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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We Clean American Flags for Free

I can’t think of a person I know that isn’t somehow emotionally touched when experiencing a ceremony – any sort of ceremony – that involves the American Flag.  Recently, my parents visited Walt Disney World with my sister and her family.  Disney World is full of sights, sounds, excitement, and indulgences, but one of the memories from their trip that stuck out most in my dad’s mind is the Flag Retreat Ceremony.

My parents had just gotten off the steam-engine train inside of Magic Kingdom when they noticed a crowd around the flag pole.  Curious, they stopped to watch as a Disney staff member along with a retired military member from Ohio took down the flag and folded it properly.  The Disney staff member then presented the flag to the Veteran.  My dad said it was incredibly special.

Sadly, as many times as we’ve been to Disney, I never knew they did this daily ceremony to honor our nation and the men and women that defend it.  Something that many folks don’t know about A Cleaner World, is that we too want to honor our nation and the men and women that defend it.  That’s why we clean American Flags for free – every single day.  Even extra-large American Flags.

If you have an American Flag that needs special attention, please drop it off at any one of our locations.  We will proudly clean it for you at no charge and return it to you when promised, and we will consider it an honor to do so.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Packing to Send Your Kids to Camp

Attending an overnight summer camp is sort of like a ‘rite of passage’.  I remember my first week long camp experience, and I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t all that keen on going.  But after I got there, the week just flew by, and then I wasn’t ready to go home.  It was a blast.

Gray is getting to the age where we are starting to talk about overnight camps – without us.  It’s so hard to believe.  Given how long it has been since I’ve been to camp and given that my mom packed for me, I started doing some research on how to properly pack a child for camp.  It seems that most camps provide a packing list, but I also learned a number of helpful tips by talking to a friend.

  1. Label everything.  My friend purchased an imprinter stamp with their child’s full name and stamped everything.  Of course, a sharpie works just as well, but resign yourself to the fact that they will likely lose something. 
  2. Don’t over pack.  They don’t have much space for their things, and apparently they all wear the same things over and over anyway – even if they have clean clothes to put on. 
  3. Use Ziploc bags.  We all know that Ziploc bags are fantastic for toiletries, but I will likely divide Gray’s clothes by item and place them in labeled Ziploc bags as well.  Ziploc also makes XXL bags, which are great for towels or bedding.  I also read where someone kept a bag that a new comforter came in and used it for their child’s camp bedding.  Terrific idea.
  4. Pack a clip on fan to clip to their bed.  I wish someone had invented those things when I was a kid.  One vivid memory of camp I have is just how hot it was.  It wasn’t bad during the day because we were out having fun, but lying in bed at night sweating was no fun.
  5. Stationary, addressed and stamped envelopes, and pens.  My friend told me not to be surprised if I don’t get too many letters or if they are very short.  It’s likely that he is having too much fun to take the time to write, and in the event I do get a letter that sounds like he is sad and homesick – by the time I read it, he will be long past that.

But knowing how I am about being clean and tidy, my friend left me with a few words of wisdom – “He will survive a lack of showers and not brushing his teeth for a week or two.  Every kid does it, and it is one of the many fun things about going to camp – getting to break mom’s rules.” 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Summer-Related Products and Their Impact on Clothing

My son starts his summer break next week, and the following week we head to Nags Head, North Carolina.  I can’t wait.  I love summer – warm (sometimes hot) weather, long days, spending lots of time outside, and the overall laid back feeling.  But summer weather, specifically the products we use to make ourselves more comfortable during summer, can take a toll on our clothes.  Below are some tips on three commonly used summer products. 
  1. Antiperspirant and deodorant many times contain aluminum chlorohydrate which tends to build up in garments over time and will eventually damage the fibers.  To combat this problem, avoid overusing this product and be sure to let it completely dry before dressing.  Also, wash or dry clean your garments as soon as possible after wearing.   
  2. Sunscreen and suntan lotion, if they come in contact with your clothes, can cause staining or
    color loss, and it may not appear until after you wash your clothes.  To avoid any issues, we suggest that you follow the directions on the bottle, allow the product to completely dry before getting dressed, and be sure to wash your hands before touching your clothes.
  3. Insect repellents typically won’t cause damage to your clothes, but check the label before using.  Some products contain alcohol, which can cause color loss or a change in color on certain fabrics.  If in doubt, spray on the product and allow it to completely dry before dressing.
If you do get one of these products on your clothes and have concerns, just call or come by your nearest A Cleaner World location.  We are always here to help.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Beet Juice Pants

Mike Taylor, Managing Partner of our A Cleaner World Roanoke Division, runs his own store on Challenger Avenue and supervises the manager of the store located on Brandon Avenue.  Yep, he’s a busy man.  One day several weeks ago, his Brandon Avenue manager was out so he was working in her store, and these just happened to show up:

That’s beet juice.  Two summers ago, Matt planted beets in our garden, and we ended up with a record crop.  He had the brilliant idea that we (me) should can beets, and we (yes he actually helped) did.  It was a messy and smelly task.  I ended up turning a couple nice kitchen towels into cleaning rags, and it took two days for the color to wear off of my hands.  I can only imagine how Mike felt when he saw those pants; he had cleaned his fair share of restaurant aprons but had never seen anything like this.

Mike expressed his concern to the customer, who just simply asked that we try.  The pants were actually part of a suit, and he’d already inquired about purchasing a replacement pair but was told that wasn’t an option.  I’d say it was the customer’s lucky day.  After all, Mike just celebrated 40 years with A Cleaner World.  If anyone could get it out, it would be Mike.

Using a combination of a tannin stain remover and targeted steam, Mike spent the next several hours working on the pants.  Once it appeared that all the beet juice was removed, he ran them through the dry cleaning machine.  After they cycle was complete, he inspected the pants only to find there were a number of small spots remaining, so he just repeated the process a second time, and that took care of the remaining places.  Mike couldn’t tell me how long it took him to get the spill completely out – but let’s just say he didn’t have any down time that afternoon.

When the customer came to pick up the pants, he was simply amazed and incredibly grateful.  Mike had saved him from having to purchase a new suit.  And Mike was pretty pleased too.  In his over 40 years of service with A Cleaner World, dealing with a beet juice stain was a new one even for him.

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