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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Storing Garments

I recently had a customer send me a message through Facebook about some mysterious holes that appeared after he had his suit cleaned.  He actually had three cleaned but only one had the holes.  He was baffled because he stored all three suits in the same garment bag for approximately the same amount of time.  The store manager sent the suit off for analysis, and it confirmed what she expected – insect damage.  But he didn’t understand.  Why did only one suit come back with mysterious holes?  Why did the holes show up after the suit was cleaned?

Many times holes due to insect damage don’t appear until after the garment has been cleaned.  That’s because the fabric was likely weakened by insects, then the agitation the garment received during the cleaning process caused unbroken but weakened fibers to break.  We’ve shared tips on properly storing garments a number of times over the years, but with the upcoming change in season, we’ll all be putting away those heavier-weighted garments in lieu of lighter fabrics.  The last thing you want is to pull out a garment next fall only to discover that it has been attacked by insects.  Let’s review the proper way to store out-of-season garments:

•    Wash or dry-clean every item before storing.  Even if it doesn’t look dirty, moths find invisible stains, body oils, and perspiration and will feed on it. 
•    Avoid hanging knit items, sweaters, and other stretchy garments that could stretch and become out of shape.  Instead fold them and place all folded garments in plastic containers with air-tight lids.  Steer clear of using cardboard boxes or paper bags because moths and other insects can get inside plus they cannot keep water and moisture out.
•    Hang suits and coats on cedar hangers and store them in garment bags.  Never use our poly bags to store your clothes long-term, which will suffocate your clothes and possibly cause staining or mildew issues.  Our poly bags are designed for short-term protection only.  Be sure to use hangers with wider bars when hanging pants to prevent creases at the knees. 
•    Clothes can become stale smelling when stored away for some time.  Use cedar chips or lavender and rosemary sachets to help keep your garments smelling fresh and to help ward off insects.
•    Store your clothes in a cool, dry, clean place; never store your clothes in a cold basement or hot attic.  Extreme temperatures could damage your garments.

If you have questions about storing out-of-season garments, call any one of our locations and talk to a manager.  We are always glad to answer any questions.  If you are short on storage space, you can always store your out-of-season garments at any A Cleaner World.  Taking proper care of your fall and winter garments now ensures they will be ready for you to enjoy next year.

Click here to find out how to store clothes at A Cleaner World.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Can All Stains Be Removed?

Recently an A Cleaner World Roanoke customer found out the answer.  She brought in a black and white blazer that she had put away at the end of the season without cleaning it first.  She said the stain wasn’t there when she put it away, and when she pulled it out for the next year, there was a yellowish stain on the lapel.  Unfortunately, Mike couldn’t get the stain out.  What would cause a stain to appear over time?  Most likely, it was a food or beverage spill – which oxidize over time and then become difficult, sometimes impossible to remove.  So the answer to the question is no; regrettably, some stains become set in the fabric and eventually turn into a permanent stain.

When you drop off a garment, we check it in, tag it, and make sure there is nothing in the pockets.  If you tell us there is a stain, we make note of that before sending it back to be cleaned.  Then when it is sent back to be cleaned, our expert spotter looks over the garment to make sure there are no other stains or spots to address.  If you tell us what you spilled, we can use the proper spotting agent first thing without having to guess.  If we don’t know what the spot is, then we evaluate the spot as well as the fabric to try and chose the appropriate spotting agent and cleaning method.  Many times, the combination of the spotting agent and the detergent used during the cleaning process removes the spot, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way.  Here are some reasons why a stain may not come out:

•    If we don’t know what the spot is made of, we don’t know which agent to use.  This is many times the case, so we rely on our many years of experience to make an educated decision, but sometimes a stain can even fool us.  At some point you have to stop because too many attempts to remove the stain can lead to color loss or damage the fabric itself.  Sadly, there is no one-size-fits-all stain remover so that’s why it is important to share as much information as possible at drop off.
•    Some stains are simply stubborn because of the makeup of the stain itself, and if you put them on certain fabrics that makes it even more challenging.
•    If a stain is left untreated for a long period of time, it becomes part of the fabric.  What do we mean when we say that?  Well, if left for a long time, a stain can react with the fabric causing the fabric to actually change colors.  So even if the stain is removed, the fabric where the stain once was is now a different color.  According to a study done by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, on stains aged for only one week, 20% of stains cannot be removed satisfactorily.  After three weeks, the percentage increases to 47%.  That’s why we always say bring it to us as soon as possible.

So the takeaway from this, in order to be as successful as possible to remove a spot or stain, is to address it as soon as possible, let us know at drop off what the spill is, and never put any garment away without cleaning it first.  Some spills dry clear but are still in the fabric, and these will oxidize and appear over time.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Restoring Mounted Trophies

If we ever have a home fire, I suspect Matt would want these guys restored. 

Thankfully these fellows are in Matt’s home office, so I don’t have them staring at me often.  I am married to a hunter, so I understand that if you go to the trouble and expense of having an animal mounted, then there is usually a special story or reason why.  A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning recognizes that cherished items come in all shapes and sizes, so that’s why we take our time and use special care on each and every piece – whether it’s your wedding gown, a handmade quilt from your grandmother, a childhood keepsake, or even a mounted deer.  If you check out the before and after photos on our website, you’ll see that our staff is more than prepared for a wide variety of prized possessions – including mounted trophies.

Recently, we got to put our skills to the test when a mounted buck came in covered in soot and smelled of smoke.  After assessing the extent of the damage, our team blew off the loose soot, carefully wiped him down with a special cleaning solution, and then placed him in the ozone room to remove the smoky odor. 

The final outcome?  Successful.  That’s because we’ve been in the restoration business since 2001 and have the training, knowledge, and equipment to get results.  In fact, our success rate is near 96%, but put aside all the knowledge and certifications.  A Cleaner World Restoration Dry Cleaning understands that this will be an emotional experience, and we will caringly work with you during the entire process.
 
The owner was quite pleased at how his buck turned out and will proudly display him for years to come, and we are glad to be able to help out with that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe

Roughly five years ago my husband asked me, “How many pairs of khaki pants does one woman need?”  At the time I answered, “Apparently twelve”.  But since then, I’ve managed to cull my way down to four.  It took both discipline and time for me to accomplish this major feat.

We are at that time of year when we start thinking about storing away our winter fare in lieu of lighter-weight garments.  I suspect if you are like me, you cannot fit all four seasons worth of clothes into one closet.  If that is the case, then you too will be swapping out closets and rearranging clothes soon.  That means it is the perfect time to take an accurate inventory and evaluate needs.  If you are ready to purge, then we’ve got a few tips to help you with that monumental task.

•    First, make sure you are in the right frame of mind.  I know that sounds silly, but I’ve found that I have to be in the ‘I’m willing to part with stuff’ mood.
•    Second, set aside a good amount of time.  This isn’t a quick or easy job; going through your garments one-by-one takes time.  You don’t want to get started and realize you can’t finish the task. 
•    Third, take all your garments out of your closet and group them into categories – like pants, dresses, jackets, and so on.
•    Fourth, go through each pile, analyzing every piece and ask yourself these questions – Does it fit in with my daily life?  Do I love it?  Is it comfortable?  Based on your answers, sort them into these four groups – keep, donate, dump, alter/repair. 

After you’ve evaluated every piece, then deal with the piles.  Place the keep items back in your closet or in storage for next season.  Donate your donate pile to your favorite local charity.  A Cleaner World has had a long-standing relationship with The Salvation Army through our Donate Goods, Do Good project, and you can drop off donated items at any A Cleaner World location.  The dump pile should be items that aren’t fit to donate, but we do recommend keeping a couple things for dirty jobs like gardening and painting.  Finally, the alter/repair pile is for anything that needs a hem, button, alteration, or cleaning.  But be sure not to neglect this pile and leave it set.  Address the issues right away so that you can quickly place the garments back in your wardrobe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Top 5 Reasons to Rent Employee Uniforms

My son likes to look official when he plays.  Now you are going to look at the photos below and think, “Those are just costumes.”  You would be right, but to him they are uniforms and an integral part of the entire playing experience. 


This looking official thing even holds true for school.  On days when we can do a ‘uniform buy out’ (instead of wearing uniforms, students can pay $5 and wear whatever they want – within reason) for a school fundraiser, he doesn’t want to participate, so he’s the only kid in school wearing a uniform.  All the other lucky parents get a break on handwashing vests and scrubbing grass stains out of khakis – but not me.

A Cleaner World has always required its employees to wear uniforms, and we’ve also always provided the cleaning and care.  We too believe in uniforms and the integral role they play.  Here are 5 reasons why we think employee uniforms are a great idea:

•    Uniforms make a great first impression
•    Uniforms are a great way to promote your company or your brand
•    Uniforms take the guess work out of what is appropriate to wear to work
•    Uniforms foster a sense of team spirit and belonging
•    Uniforms, if handled through A Cleaner World’s Uniform Services Division, can make life easier for everyone
 
If you are thinking about renting uniforms for your employees, consider letting us help you out.  The only upfront costs are some nominal charges for your company logo and/or name emblems, so you won’t have to invest in a huge inventory.  You tell us what schedule you’d like to follow, and our route service manager will stop by your business to take the soiled uniforms and replace them with fresh ones.  Then both you and your employees can enjoy the benefits of company uniforms.  To learn more, call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299. 

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