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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mesh Laundry Bags

I discovered these little gems years ago, and I cannot begin to tell you all the ways and how often I use them.  I probably have near a dozen in various sizes and weaves.  Let me give you a few reasons why you should invest in a few mesh laundry bags:

Lingerie – place those unmentionables into lingerie laundry bags when washing.  You can avoid having stretched straps or having hooks damage other garments in the same load.

Socks – The legend of the sock monster will die and every sock will have a mate.

Hand washing – If a garment’s care label says hand wash, then A Cleaner World recommends that you hand wash it.  But if Barb Mitchell is being completely honest, there are occasions when I may wash a hand wash only garment in a mesh bag on cold on the ‘hand wash’ cycle.

Delicate fabrics – A few years ago, my washer drum developed a couple of nicks because I accidently washed a utility tool that Matt left in his pants pocket.  Suddenly snags started appearing on my delicate running singlets.  Now, no matter what the item is, I place anything that could easily snag in its own mesh bag.  No more snags for this girl.

Mixed weight loads – Let’s face it, if you separated out every single garment the way you should, you’d have 15 loads for 25 garments.  If you have a load of jeans and a couple more delicate dark garments, put each of those garments in their own mesh bag.  That way you won’t have to worry about heavier weight items damaging the lighter weight ones.
Just a couple of suggestions before you head to the store.  Avoid buying mesh bags with the draw strings – stick to those with zippers.  If you have a high efficiency washing machine, then you understand how easily strings get wrapped up and tangled.  Second, don’t overfill your bag.  You still want your garments to be able to move around and actually get clean.

I hope you find mesh bags as useful as I do!  For more helpful tips, please check out the helpful hints section of our website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What are Flame Resistant Pajamas?

While folding a pair of Gray’s pajamas the other day, two words on the label caught my eye – “flame resistant”.  Sadly, I’d never thought much about flame resistant pajamas until that moment.  When he was a baby, I worried about snug-fitting sleepwear for fear of suffocation.  Now that he is older, I try to buy his pajamas a bit big so he gets more wear out of them.  Apparently that’s a big no-no.  Honestly, the thought of my child catching on fire while wearing pajamas never once crossed my mind.

I had no idea but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children’s sleepwear must meet certain flammability standards.  Here’s an excerpt from one of their files:

“To protect children from burns, these rules require that children’s sleepwear must be flame resistant and self-extinguish if a flame from a candle, match, lighter or similar item causes it to catch fire.  The rules cover all children’s sleepwear above size 9 months and up to size 14 and require that (1) the fabric and garments must pass certain flammability tests; or (2) be ‘tight fitting’ as defined by specified dimensions.”

Most government documents require cliff notes; in other words, there was a lot to sift through and understand.  But in an effort to keep this short, let’s first address the flame resistant part.  They go about testing for flammability by sampling specific parts of the garment, both as produced and after 50 washings, like the fabric, garment seams, and trim using 3 ½” by 10” pieces.  Each piece is placed in a specially designed cabinet and subjected to a gas flame for 3 seconds.  Afterward they measure the length of the char.  Depending on the results, the item is either accepted or rejected.

To understand flame resistant, I took a look at DuPont’s web site, and they explain that there are two types of flame resistant fibers – inherent and treated.  Inherently flame resistant fibers are flame resistant because of their chemical makeup.  Multiple sites stated that these fabrics were prone to melting, not burning and also trapped moisture, potentially causing rashes on children. Treaded flame retardant fabrics are just that – treated with a chemical substance to provide protection.

But what if you are concerned about toxins or prefer that your child wears natural fibers?  Then another acceptable option, according to the CPSC, is to look for tight-fitting 100% cotton pajamas with the label stating ‘Wear snug-fitting. Not flame resistant.’  How are they considered safe?  This type of garment is based on a specific set of measurements for each size group.  Their data suggests that by eliminating the space (oxygen) between the garment and the child’s skin, then the garment’s flammability is reduced.

Perhaps I now know enough to be dangerous.  I’m a bottom line sort of person, so my takeaway is that I will be buying pajamas more often now, being less concerned about getting plenty of wear out of them and more concerned about avoiding toxins and being safe.

If you would like more detailed information on safety requirements for children’s pajamas, follow this link to CPSC’s regulations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sorting Laundry

Should you sort your laundry?  In my opinion – yes.  Why, you ask.  Well, has one of your white t-shirts ever gotten mixed in with a load of dark clothes?  Did you notice that it was perhaps a bit dull looking afterward?  Or have you ever gotten a pink load thanks to that one red garment somehow sneaking in?  Besides the color bleeding reason, you should also sort clothing for efficiency and cleanliness.  For instance, don’t throw a flimsy t-shirt in with a load of heavy-duty items, and avoid washing your kitchen towels with your unmentionables.  With all of that in mind, I suspect you are thinking that you’ll end up with 12 different loads for 20 items.  That’s quite possible.  So I’ve outlined what our resident expert suggests then I will tell you which ones are really a big deal.
  • Pull out any hand wash or delicate items and handle them separately.
  • Wash bath towels in their own load, in hot for white and warm for colors.
  • Divide remaining items into piles based on color – whites, darks, light colors, and bright colors.
  • Sub-divide these: Whites – everything white such as socks, t-shirts, underwear that can be washed on warm or hot water in a normal cycle.  Darks – pull out jeans and denim items and place them in their own load.  The remaining items should be black, navy, dark purple, brown, and the like.
  • Lights – off white and pastel colors.
  • Bright colors – red, orange, fluorescent colors.
  • Weight should also be taken into consideration.  If you wash heavy items in with light weight items, they won’t dry at the same rate and there is a chance that the heavier items could damage the thinner pieces.
While I am incredibly particular about our clothing care, I realize that I cannot follow all those suggestions every single time.  So, I’ve come up with some exceptions along with the rules that simply cannot be bent.
  • If it says hand wash, then hand wash.  There is a reason why the manufacturer recommends this special type of care. 
  • Sorting by color is really important, especially with new garments.  I’ve had a couple pink loads in my years of laundry.  I don’t make any exceptions here.
  • It won’t hurt to wash your jeans in with your dark clothes.  Just remember to zip them up and put any delicate items in mesh bags. 
  • An occasional white towel might end up with the undergarments but I figure if I wash the load in hot water, it will kill any bacteria and such.  But after that I am really set on washing bath towels on their own.
Of course, if any of your pieces are in need of a good dry cleaning, bring them over to one of our A Cleaner World locations.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A New Friday Trend

A few years ago, my husband interviewed with a company that had an incredibly casual dress code.  In fact, one of the Vice Presidents he interviewed with wore flip flops.  Matt wore a suit.  During the three years that Matt worked there, I could never remember the guy’s name.  But when Matt said ‘flip flop’, I immediately knew who he was referring to.

Matt’s fashion sense never quite fit in at Lampo.  That’s because he was always overdressed in his khaki pants and button-up dress shirts, while the majority of the staff donned holey jeans, concert t-shirts, and tennis shoes.  But there is always an exception.

A few years ago, a relatively new employee decided to shake things up a bit.  He was actually a recent immigrant from the UK, having moved here after marrying an American.  He started wearing his Sunday best on Fridays.  It quickly caught on and before you knew it, folks were coming in wearing three-piece suits, wing-tipped shoes, and every hair on their heads in its proper place.  It even had its own name -- “Smart Dress Friday”.  Below is a photo from their website.

I’ve often expressed my displeasure with how casual we’ve all become, so this new trend pleased me.  Perhaps more folks will follow, and we’ll start seeing fewer folks in holey jeans and concert t-shirts and more folks in suits and dresses.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Number Three Most Common Rug Stain - Wine

We have a no drinks past the kitchen rule in our house.  It’s not because of Gray – he mostly drinks water.  It’s not because of Matt – he’s not clumsy like I am.  It’s because of me – because I spilled red wine on the carpet once.  According to our rug expert, Greg Henderson, I’m not alone. 

Whenever Greg offers generic advice about removing a stain from carpeting or a rug, he always gives a few caveats.  These suggestions may not work in every single situation.  Some rugs, especially those made of silk, may need to be handled by a professional.  Finally, always test any products or solutions in an inconspicuous area to make sure there will be no dye bleeding.  Here are Greg's suggestions on how to handle a wine spill:

1. As with any accident or spill, blot the area with a dry, white cloth or paper towel.  Never use anything with color or print as the dye could transfer to your carpeting or rug.
2. Get a bucket of cold, soapy water and clean the area using a clean, white cloth. Use a pH neutral detergent, such as Woolite, and be sure not to scrub or rub too firmly.
3. Thoroughly rinse the area using a clean white cloth with plain water.
4. Blot dry with a clean, dry, white towel.

Greg recommends that you exercise caution if you choose to use an oxygenating carpet spotting product.  These products are made from diluted hydrogen peroxide so if the area isn’t rinsed thoroughly, the product will continue working and eventually pull the color from your rug.  Of course, you can always do what I do in such situations – call Greg with A Cleaner World Rug Cleaning at 336-804-0045 or e-mail him at acwcarpet@earthlink.net.  He has the expertise and equipment to easily remove stubborn spills like red wine.
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