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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Meet Shannon Manley – A Cleaner World, Davis Drive

Shannon started working for A Cleaner World on a part-time basis while still in high school.  After graduation, she started working for us full-time and before long, she was promoted to store manager.  I asked Mike Smith what it was about Shannon that made him believe she would make an exceptional manager.  “She had this quality of always thinking of the customer and wanting to do right by them,” he said.  “There are lots of things you can teach – how to spot a garment, how to run equipment, but you can’t teach someone to be conscientious or caring.”  Those qualities have translated into 15 years with A Cleaner World, lots of great friendships, and many satisfied customers.  If you ask Shannon what keeps her going, she’ll tell you that she “enjoys working with people and finds satisfaction in providing a service that makes people smile.”  Hugs help too.

One of her regular customers dropped off a favorite dress with a red wine stain.  The customer had first tried to remove the stain at home.  When she realized she couldn’t, she entrusted the job to Shannon.  She left the dress thinking that the stain probably couldn’t be removed.  When the customer came to pick up the dress and saw that the stain was removed, she got out of her car and gave Shannon a hug.  “It was very rewarding to receive that hug for doing my job,” said Shannon.

Not only will she go out of her way for a regular customer, she also goes out of her way for a one-time customer.  Recently a gentleman came in with a suit jacket that he had stuffed into a bag.  He explained that he was here from Denver for an important meeting later that day, and he couldn’t show up in a wrinkled jacket.  Was there any way we could help?  Shannon took his jacket to the back and got to work.  A short time later, she returned it to him in tip-top shape – all the while he waited in the lobby.  He was absolutely amazed to have his jacket back quickly so he brought back donuts and coffee, despite being in such a hurry.  Donuts are also a nice thank you.

Speaking of food, I asked Shannon what stain she sees most often.  Her answer – food and drink.  She offered two really helpful tips – 1. Always wear an apron when cooking and 2. Always point stains out at drop off.  Two terrific suggestions to follow.

If you are in Cary and have a dry cleaning crisis, stop by and see Shannon at our Davis Drive location.  She will take good care of you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I finally purchased a new swimsuit after wearing the same black one-piece for over 10 years.  Buying
a new swimsuit is tough.  There’s the whole body shape, what’s your most flattering style debate.  I’d like to avoid that topic completely.  I stressed so much over this last purchase that I ended up getting swim shorts and a halterkini top.  Given how hard of a time I had purchasing a new suit for myself, I don’t feel qualified to discuss style options for others.  What we want to do is discuss the three most common fabric options for swimsuits -- nylon, spandex, and polyester -- and the pros and cons of each.  After all, summer is quickly approaching, and we want you to be informed as you head out looking for this season’s suit.


Nylon is the most common fabric used in swimsuits.  The material is strong, and it fits smoothly over the body.  It doesn’t absorb much moisture, so suits made of nylon will dry faster than others.  On the downside, repeated exposure to both chlorine and sun will cause both the color to fade and the fabric to become weak and fray.


Spandex, also known as Lycra or Elastane, is found in nearly every swimsuit because of its elasticity, comfort, and form-fitting look.  The typical swimsuit is not made of spandex alone but instead a blend of both spandex and usually nylon.  Typically, competitive swimsuits contain a higher percentage of spandex as compared to those designed for fun.  Unfortunately, it too doesn’t hold up well to repeated exposure to chlorine, and the fabric loses its elasticity over time and begins to sag.


Polyester suits aren’t usually found in department stores but rather in athletic stores or on specialty swimwear sites.  There was conflicting information out there on the uses for polyester suits.  One site indicated that they are designed to be fast enough for competition and tough enough for training, while another site stated that they are never used in competition but make great practice suits.  Polyester suits may be difficult to find.  But if you find one you like and don’t mind that it feels more like clothing material and less like a swimsuit, then you can enjoy the benefits of it holding its strength over time, standing up to chlorine, and lasting for years.

When choosing a swimsuit for this upcoming season, we recommend that you go what you are comfortable with.  Suits are typically made of a combination of fabrics, and the benefits associated with each fabric will be present.  Keep in mind that cheaper is not always better; many times you get what you pay for.  A higher quality suit will hold its shape better and look nicer, longer.  As with any garment, we recommend you follow the care label’s instructions when washing your suit.  Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Packing for Vacation

Every January, when the weather is especially dreary, Matt and I start dreaming of summer vacation.  We always have the same debates – where to go, what to do, what would entertain Gray.  When Gray was little, we would just drag him along wherever we wanted to go.  Now, at the ripe old age of 8, he has opinions.  Two summers ago, we visited Williamsburg, Monticello, and Mount Vernon.  At one point he asked, “How many more old houses do we have to visit?”

So we are trying to make vacation more Gray friendly.  That typically means some sort of beach-y, water-filled adventure.  But this year, we’ve decided to go on an Alaskan cruise.  That means I’ve got to pack a lot of stuff into one bag and make sure it doesn’t go over 50 pounds.  Yikes.  Now, I’m certain that I’ve mentioned my tendency to over pack.  I’m also sure that I’ve mentioned how fastidious I am about the condition of my clothes.  My husband travels – a lot, and he recently taught me something about arriving with wrinkle free garments.

Under normal circumstances, we tell you to remove your garments from our plastic poly bags as soon as you get home.  But there is one exception to that rule – vacation!  Did you know that our plastic poly bags are the perfect cure for packing wrinkles?  Here’s how – the plastic traps air around the garment, which hinders wrinkling – even in tightly packed suitcases.  So if you are heading out on vacation and need to pack both casual clothing and evening wear, here are a few tips:
  • Roll jeans, shorts, and t-shirts and line them in the bottom of your suitcase.
  • Place your delicate items – suit jackets, trousers, dress shirts, skirts, blouses, dresses – in their own poly bags. Lay those items out and fold them.  For instance, on the jacket, button it, put it inside the bag, lay it out flat, fold it in half length-wise, and then fold it in half again the opposite direction so that it is ¼ of its original size.
  • Neckties should either be put in a tie carrier or roll them up, place them in Ziploc bags, and then inside your packed shoes.
  • Pack your more delicate items in the center of your suitcase, avoiding the edges.
  • Pack other rolled items on top of your more delicate items to create a cushion.
  • While it is bad to over pack, it is also bad to under pack.  Empty spaces allow clothes to shift around.
  • Tuck your shoes and toiletries (remember to put those in plastic bags) around the edges of your suitcase.
When you arrive at your destination, be sure to unpack your bag and hang your more delicate items.  If there are a few wrinkles, you can always hang the items in the bathroom for about 10 minutes with the shower on hot so that it creates plenty of steam.  Now pack those bags and enjoy your vacation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Number Four Most Common Rug Stain -- Kool Aid

Kool Aid.  My sister and I drank gallons of it when we were kids, especially in the summer months.  Our favorite flavors – grape and cherry.  Our least favorite flavor – orange.  The big Kool Aid rule in our house was that we were always required to stay in the kitchen when we drank it.  If you’ve ever had the stuff spilled on your carpet or rugs, then you understand why my mom insisted we follow that rule.

So what if your youngster spills Kool Aid on your rug?  Move fast!  Kool Aid is a synthetic acidic dye stain.  Translation: this spill is going to be difficult to remove, even for a professional rug cleaner.  Should this type of spill occur in your home, we would recommend that you call a trusted professional.  If you want to tackle it on your own, then you could try the list of suggestions below.  Please keep in mind that the final outcome may not be what you are looking for.  As always, before you use any suggested products or solutions, be sure to test them in an inconspicuous area to make sure there is no dye bleeding.  Let’s get started.
  1. Blot the area with a dry, white cloth or paper towel.  Never use anything with color or print.  The dye could transfer to your rug.
  2. Try cleaning the area with cold soapy water.  We suggest using a mild detergent, such as Woolite, and gently blot the solution (don’t scrub) onto the stain using a clean, white cloth.  Continue this method as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth.
  3. If the stain remains, you could then try using a store-bought spray cleaner.
  4. If the spill is completely removed, be sure to rinse the area with cold water and blot dry with a clean, white cloth until all the moisture is removed.
  5. If the area is large, then set up a fan to circulate the air so that the area will dry quickly.
If the stain remains after the store-bought spray cleaner, then we recommend that you stop.  There comes a point, as you work on a stain, when you could end up permanently damaging the fibers. 
Kids are going to spill.  It’s important to have a plan of action and the supplies on hand when it does happen.  If Kool Aid ends up on your rug and you feel unprepared, simply call Greg, Manager of A Cleaner World Carpet Cleaning, at 336-804-0045 or email him at acwcarpet@earthlink.net.
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