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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Why You Should Give A Kid A Coat

Did you know that children are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults?  Because of this, a child’s body temperature can drop much more quickly than in adults, leading to hypothermia.  Further, newborns are even more susceptible to hypothermia because of their large surface area per unit of body weight, small amount of subcutaneous and brown fat, and inability to shiver. 

How do children avoid hypothermia?

a.  Never leave the house
b.  Move to Florida
c.  Wear the appropriate clothing when going outside during the winter

Silliness aside.  Obviously having your child (or children) wear the appropriate clothing outside during winter would be the choice of every parent, but some parents must make hard choices.  Buy the kids coats or buy food?  Buy the kids coats or pay the heating bill?  Buy the kids coats or pay for medicine?

Here’s where my happy voice comes in.  Not because I’m making light of any difficult situation, but because we have Give A Kid A Coat.  For 31 years, folks in the Triad, Triangle, Roanoke, and Blacksburg have been checking closets for coats their children have either outgrown or no longer wear, and they graciously donate them at any A Cleaner World location.

Generously donated coats piling up in a blue A Cleaner World bin

Coat donations for North Carolina's Needy
Then our fantastic staff cleans, presses, and makes minor repairs to the coats.

A Cleaner World staff member cleans donations so they are ready for new owners

Give a Kid A Coat is one of A Cleaner World's favorite events
The folks at The Salvation Army pick them up, take them to their distribution points, and then are available to help as folks come in to select a coat.
A Cleaner world partners with the Salvation Army to provide warmth to Kids who need it
A Cleaner world can handle any number of size, material or mess
A mixed child with a grey hooded sweater, a new coat and a toy basketball
Down filled coats make for excellent protection from the elements
Our collection of coats grows every year, donate today to help our community stay warm!
Give A Kid A Coat is such a fantastic program not only because it helps keep folks warm in the winter, but also because it just seems to bring out the best in everyone.  Neighbors that donate coats walk away with a warm feeling; staff members that work hard to pull the campaign together, clean coats, or distribute coats happily work extra hours knowing how the coats bless others; and those that receive coats, well just looking at the photos tells you all you need to know.

The 2018 Give A Kid A Coat campaign kicks off at the A Cleaner World located at 2527 Eastchester Drive on Friday, January 5 and runs through February 10.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Common Holiday Table Cloth Stains

Red and White Tablecloths require very different cleaning processes
There are so many wonderful things that surround any holiday, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, July 4th, or even a birthday, and that’s the fun and fellowship with family and friends around the dinner table.  There’s nothing better than sitting down at a long table, filled with yummy food, surrounded by people that you love, eating, telling stories, and laughing.  Sadly, there’s that moment when we all look around at the damage we’ve done and realize that someone (more likely several someone’s) is going to have to clean up the mess.

We have this standing joke at my parent’s house that whoever messes up mom’s tablecloth first is the one stuck with the job, and the best part is when they get caught making the mess, the catcher yells, “you goobered.”  Then the harassment begins.

Somewhere, someone is going to lose and be stuck with the cleaning up chore, so we’ve compiled a list of common table cloth stains that you may encounter this holiday season and have included tips on how to care for them at home.  Of course, you could always take them to a professional, telling what the stains are at drop off, so you don’t have to mess with them.  After all, we remove these sorts of stains all the time.
  1. Candle Wax – First, let me just point out that one way of avoiding getting candle wax on your nice table cloth is to not place and light candles on your table cloth.  We generally advise not to place burning candles on flammable surfaces.  But I know that someone somewhere in this world is going to ignore my advice.  In that case, gently lift off the larger pieces, treat with a solvent-based stain remover, and wash in the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric.  Check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
    A glass of red wine is wonderful for the holidays, terrible for your tablecloth
  2. Coffee and wine – Move quickly by blotting with a plain white cloth or paper towel to draw out as much as the liquid as possible. Never rub.  Once the meal is over, rinse the area from the back with cool water, treat with a mild detergent, and launder according to the care label’s directions.  Check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
  3. Salad Dressing – Oil-based stains are difficult to remove at home because grocery store pre-treaters cannot break them down.  Dry cleaning solvent is a degreaser, and any professional dry cleaner can remove this type of stain easily.  If you are determined to get this one out on your own, try treating the area with a liquid detergent that contains a degreaser, launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
  4. Cranberry – Rinse the area from the back with cool water, then treat with a mild detergent and white vinegar before washing.
Two words of caution here.  First, time is of the essence; it is best to wash stained items or take them to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible.  The longer you let stains sit, the more difficult they are to remove.  Second, don’t try too many attempts at stain removal before taking it to a professional; it is possible to try too many times and ultimately pull the color from the item or damage the fibers.  Once that happens, there’s no fixing it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How to Care for Christmas Tree Skirts

I am not emotionally attached to our Christmas tree skirt.  I can’t tell you where or when I purchased it; likely because I picked it up right after Christmas when it was on clearance.  But for some folks, their Christmas Tree skirt is a valuable, sentimental treasure perhaps because it is a family heirloom, a special gift, or an unusually expensive purchase.  Whatever the reason, Christmas tree skirts, even if they were purchased on clearance, should be handled with care.

Unfortunately, there are no step-by-step instructions when it comes to caring for Christmas tree skirts.  Because they are typically embellished with beads, sequins, lace, felt, quilted, multicolored prints, and decorative trims, they cannot be safely laundered or dry cleaned.  Eventually they will get dirty, especially if you have a live tree or perhaps a critter that likes to lay underneath your tree.  So
A Christmas Tree skirt under the tree, sans gifts, plus beagle
here are a few things you can do at home to keep your Christmas tree skirts looking festive:
  • Always follow the directions on the care label.
  • If you spill water on your tree skirt, carefully blot the area dry with a clean, white cloth or paper towel.
  • If you need to remove a stain or spill, test an inconspicuous area before attempting to remove the actual stain to see if there is any color bleeding or color loss.
  • Local stain removal treatments may be the only safe way to clean tree skirts, and it is possible that stains may not be able to be removed without damaging the skirt.
If you have questions or need help with your Christmas tree skirt, bring it by one of our locations to see if our stain removal experts can help. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Purchasing and Caring for Down Items

A large white freshly cleaned down comforter
In March we wrote on caring for bedspreads but heavily insulated comforters, sleeping bags, and garments can pose a challenge to clean thoroughly. Down, a natural product, and fiberfill, a polyester fill, are both terrific products to help keep you warm; the problem comes in when the item is poorly constructed. This is especially true when it comes to inadequate quilting because that can cause the filling to move around or lose its shape. 

What specifically should you look for when purchasing down items?  Below are some tips:
  1. Check the quilting.  Quilting stitches should run vertically and horizontally with quilting lines about 8” – 10” apart.
  2. Check the construction.  Make sure the stitching strength is strong.  If the stitching is loose, then the down or fiberfill will shift.
  3. Check for fullness.  Thicker filling means more insulation.
We recommend taking down and fiberfill items to a professional dry cleaner for two reasons.  First, A Cleaner World’s staff has been trained in the best practices for bedding and to say we have experience handling these items would be an understatement. Second, many times down and fiberfill items are large and bulky, which can lead to overfilling, spills, and sections that weren’t fully saturated by detergent.       

If you choose to care for down and fiberfill items at home, we recommend the following:
  1. Follow the instructions on the care label.  Keep in mind that these items might take a longtime to air dry.  If the care label indicates that it is safe, tumble dry keeping the temperature below 140 °F (medium heat) to prevent shrinking.
  2. Always clean the item and repair any tears, snags, or broken fasteners before storing it away for the season. 
  3. Never put it away before it is completely dry; doing so will lead to mold and mildew issues. 
  4. Store in a cool, dry, dark space that isn’t subject to extreme temperature changes. 
  5. Finally, don’t compress the item or place it in plastic bags while in storage.
Of course, A Cleaner World is always available to answer any questions about down and fiberfill garments, comforters, and sleeping bags, or any garment for that matter.  Simply call or stop by one of our locations.  We are always here to help.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Caring for Sweaters

Me in a gray knit sweater with an ACW expert
I have oodles of sweaters; that’s because I am forever cold.  In the spring and summer, I carry around a cardigan sweater, that matches my outfit of course, because I freeze in the air conditioning.  In the fall and winter, I wear multiple layers, usually ending with some sort of sweater on top.  But not only do I love sweaters because they keep me warm, I also love them because of the variety and style they can add to any ensemble.

There are so many styles and fabrics out there plus many sweaters have decorative trims and embellishments; therefore, sweaters require special attention.  If you have a sweater with trims like suede, leather, snakeskin, fur, sequins, or beads, we suggest you take it to a professional for cleaning or at the very least for advice before cleaning it on your own for the first time; many of these features require special attention.

If you’d like to care for your sweaters at home, we recommend using these general guidelines:
  • Before washing or dry cleaning, check your sweater for any unraveling, fraying, and loose yarns and have the problem mended before cleaning.  Proceeding with cleaning before mending any issues could lead to further unraveling or damage.
  • Always follow the instructions on the sweater’s care label.
  • If the care label indicates it is fine to tumble dry, then do so on the lowest temperature possible.  If not, then lay the sweater out flat to dry.
  • As with any garment, always treat stains immediately.
  • If you are concerned about shrinkage, make a pattern of the sweater by tracing its outline on a piece of brown paper.  This will allow it to be blocked back to its original size should it shrink.
  • Never put a wool sweater (or any garment for that matter) away wet.  First allow it to dry at room temperature, away from heat, then brush with the nap.
  • To store sweaters, either fold them over a strut hanger or fold and place in a drawer or on a shelf.  Never hang a sweater from the shoulders; the weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch.
If you need help caring for your sweaters, feel free to stop by one of our locations.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we will, of course, be there to provide the best care for all your garments, including your sweaters.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5 Ways to Help Reduce Clutter

Son Gray with a yellow kids stethoscope to add yet more clutter
A few weeks ago, Matt’s dad was in the hospital; Gray and I were visiting when a nurse came in and offered to show Gray around and answer any questions he might have.  I loved that he really wanted to go see other patients, check out the monitors, and ask questions.  But then the thought occurred to me; the last time this happened, he came home with a pile of hospital supplies.  Sure enough, it happened again.  More stuff. More clutter.

With two ‘collectors’ in my house, I am forever battling clutter.  Here are some tactics I use to help reduce clutter in my home:
  1. Just say no.  My first tip is – don’t let the stuff come into your house.  Unless you are absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt sure that you cannot live without it and will use it every day of your life, then don’t even bring it home.  If you haven’t had this widget before and didn’t miss it, chances are you can live without it now.  I say no to my child – a lot.
  2. Purge.  If it did make it into your house, then how often do you use it?  If I use something regularly, say weekly, then it has a home, like a cabinet or closet, somewhere in our house.  If it is a few times a year, then it goes in the storage room off the bonus room or in our shop.  If I haven’t used it in over two years, I donate it.
  3. Get rid of multiples.  I once asked my husband, ‘How many blade screwdrivers does a man need?’  He turned around and asked me, ‘How many pairs of khaki pants does one woman need?’  Point taken.  I am down to three pair.
  4. One in, one out.  I’ve mentioned in past blog posts that I adopted this plan, but in particular, I really apply it when it comes to home décor and my clothing.   
  5. Evaluate your décor.  I don’t have tons of knick-knacks, photos, and mementos on display.  Limiting the number of things you have out helps keep the room from looking cluttered; it also helps when it comes to cleaning time – less to dust.
To me, clutter=chaos=stress; the less clutter in our home, the more relaxed I am.  If you have tips on how you keep your home clutter-free, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and G+.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Cleaner World is More Than a Dry Cleaner

A Man buttoning the top button on a very white shirt in a very white background
Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually cut my explanation short by saying ‘I’m a blogger’.  If the person seems interested, then I provide a little more information by saying something like ‘I do social media marketing for a family-owned dry-cleaning chain that has stores in North Carolina and Virginia.’  Most of the time, unless we are at a function that requires you to sit around and chat, that’s about as far as I get.  But recently I found myself talking in great detail about A Cleaner World and my job.  That’s when I figured out that I’d been selling myself and my company short.

The thing is, A Cleaner World is way more than a dry cleaner.  Sure, we take in dirty clothes, remove the stains, press them into crisp perfection, and return them in pretty packaging, but have you thought about A Cleaner World in the following three ways?
Khakis being folded after proper cleaning and pressing at A Cleaner World

  • Image Maker – Have you ever placed a pair of khakis that you ironed next to a pair of khakis that A Cleaner World professionally finished?  The difference is astounding, and that’s because the two processes are completely different.  (Follow the link on professionally finished to find out how.)  You know, we all have our own individual style, but stop and think about how you feel when what you are wearing is crisp, clean, and professional looking versus looking a bit disheveled.  A Cleaner World takes disheveled and turns it into wow, bumping your individual style to a crisp, clean, personal brand. 
  • Time Saver – The one thing we all seem to run short of is time.  Ironing is one of my least favorite tasks, and it seems I’m not alone.  I checked several sites and found relatively close numbers on all, stating that 70-76% of the population claims to hate ironing.  When I take my clothes to A Cleaner World, I drop them off dirty and then pick them up in impeccable condition – no more ironing!  It’s not just ironing, check out all the ways A Cleaner World saves you time: folded dress shirts, replaced buttons, alterations & repairs, wedding gown cleaning and preservation, uniform rental & commercial services, rug cleaning, and fire restoration.
  • Happiness Maker – Along the lines of no more ironing and other time-stealing tasks, several articles came out in August sharing the fact that ‘Money Can Buy You Happiness.’  The study showed that people that do spend money on time-saving services are less stressed and more satisfied overall.  Who knew that having to care for your clothes could dampen your mood?
A gentleman in a navy suit and tie with matching handkerchief
Stop by one of our locations to see how we can help you create a personal brand, save you some time, and, most importantly, make you incredibly happy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

E-mail from A Cleaner World

An email logo with an orange arrow and a letter with the word email in big bold orange letters
Recently, I had a customer fill my ear with compliments about the service she’d received at one of our stores.  She was pleased with the quality of the cleaning and finishing, loved the staff, and was touched by the dog treat for her dog.  But the thing she went the craziest over?  She loved getting an e-mail from the store letting her know that her order was ready.

You might be wondering why you’re not being notified that your order is ready when you already receive e-mails weekly for Wild Wednesday reminders and our monthly newsletters.  That’s because they come from two different sources.  I thought, given the questions we’ve received lately, that it might be a good idea to explain how the whole thing works.

E-mails from wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com

Wild Wednesday reminders are sent out mid-morning every Monday, and they tell you what the week’s special is going to be.  Monthly newsletters are sent out toward the beginning of each month, and they contain helpful information on garment care, fashion, and current events as well as a coupon.  Both are sent via an e-mail marketing platform with the e-mail address wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.  To sign up, click this link, and if after signing up you find you don’t want to receive them anymore, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any of the e-mails.

E-mails from customerservice@acleanerworld.com  (or alan@acleanerworld.com, mike@acleanerworld.com, steve@acleanerworld.com, michael@acleanerworld.com)

These e-mails are sent from the store you visit.  If you aren’t signed up with your store and would like to be, simply tell the CSR at your location, and they can take care of signing you up.  Once you are signed up, you’ll receive e-mails like these:
  • Notifying you that your order is ready
  • Giving you the option to have your invoice and receipt e-mailed to you
  • Reminders if your orders have been in the store more than 30 and 60 days
  • $5 Free dry-cleaning coupon sent to you on your birthday
If after signing up you find you don’t want to receive these e-mails, you can simply click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the e-mails.

Finally, we value your privacy, so we’ll never share your personal information with anyone.  We also value your business and care about what you think. If you have a good experience with our staff, give them a shout-out on Yelp. If you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions you’d like personally handled you can always e-mail me at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Importance of Clean Bedding

A beige bedspread under half-open windows. There are flowers on the sill and the bed is not-quite-made
There are so many factors that lead to a terrible night’s sleep – too much alcohol, a heavy meal, lighting, temperature, noise, children in bed with you.  The list goes on, but did you know that sleeping on clean sheets can help you get a better night’s rest?  Check out these results from a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation:
  • 78% of the respondents agreed that they are more excited to go to bed on sheets with a fresh scent
  • 85% of people reported improved sleep
  • 86% stated the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding is an important part in getting a good night’s sleep
  • Only 62% stated that they change their sheets at least weekly or more often
  • A Yahoo survey found that only 16% said they wash their sheets only once a month
So why is all this the case?  The short answer is ‘I don’t know,’ but here’s what happens when you don’t wash your sheets often enough and hopefully the information in the next paragraph will be an excellent motivator.

Your body does some crazy things; for instance, it sheds around a million skin cells per day, has more germs on it than people in the United States, naturally secretes oils, and has a built-in mechanism to help you cool down -- called sweat.  In fact, a Wall Street Journal Online report reported that one person can perspire as much as a liter in one night.  These things, when left on sheets for an extended period, can put you at risk for infections, viruses, acne, and induced asthma symptoms.  In addition, dust mites feed off dead skin cells; these little creatures live, die, and reproduce in bed sheets.
Now that you are motivated, here’s how you go about properly caring for your bed sheets:
  • Before washing, read the care labels to ensure there aren’t special instructions to follow. 
  • Just as with your clothes, sheets can bleed onto lighter color fabric, so be sure to separate by color.
  • Wash with the hottest temperature setting listed on the care label; hot water kills most germs and will also kill dust mites.  Cotton sheets can handle hot water while polyester blends need to be washed in warm water.
  • Sunshine is a both a natural disinfectant and a natural brightener, so instead of throwing your sheets in the dryer, consider hanging them outside to dry.   
  • Several years ago, I poked fun at my mom for ironing sheets, but the truth is doing so will help kill the last of the germs and will also make them easier to fold and store.
  • To efficiently store your sheets, place the folded set inside one of its matching pillowcases and store them in the room in which they will be used.  It is best to store them in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. 
  • To help your sheets last longer, consider having more than one set so that you can rotate them.
As always we are here to help, so if you have questions about caring for your sheets, stop by any one of our locations or send me an e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Trick-or-Treat Safely

When I was a kid, Halloween was easy.  You just threw together a homemade costume, told your parents where you were going, and started walking down the street.  Not today.  Either you are concerned about keeping your children safe or, like us, you live out in the middle of nowhere.  Today there are so many things to think about for just a couple hours of candy collecting, and each year, I seem to learn more and more about what not to do.  Like for instance the year I let Gray talk me into letting him be a ghost.

A Child in a bedsheet ghost costume with an orange pumpkin, ready to hunt for candy

That violated half the tips I’m about to share.  Thankfully, that was one of the years that we just trick-or-treated Matt’s office.
  1. Costume Safety: Avoid letting them wear masks, and make sure other accessories aren’t blocking their vision.  Check the costume’s length to avoid tripping hazards.  If the costume isn’t reflective, consider adding some reflective tape.  Have them carry a flashlight, and make sure they wear comfortable shoes.
  2. Driving Safety: Be alert, use care when going through neighborhoods, and never take your eyes off the road.  Put your iPhone away.
  3. Pedestrian Safety: If there are sidewalks, then walk on them.  If not, then walk against traffic and stay as close to the curb as possible.  Look right and left before crossing the road, and only cross at intersections.  Carry a flashlight and be aware of your surroundings.
  4. Candy: Only visit homes where the light is on and of those that you know.  Go through your child’s candy collection before allowing them to eat any.  Throw away anything that is not commercially wrapped, has an unusual appearance, or has a torn or discolored wrapper.
If you do have the option to trick-or-treat an office, a mall, or trunk-or-treat, I highly recommend doing that.  The environment is safe, they always get plenty of candy, and typically there’s lots of other fun stuff going on as well.  Whatever you choose, we hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Organizing Your Closet

A Tie rack with two clean ties and a belt
There are so many things I love about our house, but the closet in the master bedroom is not one of them.  In fact, the closet in Gray’s room is bigger than the closet in our room.  If I could ask the builders of our house one question, it would be: “What in the world were you thinking when you put such a small closet in the master bedroom?”

Because the closet is so small (and I am required to share it), I’ve developed the following strategy:
  1. Store out-of-season clothing somewhere else.  Twice a year, I make certain all my out-of-season clothes have been washed or dry cleaned, and I move them to the upstairs guest room closet.  I then move my in-season clothes downstairs to the master bedroom closet.  While this does take a couple hours on a Saturday twice a year, it provides me with a great opportunity to purge.  As I am moving clothes, I evaluate garments and shoes and always have several things I can donate.  But the bottom line here is, if I don’t use it regularly then it goes upstairs in the guest room closet.
  2. Make use of every inch of space. On the back of the door, we hung a tie/belt rack so that Matt could hang his ties and we both could hang our belts.  There was one wall that was simply dead space, so Matt put in some narrow shelves for sweaters and such.  On the opposite wall, there were bars for hanging clothes up high and down low, so Matt installed a long shelf in-between and up high, so now I have space for shoes.
    Closet Shelving
  3. Strategically hang things together.  Some people like to pair outfits together while others place like items or like colors together; I do a hybrid.  There are certain outfits that stick together, and they all go in one location.  The rest of my items I group together by type, then color, so all my tops are hung together and then in color order starting with the lightest and then going to the darkest.  This helps when I am putting together an outfit, and it also helps prevent sublimation of dyes, which occurs when light garments are stored with dark garments and nitrogen gas causes dark dyes to redeposit on light garments.
If you are light on closet space, you could give these tips a try.  Another option would be to store your out-of-season clothing at A Cleaner World.  Both storage and insurance are free. You only pay the regular cleaning charges at pick up.  If you have tips on how you make the most of your limited closet space, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

6 Ways to Transition Your Summer Wardrobe into Fall

A woman in a dark denim jacket, white under-shirt and flowing black skirt
A year ago, we posted a blog with a very similar title, but the topic was geared toward properly storing away your summer clothing to make room for your fall and winter items.  In the post, I mentioned that I like summer clothes far better than winter clothes, and that got me to thinking that I should figure out a way to get more use out of my favorite summer items.

I’ve never been one of those super-trendy people; I tend to migrate toward good-quality classic pieces.  Plus following every trend can be difficult on your pocketbook.  These tips can work with whatever your style – trendy or classic.
    A woman in a black horizontally-striped dress in black leggings and boots
  1. Get more wear out of your favorite sleeveless dresses by adding a cardigan or blazer and pair of closed-toed shoes.  Another great trick is to wear a ¾ length or long sleeve blouse or top under your sleeveless dress.
  2. The same thing holds true for your maxi dresses; keep them out a bit longer and pair them with a chunky sweater or a chambray shirt.
  3. Adding tights or leggings to your summer skirts, dresses, and tunics will extend their wearable life as well.
  4. Mix a bright bottom, like a pair of hot pink pants, with a white blouse and black blazer.
  5. Boots are a fantastic way to make summer pieces functional and fit the season. 
  6. A leather or jean jacket goes with any outfit and can help as the weather gets cooler.
It would be tons of fun to purchase a new wardrobe every season, but taking existing pieces from your current wardrobe and mixing and matching to create new looks could be lots of fun and will allow you to save a bit so that you could perhaps purchase a few special things.
What tips do you have to help transition into a new season?  Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Selecting and Caring for your Dress Shirt

A man buttoning the final button in a white button-down
The dress shirt is an important staple in every man’s wardrobe, and every guy has his preference on what he likes.  For instance, my husband is incredibly picky about his dress shirts, especially when it comes to the amount of starch; he likes his shirts to be able to stand up on their own, but in order for his shirts to do that, he needs to purchase a shirt that’s 100% cotton.  Given that he was purchasing a poly blend and was unhappy with how little starch they held, I thought it might be a good time to share some information so that you can both choose and care for your perfect shirt.

Fabric and structure: 
  • If you are like Matt and like your shirts to be rather stiff, then 100% heavyweight cotton is the way to go.  The thickness and weight of the fabric determines how much starch the shirt will hold, and heavyweight 100% cotton shirts are the only shirts that can be heavily starched.  In addition, oxford weaves allow for heavier starching than finer pinpoints.       
  • If you are a hot-natured person, choose natural fibers like cotton and silk because they breathe well.  Keep in mind that silk is more difficult to care for than cotton, and of course, there is no starching with silk. 
  • Finally, when purchasing, check for quality.  Look for things like a symmetrical, straight collar; removable collar stays; a split yoke; neat, tight side stitching; cleanly finished button holes, tightly sewn buttons, and spare buttons; hand-sewn cuffs; patterns that match; and a small button at the sleeve placket.   
Caring for your perfect shirt:         
An array of dress shirts in order from darkest to lightest

  • Rotate your dress shirts regularly to reduce the amount of wear they receive.
  • Wash your dress shirt after each wearing to avoid perspiration and deodorant stains, cologne stains, ring around the collar, and overall dull looking shirts.
  • Keep in mind that heavy use of starch can impact the life of your shirts over time because the starch residue settles in the shirts, which eventually causes the threads to break and fray.
  • A beard or five o’clock shadow rubbing on the collar can reduce the life of your dress shirt.
  • Watches and jewelry can cause fraying, especially along the cuff area.
If you feel like your dress shirts need a bit of extra attention, just drop them off at any A Cleaner World location.  We’ll gladly give them the care and attention they deserve to look like new again.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Life Expectancy Guide for Household Textiles

A clean yellow and white bed with matching bedside lamps
The American National Standards Institute, Inc. approved the Fair Claims Guide for Consumer Textile Products. Not only does the standard provide guidelines for determining liability for claims adjustments for textile products, it also provides a life expectancy chart for household textiles.  Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines; the life expectancy can vary depending on the durability of the material, if the material is preshrunk or pretreated for stains, if the material is resistant to light fading, and how much care is provided to the item. 

Proper care is important when it comes to extending the attractiveness of our textiles.  Be sure to follow these guidelines when caring for your items:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.
  • Just as you do with your garments, be sure to also clean all household textiles before storing them away.
  • Be sure to address stains and spills as soon as they occur to ensure a greater likelihood that they will be removed.
  • Don’t allow items to become extremely soiled before cleaning.  The heavier the soil, the less likely it is that it can all be removed.
  • Repair tears and damage immediately.
  • Protect textiles (and furniture) from sunlight.
Life Expectancy Guide

A clean stack of white towels with grey accentsBedspreads: 6 years
Blankets - Heavy wool & synthetic fibers: 10 years
Blankets - Lightweight: 5 years
Blankets - Electric: 5 years
Comforters: 5 years
Comforters - Down: 5 years
Curtains - Sheer: 3 years
Curtains - Glass fiber: 3 years
Draperies - Lined: 5 years
Draperies - Unlined: 4 years
Draperies - Sheer: 3 years
Draperies - Glass fiber: 4 years
Sheets and pillow cases: 2 years
Slipcovers: 3 years
Table linens - Fancy: 5 years
Table linens - Other: 2 years
Towels: 3 years
Upholstery fabrics: 5 years
Articles coated or flocked: 2 years

The information in this post was provided by Drycleaning & Laundry Institute’s Consumer News You Can Use.  If you have questions about a particular item of yours, please feel free to contact us via e-mail at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com or stop by or call one of our locations and speak with a manager.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Flattening Out a New Rug

An office rug, below a couch, large window's light and built-in desk with chair
Recently, Matt and I redecorated and refurnished my home office.  It’s something I’d been wanting to do for a long time given that I work from home, had a desk that was entirely too small, and hated looking up only to see the circuit breaker boxes right above me as I typed.  I wanted a ‘girl cave’; a place where I could escape not only to work but to also read and have alone time.  Thankfully, I am married to a very gifted craftsman, and he built me a custom desk with built-in shelving, not only so that I could spread out while I work but to also cover those hideous boxes with something both useful and cute.

Within my new digs, I also decided to put in a loveseat, make a window seat, and add a new rug.  As I was wrapping up the work on my new space, the new rug was giving me fits.  First, I was placing it on top of carpet; Matt drew the line at pulling out the carpet and putting in hardwood floors, so I was not only dealing with the creases and rolls but also having it bunch up under items.

A close-up of a brown striped rug's corner folded under

If you’ve added a new rug to your home, you know what I’m talking about.  You have a vision of your redesigned room in your head, but the rug won’t lay flat, has folds in the middle or curls at the end.  Of course, you could always show some patience and let everything relax on its own, but if you want things to move along a bit faster, try these 4 tips to help new rugs flatten out faster:
  1. Try laying the rug outside in the sun, if the temperature is between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit, for a couple hours to allow the fibers to relax a bit.
  2. If the rug is still curling after sitting in the sun, you could reverse roll or reverse fold it, while it’s still warm.
  3. If the first two steps don’t work, you could spread the rug out and place heavy items or furniture on the rug to try and speed up the process.
  4. Finally, if all else fails, call A Cleaner World Carpet Cleaning at 336-804-0045, to see if it is possible to have the rug steamed to help with relaxing the fibers.  This will also give our professional staff the opportunity to examine the rug to see if there might be an underlying reason as to why the wrinkles, folds, or curls might not come out.
As always, please feel free to contact A Cleaner World Carpet Cleaning if you have any rug related questions.  We are happy to help.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Repetitive Wardrobe Syndrome

If there were a support group for this, I’d be a member; my closet is an endless array of khaki pants, jeans, and white t-shirts and tops.  And while I mix and match all my stuff, because I own so many of the same thing or the same thing just in different colors, I may think it is a different outfit, but it all looks the same.  Then there’s the fact that I own almost no jewelry, and if I’m not wearing my Sketchers flip flops in warm weather, then I’m wearing my Sketchers slip-ons when it’s chilly. 

Numerous articles say most women wear 20% of the clothes in their closet; that can cause Repetitive Wardrobe Syndrome but so can having lots of the same things.  If you only wear 20% of what’s in your closet, then that’s an easy fix.  But what if you are like me and own so many of the same thing?  How do you fix that?  This is where a personal shopper or shopping assistant comes in handy, and I bet if you stop and think about it, you probably know someone that dresses with a bit of flair.  Why not ask him or her to go shopping with you?  After all, we all love spending someone else’s money.
  • Suggestion 1: Ask your friend to help you put together an outfit, one that you will wear, that’s a little bit edgy.  Because all your clothes look the same, you can’t throw this one in and wear it twice a week, so to get some more mileage out of it, wear it to work, then find another event to wear it for, then wait two weeks and wear it to the office again.
  • Suggestion 2: Let your friend pick out one or two flashy pieces that you can wear with multiple items.  For instance, you could pair a fun jacket or blazer with a skirt for work and then wear it again with a pair of jeans for a weekend event.
  • Suggestion 3:  Consider purchasing a few accessories like a chunky necklace or a pair of colorful pumps.  Ask your friend to help you pair them with some of your simple or basic pieces to add a little bit of flair.
These are a few suggestions if you are feeling like a change, but honestly if you are happy, then stop worrying.  This woman has worn the same outfit for over a year and no one has seemed to notice.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Top 5 Causes of Color Loss on Garments

Here they are and in no particular order:
  1. Beauty and household products can contain alcohol, bleach, and other substances that could lead to color loss.  Use care when applying perfume, hairspray, lotion, and deodorant; A Cleaner World recommends that you apply these items before you dress, allowing them to completely dry or be absorbed before putting on garments.  In addition, use caution around pool water and when using cleaners with bleach, ammonia, or peroxide as these too can remove the color from your clothing.
  2. Failing to follow the garment’s care label could cause color loss, so be sure to follow the care label.  If there are instructions that specify that the garment be washed with similar colors, separately, or in cold water, that could indicate that the garment’s dye is unstable.  In addition, garments that are red or pink will likely bleed during washing, so wash these items with similar colors in cold water to minimize color loss and dye transfer.  Finally, clean all the pieces of a matching outfit at the same time to avoid any color discrepancies.
  3. Allowing a spot, spill, or perspiration sit on a garment too long before cleaning is a huge problem when it comes to color loss or color discrepancy.  Always address spills and stains as soon as possible.  If a stain is left untreated, it can begin to react with the fabric causing the fabric to change colors.  When the stain is finally removed, the fabric where the stain once was is now a different color.
  4. Exposure to intense lighting, including improperly storing garments, could lead to color
    loss.  In past blog posts, we’ve discussed color loss or fading by addressing how black garments seem to fade, and how certain colors and fabrics, in conjunction with outdoor activities, can lead to sun damage.  But you also need to remember to store garments away from natural and artificial light; a cool, dark closet is a good place for storage.
  5. A manufacturer’s defect could also be the cause of color loss, and if that is the case, even properly following the care label won’t help.  An example of this might be if the manufacturer uses fugitive dyes, which are not colorfast to cleaning solutions or water and will fade after the first cleaning or washing.  If this occurs, your professional dry cleaner can send the garment off to the International Textile Analysis Laboratory for an unbiased analysis of the garment.  If you purchase a garment that you suspect may have color problems, your professional dry cleaner can test it for colorfastness.  If the test shows that the colors may bleed, you could return it to the retailer.    

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Clean Matching Pieces Together

My husband has a pair of suit pants that he really likes, so he tends to wear them as a separate with just a dress shirt.  Every time he does this, I fuss at him.  “You know,” I’ll say, “you’re going to have those pants cleaned a couple times and suddenly they won’t match the suit jacket anymore.”  He always dismissed the idea until recently when he went to wear the pants and jacket as an ensemble and low and behold, there was a slight color variation between the jacket and pants. 

We all have suits and matching outfits that we tend to mix and match with other pieces, and that’s okay.  But professional dry cleaners for years have said, whether you wear all the pieces or not, to have all matching pieces cleaned together.  Here’s a little insight:
  • Quality standards vary from country to country, so cleaners are never sure of what types of dyes or sizing are being used by the manufacturer.
  • When all pieces are cleaned together, the color, sheen, and fabric texture will remain consistent.
  • This doesn’t just apply to suits; it applies to all fabric items – clothing, bedding, window treatments, etc.
  • It also doesn’t apply to just dry clean only items; it also applies to things you might wash in the washing machine like sweater sets, pillow covers, and bedding.
If you have questions or concerns about caring for matching pieces, feel free to contact us or stop by one of our locations.  We are happy to help.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why Wear a Slip?

A flowing white petticoat with many ruffles on a mannequin
What started out as a petticoat, an undergarment that was designed to support the shape of a dress many moons ago, eventually morphed into what is known today as a slip.  My mom taught me to wear a slip when I was just a young girl, and that habit has stuck with me.  Apparently slips are not worn nearly as much today as they were a few decades ago.  While many skirts and dresses now come lined, there are also those that don’t believe slips are necessary because all that can be seen is just the outline of a woman’s legs.
I tend to disagree, so I am here to make the case for bringing the slip back:
  1. Slips help garments hang properly.  Sadly, not every fabric hangs properly against the skin.  For example, wool can feel somewhat rough and cause chafing; a slip will help guard against that.  Rayon, cotton, and spandex blends all either ride up or cling to the skin, sometimes resulting in static cling; wearing a slip will allow skirts and dresses made with those materials to hang nicely. 
  2. Slips help with modesty.  As mentioned above, some materials tend to cling, and as a result, when you wear that jersey skirt or dress without a slip, those around you can see the outline of your unmentionables……and other things.  Plus, if a hearty wind whips around, you have an extra layer of protection.  Just ask Queen Elizabeth what she thought of Kate’s lack of decorum.
  3. Slips are worn for protection.  In the winter, they can provide added warmth, and in extreme heat, they can protect fine fabrics from perspiration.
    A simple black slip on a mannequin
There are all kinds of slips out there, and I find that a lot of it comes down to personal preference.  Should you get a full slip?  A half-slip?  Just a camisole?  I have all three and in various lengths, but I will admit that I get the most use out of a nude-color, plain, above the knee, half-slip.  When you are shopping for a slip, keep these things in mind:
  • Stick with something that is either nude in color or flesh-tone.
  • Be mindful of any lace or decorations on slips as many times they can be seen through the fabric of certain garments.
  • You may want to consider purchasing more than one in various lengths to avoid having it hang down below the hem of your dress.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dogs and Laundry

A Beagle who got a hold of a white sock
I forgot how gross dogs can be; they roll in poop, eat worms and bugs, and drag around dirty underwear, and yet we still love them like crazy.  Does your dog have a thing for laundry?  Ours does.  In particular, she loves stealing socks.  Matt throws his socks in the corner, and it doesn’t take any time for them to appear chewed up on the living room floor.  If I’m folding laundry and leave several pairs of socks balled up on the bed – even just for a couple minutes – I have to go searching for them.  Once we gave her a pair of Angry Bird socks that Gray had outgrown, and you’d thought we’d given her a giant steak.  She was beside herself excited.

There are several reasons why dogs take to laundry …….
  1. Scent.  We all, including our dogs, have our own scent.  Dogs are pack animals, but since they’ve been domesticated, being part of the family equals being a part of a pack to them.  One way of being a part of the family is to get your scent on them from your dirty clothes or to put their scent on your clean clothes.  In addition, a dog’s sense of smell is approximately 40 times stronger than ours.  Laundry, whether clean or dirty, is awfully appealing to them.  Until I started this blog I thought of it as annoying, but now I think of it as endearing.  She really does love us. 
  2. Boredom.  When we first got Macy, she had a bed full of toys, but it hasn’t taken her long to go through her toys and destroy most of them.  All that’s left are a couple of chew bones and a tennis ball, so she roams through the house looking for stuff.  Because I like to have everything in its own place, she doesn’t find much…..but on occasion I leave the laundry room door cracked or Gray doesn’t put his clothes away and of course, there’s Matt’s sock corner. 
  3. Thrill.  So I catch her with a sock and immediately I’m fussing at her; she turns it into a game by running, darting, and taunting me while carrying a sock.  Apparently this is all part of their ploy to both entertain themselves and get attention.  Bottom line is to keep things out of reach.
According to lots of online articles out there, bored dogs are the ones that tend to get into things.  There are all kinds of articles out there that give tips on how to keep our dogs entertained.  I am including a link from Puppy Leaks on 33 Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy because the video under number 23 of the baby giggling while Fido chases bubbles is totally worth watching.  We spend time with our dog daily, nightly play time and two nice walks a day, but who has time to entertain a dog all day?  My solution, of course, is to simply keep laundry and things picked up.

To learn more about A Cleaner World, visit our website or find us on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Smelly Socks

Simple white socks from wal-mart
My husband does this mean thing to both Gray and me – he’ll take a pair of already worn socks, stick them under our noses, and will ask ‘are these dirty?’  By the stench that fills our noses, we can confidently say yes.  Or we think the answer is yes, but I’ve been known to properly wash, completely dry, and then go to put away his socks only to find that they still don’t smell clean.  Why is that? The answer is one word – bacteria.  A couple years ago, we discussed how often you should wash your towels, and in it, we talked about how dead skin cells collect in the fibers of your towel and serve as food for bacteria.  Bacteria tends to flourish in moist, tightly woven fabrics.  When your socks get wet from things like either feet sweat or wet shoes, the bacteria starts to feed and multiply, ultimately making your socks their home.

Because you can’t always keep your feet from sweating, let’s talk about a few things you can do to help reduce the stink factor in your socks:
  • If your shoes get wet, allow them to dry completely before wearing them again.
  • Keep your shoes as clean as possible.
  • Use odor eating insoles.
  • Stuff dryer fabric sheets inside your shoes when they are not in use.
  • Wear moisture wicking socks.    
  • Make sure your feet are clean and fungus free.
  • Use odor eating powder on your feet.
Once that smell filtrates your socks, a simple washing won’t take away the odor.  Here are some options we recommend trying:
  1. Add two cups of white vinegar at the beginning of the wash along with your detergent and wash and dry your socks as normal.
  2. Place socks in the washing machine, fill with water, add a half a cup of baking soda along with the detergent, and wash as normal.  Baking soda’s odor absorbent abilities will soak up that funky sock smell.
  3. If the socks are completely white, bleach is an option.  Place the socks in the washer, fill with water and detergent, allow the wash cycle to start and then add a cup of bleach.  The bleach will penetrate the fabric and kill the bacteria living in the socks. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Air-Drying Hands versus Using Paper Towels

I like touch-free public restrooms.  In my mind, I think they are cleaner than those where I have to manually flush the toilet, turn on the water, and push a button to get soap.  But when it comes to drying my hands, I don’t like using those automatic air-blowers.  When it’s time to dry my hands, I want to use paper towels; it’s completely a personal preference thing.  I’m impatient, so I never take the time to completely dry my hands when using the air-blowers, plus those things leave my skin feeling dry and needing moisturizer.

Here’s another reason to dislike those air-blowers: I found an article on webmd.com that stated that the air-blower hand dryers in public restrooms may spread more germs than using paper towels.  According to the article, British researchers conducted a study where they placed bacteria on the hands of volunteers, had them wash their hands and dry them using three different methods – warm air-dryers, high powered jet air-dryers, or paper towels.  Afterward, they measured the airborne bacteria levels and found higher amounts of bacteria around both air-dryers, with bacteria levels around the jet air dryers 4.5 times higher than the warm air dryers and 27 times higher than the paper towel holders.  Further, they found that bacteria hung around in the air long after the air-dryers were done being used.

Businesses typically choose air-dryers for drying hands to reduce the amount of time they need to spend replenishing supplies, emptying trash, and servicing their bathrooms, plus they believe they are more environmentally friendly.  But the truth is, you can still be environmentally friendly while using paper towels.  Here’s a start - Mike told me that all the paper that A Cleaner World Commercial Services uses is 100% post-consumer recycled.  Besides purchasing paper towels made from recycled materials, you could also: 
  • Put a separate bin in the restroom to collect paper towels because, while they typically cannot be recycled, they are compostable.  You could compost them yourself or work with a company that does that sort of thing.
  • Use a paper towel dispenser that limits the number of paper towels you can pull at one time.  Here are some options, all of which limit the number of towels dispensed at a time.
A Hand towel machine
Georgia Pacific enMotion® Wall Mount Automated Touchless Towel Dispenser

A Vondrehle Center Pull Dispenser
Vondrehle Center Pull Dispenser
A Vondrehle Mechanical Dispenser
Vondrehle Mechanical Dispenser

  • Provide a paper towel that is thick enough to absorb most of the water so that folks use fewer towels.
  • Finally, all restrooms need regular servicing, and A Cleaner World Commercial Services, with the proper products, can help you reduce the amount of time spent servicing restrooms while keeping them more sanitary.
Depending on what type of business you have, your bathrooms could be used by employees only or both employees and customers.  Doesn’t it make sense to do your best to provide an environment where you reduce the spread of germs?  If your business’s bathrooms need some attention, give Scottie Springer a call at 336-870-6299 or send him a message.  He will be happy to help you reduce the amount of germs and bacteria that gets spread among your employees and around your place of business.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Back to School Preparation

Believe it or not, back-to-school preparation doesn’t begin the week before schools starts back up.  No, it begins, depending upon what part of the country you live in, anywhere from the end of August through mid-October of the prior year when you trade in shorts and t-shirts for jeans and jackets.  What I’m trying to say is that it’s so important to take care of clothing, including storing items away properly, to ensure they will last for more than one season.  Hopefully, you took the time to wash or dry clean everything to make sure invisible stains didn’t have the opportunity to yellow in time or be an attraction to moths or other insects.  We also hope you didn’t store garments in our plastic dry cleaning bags, which are not meant for long-term storage as they can trap moisture inside leading to mildew.   Instead of continuing, I will direct you to a blog we did last year on clothing storage tips so that we can move to present time.  Here’s where we are now:
  • Even if you had your kids try on their summer clothing when you pulled things out of storage, it might be a good idea to perform this exercise again before you head out for back to school shopping; we all know that kids can grow 6” in what seems like just overnight.  Just because it fit when school let out doesn’t mean it still fits.
  • As your kids try on clothes, check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings.
  • Create two groups of clothing per child – one to keep and one to donate. 
  • As you place keep items back into closets and drawers, do two things.  First, organize garments so they are easy to find.  Hopefully this will help with the morning routine and cut down on your name being hollered dozens of times before 7 a.m.  Second, check garments to make sure that no repairs or touch-ups need to be made.  If they do, set them to the side to work on or simply drop them off at one of our locations and point out any issues.
  • Come up with a list of needs by child to help you stay on task and on budget.
  • Before you head out to shop, discuss budget limitations and uniform requirements with your kids to ensure a stress-free shopping experience. 
  • Start shopping now!  Most back-to-school sales begin in mid-July, and the longer you wait, the harder it may be to find needed items. 
  • Finally, don’t forget to ask for the classroom supply list before heading out.  My dad always said it is best to kill two birds with one stone. 
If you have back-to-school shopping or preparation tips that work for you and your family, please feel free to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Picnic Stains

We all know that the purpose of Independence Day is to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and I love the fact most of us celebrate it with a cookout or picnic, time with family and friends, and fireworks.  I have a thing for outdoor meals, especially when they are associated with a holiday; you can do all kinds of theme-related décor and food.  But there are always two things on the menu in the Mitchell home on July 4th – that’s burgers and corn on the cob.  Sadly, when I eat food like that while standing around or sitting on a blanket, I end up spilling something down my shirt.

I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only one that struggles with this, so A Cleaner World has come up with a list of common picnic-related food stains and how to address them.
  1. Ketchup – Gently scrape off the excess and then leave it alone until you can work on it at home; keep in mind that scrubbing a spill pushes it further into the fabric’s fibers.  When you can spend some time on it, flush the area with cold water, running it through from the back side of the garment.  Spray the area with a grocery-store spotting agent and let it soak in for 20 minutes, then launder according to the care label’s directions.  Before placing the garment in the dryer, check to see if the stain has been completely removed.  If not, try soaking in some color-safe bleach before attempting to launder again.  If the stain is still there after the second attempt, then we recommend taking it to a professional.   Too many attempts could pull the color from the garment.
  2. Mustard – Mustard is an incredibly difficult stain to remove with the ingredients of mustard seed, color from turmeric, and liquid; it’s considered a combination stain that usually requires multiple steps. Trying to clean it at home will likely remove the dried-on portion, but the discoloration from the turmeric will remain.  If you want to try at home, here’s what we recommend.  Act quickly, addressing the stain as soon as possible.  Start with removing the excess, then rinse the stain with cold water, working the fabric with your fingers.  Try pouring a small amount of liquid detergent directly on the spill and let it sit for a few minutes.  Rinse and then see how much of the stain remains.  Next try applying a stain remover, letting it sit, and then laundering in cold water with detergent (provided the care label indicates laundering as the preferred method of cleaning).  Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the garment from the washer to see if the stain is still there.  If it is, do not place the item in the dryer as the heat from the dryer will set the stain.  If it is still there, we recommend taking the garment to a professional.
  3. Butter, Grease, Oil – Grocery store pre-treaters cannot break down oil-based stains; dry cleaning solvent is a degreaser, and any professional dry cleaner can remove this type of stain easily.  If you are determined to get this one out on your own, try treating the area with a liquid detergent that contains a degreaser, launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer. 
  4. Mayonnaise – Mayo is oil-based so try the steps in number 3, making sure not to place the garment in the dryer if the stain still persists.
  5. Ice Cream – Carefully remove the excess, then, assuming it is a machine washable garment, wash as soon as possible after the spill.  First, rinse the area with cold water, running the water through from the back of the fabric.  Second, treat the area with a liquid laundry detergent that contains enzymes or a color-safe bleach, and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.  Next, launder according to the care label’s instructions but avoid using hot water.  Finally, check the garment before placing it in the dryer to make sure the stain has been removed. 
Of course, A Cleaner World is always here to assist with any sort of stain challenge.  Just bring your garment by one of our locations, and we’ll be happy to offer advice or clean it for you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Effects of Perspiration and Antiperspirant on Your Clothes

I like working up a good sweat when I run; it makes me feel like I’ve worked really, really hard.  But when I’m finished with my morning run, I shower and dress for the day, and then I’d prefer not to sweat at all again until the next morning’s run.  Unfortunately, given the time of year and the amount of time we spend outside, that’s not likely to happen.  So what do I do?  I load up with antiperspirant – sometimes a couple times in the same day.  This too can be problematic because most antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, a product that is designed to block sweat glands from producing sweat.  As the day wears on your antiperspirant wears down, rubs on your clothes, and eventually fails resulting in perspiration.  Over time, the aluminum salts combine with the minerals in sweat and both penetrate the fabric of your garments and discoloration begins to show.  But not only can perspiration impact the color of your clothes, if left untreated over time, it can actually weaken the fabric’s fibers (which could lead to tears).  Further, some fabrics are more susceptible to damage – like silk – than others.
So it seems we have two problems here; the impact of perspiration on our clothes compounded with the use of antiperspirant.  What do we suggest?
  • We sort of suggest giving up antiperspirant.  Take a look at the ingredients in your antiperspirant, if it contains aluminum chlorohydrate, which tends to clump in cotton and damage fibers, consider switching to another product – like an aluminum-free or neutral pH type of deodorant.
  • Allow your deodorant to dry before dressing, which may help a bit with getting too much of it on your clothes.
  • Wash or dry clean the garment right after wearing to remove as much of the perspiration and antiperspirant as possible.  Fresh perspiration is easier to remove than the dried, caked-on, yellow, crusty, old stuff.   
  • If the stain remains, don’t place the garment in the dryer or iron it; heat will permanently set the stain into the fabric. 
  • There are two soaking options.  First, soak garments in cold water and a dish soap that contains de-greasers straightaway.  After soaking, rinse, and wash according to the care label’s directions.  Second, soaking in a mild color-safe bleach could help, but never use chlorine bleach to try and remove a perspiration stain, particularly on white cotton garments.  The proteins from the sweat will react with the bleach and make the stain darker. 
  • Sadly, there are times when the damage is too much, and the garment is past being restored. 
If you have a garment that’s been adversely affected by perspiration and antiperspirant, please bring it by one of our locations, and let us take a look at it.  We are here to help.
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