider using lighter color fabrics for your drapes.
•    Check the fabric composition.  For instance, polyester fabrics hold up better when exposed to sunlight. 
•    If possible, choose lined drapes.  The lining will take the brunt of the sun before the front of the drapes.
•    Before purchasing new drapes, check to see if the fabric has been properly pre-shrunk.
•    When caring for your household items, whether it is through washing, professional wet cleaning, or dry cleaning, be sure to have all matching pieces done at the same time to keep the appearance consistent.

If your drapes are in need of special care, drop them off at any one of our locations.  We are here to help.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Cleaner World Uniform Rental

My son started a new school this year. Matt and I are super excited about the academic challenges that await him.  He is excited about the fact that they have both a fencing program and 'cool' uniforms. 

They have an exceptionally strict uniform policy -- khaki pants or shorts which is no big deal but then there's the white and navy polo shirts, navy vest, navy jacket, navy sweatshirt, white dress shirt, and special t-shirt -- all of which have to be purchased, from one particular vendor, because they wear certain garments on certain days.  It was a hefty upfront investment.  And as I was paying for all his stuff, I found myself wishing I could qualify for A Cleaner World's Uniform Rental program.

If you are a business owner and using rental uniforms, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  There's an upfront investment when you hire a new employee, and then you also have to trust them to properly care for those uniforms.  A Cleaner World's Uniform Rental takes away both of those issues.  First, by eliminating that initial upfront investment, freeing up your cash flow and reducing your inventory costs.  Second, by inspecting every piece each time it is cleaned, so that we can make any necessary minor repairs and replace missing buttons.

So why else might you want to use A Cleaner World to provide and care for your uniforms?

*Our Customer Service Manager, Scottie Springer, will come by your business to help you determine which uniforms best fit your needs and to get you set up on a schedule.

*Our Route Service Manager, Derrick Welch, will visit your business weekly to drop off freshly cleaned and pressed uniforms, pick up your soiled ones, and make sure everything is working to your satisfaction.

*There are no upfront costs when you get started -- only some nominal charges for the company logo and/or name emblems.  In addition, we have multiple payment options.
*You'll have an organization with over 45 years of garment care experience caring for your company’s uniforms.

If you have additional questions about A Cleaner World's Uniform Rental service, check out the FAQ section on our website or simply call Scottie at 870-6299 or 992-0700 or send him an e-mail.  We are here to help.

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