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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?

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.
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

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

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.
Georgia Pacific enMotion® Wall Mount Automated Touchless Towel Dispenser

Vondrehle Center Pull 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 d├ęcor 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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wearing a Vintage Wedding Gown

Did you hear about the bride, Abby Curtis that was the 11th bride in her family to wear a lacy Victorian 120 year old couture wedding gown on her wedding day?  It was originally her great-great grandmother’s dress, dating back to 1895.  Talk about some fantastic preservation work.  But she did go on to say, that because of its fragility, she only wore it for the cocktail party and to sign her official marriage license.  I cannot imagine how cool it would be to wear something with so much family history on such a special day.  According to the 2012 American Wedding Study, 46% of brides preserve their wedding dress for their children or grandchildren, and I suspect that number will continue to rise.

So how is wearing a vintage gown different from wearing a new gown? 

  • First, you need to consider what sort of condition it’s in.  Was it stored in an acid-free, museum-quality, archival wedding chest lined with fabric or acid-free tissue or was it covered by a plastic bag and sitting in someone’s closet?  If gowns are not stored in ideal conditions, they are likely to yellow significantly and have discoloration spots.  If you are thinking of wearing a vintage gown, take it to a professional dry cleaner and allow them to inspect it carefully.  After the review, discuss the options with your cleaner before moving forward.
  • Second, proper fit could be an issue.  When selecting a brand new gown, you have the luxury of finding the best size for alterations.  With a vintage gown, there are no sizing options – you start with what you have.  Do some research and find a seamstress that specializes in wedding gown alterations.  Taking the dress in is no problem, but what about letting it out?  There are lots of options here: you can let out seams and darts, add side pieces in the bodice and sleeves from the train, find matching fabric, or remove zippers and add a corset back. 
  • Finally, as with any gown, have it cleaned and preserved by a qualified specialist as soon as possible after your big day; the longer you wait, the less likely it is that all stains and spills can be removed.  My guess is since you’re wearing a vintage gown, then you probably want to keep it.  Then be sure to inspect your gown before it is put into the preservation container, which should be a completely acid-free, museum-quality, archival wedding chest lined with fabric or acid-free tissue.  And once you have the gown home, never store it in an attic or basement where there are extreme temperature changes and humidity.
With the proper care, your gown will remain the well-preserved treasure it is and will be safe, secure, and waiting for the next family bride that wants to wear it on her special day. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day

When I was a little girl, my dad was a member of the local Elks Lodge.  My sister and I spent plenty of time up there while my dad volunteered.  Sometimes it was fun because we got to get a Coke and a bag of M&M’s, and other times it was simply boring because we had to dress up and sit quietly while the adults talked --- for a really, really long time.  Like during the annual Flag Day ceremony; in the eyes of an eight year old little girl, it was torture.  If only I’d understood the significance back then like I do today.

Back then, I had no idea what the Elks Lodge was about; I had no idea about their involvement in Veterans programs, youth programs, and Americanism.  Looking back, it seems altogether fitting that an organization like this would like to acknowledge and show respect for the American Flag and all that it represents.  I searched for a photo of my dad at one of these ceremonies but was unsuccessful; however, my mom and I did find this one at the Elks Lodge in Mount Vernon, Indiana.  He's the handsome dude on the right in the super-cool jacket.


The thing is, you don’t have to be the member of a special organization to show respect for the American Flag.  One of the easiest ways to honor the American Flag and our country, is to keep its colors looking bright and strong, and the best way to do that is to have it regularly cleaned.  But don’t go thinking that you have to do this yourself because A Cleaner World cleans American Flags for free – every day.  We always have; we always will.  If it will fit in the machine, we’ll clean it for you.  No questions asked.  Just check out this huge flag we cleaned at our Thomasville location.


All you have to do is drop it by one of our locations, and we’ll gladly clean it for you and have it ready when promised – at no charge. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

5 Misconceptions about Dry Cleaning

  1. Frequent dry cleaning causes clothes to wear out more quickly.  Actually it’s the opposite.  First, dirt and soil that build up on clothes eventually acts like sandpaper and causes the fibers to wear down more quickly.  Second, products like deodorant, toothpaste, make up, and lotions end up on clothes.  If left for a long time, they can cause discoloration or color loss.  Third, insects are attracted to dirty clothes.  Placing dirty clothes back in your closet is like hanging a neon welcome sign for insects to start munching on dirty fibers.  Finally, spills that are left untreated for a long period of time become part of the fabric.  See number 2 for more information.
  2. All stains can be removed.  We’ve talked about this before and sadly they cannot, for various reasons.  First, a stain left untreated for a long period of time becomes part of the fabric, so if the stain can actually be removed, the fabric where the stain once was is now a different color.  Second, certain stains on certain fabrics can be especially difficult to remove without causing damage to the garment.  Third, not knowing what the stain is can make it more challenging to remove, and too many attempts at removal could again cause damage to the fabric.
  3. Garments don’t shrink.  Actually they can if the material hasn’t been properly preshrunk.  Most of the time, shrinkage occurs gradually.  Most manufacturers consider a 2-3% shrinkage factor acceptable, but if there’s a lot of shrinkage after the first cleaning, then that’s considered excessive shrinkage.  The bottom line is that shrinkage goes back to the way the garment was manufactured.
  4. The care label is always right.  Sadly it’s not.  In 1972, the Federal Trade Commission launched the Care Labeling Rule, which required manufacturers to label their clothing with instructions for at least one safe cleaning method.  But according to the Dry Cleaning Laundry Institute, ‘that rule does not require testing before care instructions are assigned to a garment – only that a manufacturer have a reasonable basis for their care instructions.’  With our years of training and experience, we’ve learned that we have to be smarter than the label. 
  5. Dry cleaning harms the environment.  Perchloroethylene, the dry cleaning solution we use, is from the same group of cleaning supplies used in household cleaners and swimming pools.  While the dry cleaning industry is heavily regulated with high standards, A Cleaner World’s internal standards are even higher.  Not only do we continuously purify and recycle our cleaning solution to minimize waste and increase efficiency, we also regularly test air quality in our plants, keep our equipment running safely and efficiently, and recycle our poly bags and hangers.  A Cleaner World is committed to doing our part to keep the environment safe and clean.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Caring for your Wedding Gown

One of my favorite television shows was Sex in the City, mostly because my boring life paled in comparison to these hip, cool New York women, and so I simply watched and lived vicariously through them.  Alas, all good things must come to an end ….. Until they made a movie, and I got to sit in the theatre and finally see Carrie and Big get married.  I knew all along that they were meant to be together.

Likely you’ve seen the movie too, so you know that the dress she initially chose was a no-label silk dress that she found at a vintage shop, but a Vogue photo shoot threw her off track, she wound up wearing an over-the-top designer dress, and then a big mess ensued.  Long story short, she eventually marries Big in that no-label vintage silk dress, and that’s the dress I want to focus on today.

To be considered a vintage dress, a dress needs to be made anywhere from 1920 – 1995.  If a garment is made before 1920, then it is considered antique, and if a garment is relatively new and imitates the style of a previous era, it is considered retro.  While there are so many beautiful brand-new gowns out there today, many brides are choosing to marry in a previously-worn gown, whether it is a pre-owned gown they simply love or a gown that someone special to them previously wore.  The bottom line is wedding gowns, especially those that have some time on them, need proper care or otherwise they might not be in the right condition to share.  Here are some tips to ensure your gown is in great shape for your big day as well as for someone special that might want to wear it down the road.

  • Always hang your gown by the loops inside the gown to keep it from stretching or sagging.
  • Know the fabric your gown is made from.  This is important because a spill on artificial fiber is easier to remove than a spill on a silk gown.
  • Be prepared on your big day – do you hair and makeup before putting on your gown to avoid a mishap; keep safety pins on hand to help with a loose hem or broken strap; and camouflage any spots with something white and harmless like baking soda or baby powder.
  • Have your gown cleaned and preserved as soon as possible after your wedding day.  Be sure to inspect your gown before the cleaner puts it into the preservation container.  Make sure the container is acid-free and is lined with either fabric or acid-free tissue paper.
  • Don’t store your gown in a plastic bag or a vacuum-sealed container.  First, plastic emits fumes that can cause your dress to yellow, and second, plastic can trap moister which leads to mildew.
  • Store your gown in a cool, dry place that isn’t subject to extreme temperature changes or humidity. 
If you have questions or concerns about wedding gown care, please stop by one of our locations and speak with the manager.  Whether your wedding gown is vintage or brand new, it’s likely the most important dress you’ll ever own.  Be sure to give it the proper care it deserves so it looks just as stunning as it did the day you walked down the aisle.   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Use Caution When Wearing Jewelry

Luckily, this is one I don’t have to worry about, and my husband is incredibly thankful that I’m like the only woman in the world that doesn’t care a bit about jewelry.  Unfortunately, his dad isn’t so lucky; Matt’s mom LOVES jewelry and has sadly ruined several lovely garments because a piece of jewelry has gotten caught on a blouse or sweater.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when wearing jewelry:
  • Certain fabrics are more susceptible to damage than others.  When a piece of jewelry constantly rubs a specific area on smooth satin, it weakens the fibers.  Those weakened fibers will shift or break during cleaning, which will leave a pilled or snagged surface. 
  • One fabric to be mindful of is anything made with a soft, plush chenille yarn.  These garments are easily snagged when they come in contact with any sort of rough surface. 
  • Loosely-woven wool also tends to pill easily when it comes in contact with a rough surface.
  • Areas that are especially vulnerable include necklines where a necklace is worn or sleeve cuffs where a watch or bracelet is worn.  Be sure to check prongs on rings to make sure they are all secure and do not protrude as they can easily cause a snag or blemish on a delicate piece of fabric.
  • Finally, many times these items will simply rub or abrade the fabric and damage may not be noticeable until after the garment is washed or dry cleaned. 
Most jewelry comes in the form of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and they don’t pierce the fabric.  But what about pinning on name tags, tie tacks, and brooches?  With these items, you need to use even greater caution.  Here’s why:
  • Thin shear fabrics like silk and polyester can get permanent holes, picks, or yarn slippage. Yarn slippage comes from the weight of the pin pulling on a cross woven light fabric.
  • With tightly woven fabrics like taffeta or silk ties, holes created by pins don't always close.
  • Fabrics that contain spandex have elastic fibers that will break similar to panty hose.
  • Many of the pins on these items are inexpensive and dull, causing broken fibers as it passes in and out of the fabric.
The best options, when wearing items that you may pin on garments, are thick wool coats and blazers, thick cotton blouses or shirts, or try to pin through an area like the placket where the fabric is double and contains inner face.

A Cleaner World likes helping you look your best, so please keep all these things in mind as you put your ensembles together.  As always, please feel free to stop by or call one of our locations if you have questions or concerns.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cleaning Military Uniforms

For a Grandparent’s Day program a few weeks ago, Gray’s fourth grade class memorized and recited the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields”.  I’d never heard it before and had no idea of the origin, so of course I ‘Googled’ it.  This led to all kinds of articles on the author, WWI, Moina Michael’s reply poem, red poppies, and ultimately Memorial Day.  I thought the whole thing was a bit timely, given that Memorial Day was just around the corner.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States.  In my opinion, we simply don’t do enough for those folks, both Veterans that return home and families of fallen soldiers, who served our country so bravely and so honorably.  The ultimate sacrifice, their life, was given so that we could enjoy the freedom to worship, the freedom to speak freely, the freedom of the press, the right to assemble peacefully, the ability to request that our complaints be heard, and most importantly, be safe.

I am so proud to work for a company that likes hiring Veterans, all of whom show such dedication to the company, leadership in their positions, and pride in their work.  Sadly, we have only so many positions to fill, so we have to find other ways to show our appreciation – like cleaning American Flags for free and honoring special events, like Armed Forces Day.  This Saturday, May 20th, is Armed Forces Day and to celebrate, we’re cleaning one military uniform per family for free.  All you have to do is drop off your military uniform this Saturday during business hours and mention then that you saw this on social media.

In comparison, it’s not much, but my mom always told me that “It’s the thought that counts.”  Believe me, there’s a whole lot of thought, reflection, care, and thankfulness that goes along with this small gesture.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tips to Help Your Kids Keep Their Rooms Clean

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I’m a clean freak – that my house is immaculate…..that is, except for Gray’s room.  I learned some time ago to simply stop trying in his room.  My son loves Legos, little green Army men, and Matchbox cars.  More importantly, he creates these worlds in his room where all these things collide into what he sees as a masterpiece and what I see as a huge mess. 

About two years ago, I’d had enough and decided that I needed to create storage solutions that worked for an 8 year old.  Here’s how we went about organizing the chaos.
  • We had a clean out day.  We got rid of toys he was no longer interested in and donated them to our church.  He tried on lots of clothes, and those that he’d outgrown went to friends that have a son two years younger than Gray.  Then we started organizing what was left……which was still a lot.
  • I had to realize that he’s not as tall as I am, so I got on my knees and looked at everything from his point of view.  We reorganized his clothes so that his everyday clothing is hanging on the bottom rack in his closet, and his school and church clothes are hanging on the top.  We also placed books that he doesn’t read often on higher shelves along with things he’s only allowed to play with adults like messy science kits and his bow and arrow.  This way he can now reach and put away the things he often wants.
  • I got him involved.  Together we picked out some cool storage containers that fit under his Lego table.  Now spare Lego parts and pieces are organized by color or set.  We bought an accordion file and organized all of his Lego instructions by category.  I also purchased baskets and see through plastic containers that just slide onto the shelves in his closet.
  • We found a home for everything.  All items are grouped by category and have a designated spot in a variety of locations.  For instance, all Cub Scout items go in the middle drawer of his bunk bed.  Green Army men and related stuff all live in a couple plastic containers on a particular shelf in his closet.  And odd little spare pieces have their own storage basket.
  • I had to loosen up a bit.  I’m not nearly has strict about the condition of his room, though I do still insist that no more than two play extravaganzas are going on at the same time.  When he tries to pull out a third (and believe me he does), I remind him that it’s time to put up the first two.
The biggest thing I learned was that I had to make it easy for him.  Now, most everything can be dumped and shoved (that’s how it works because he is a 10 year old boy) into a designated basket, drawer, or tub and placed on a shelf in his closet or under the Lego table.  

If you have creative storage solutions that help keep your children’s rooms clean, please feel free to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Touring A Cleaner World

I remember the first time I dropped off an order at A Cleaner World; the CSR asked if I had laundry too or just dry cleaning.  I remember saying, “There’s a difference?”  I was 22 years old, and all I knew was that when I dropped off my clothes, they were dirty, and when I picked them up they were clean and freshly pressed.

Before joining the office staff at A Cleaner World in 1996, I spent one month working in two different dry cleaning plants.  Wow, what an eye opening experience!  And so I’m guessing that most folks are like I used to be; they have no idea what all goes on behind the scenes.  So I thought it would be fun to take you on a tour of a plant, letting you see what a garment goes through from the time it is dropped off at one of our stores to the time it is placed back inside your car.  Here we go.

Once your garments arrive inside, we make sure the pockets are empty.  We examine them for stains, make any necessary notes, tag each garment, check them into our computer system, and sort them into dry cleaning or laundry buggies.  Today we’re just going to follow the dry cleaning process from beginning to end.
If we find any tough stains, we’ll remove them based on their chemistry.  Some stains are harder to remove than others, but with our years of experience and training our team can handle them.
Next, garments are placed into the dry cleaning machine.  Just like when you are washing clothes at home, we sort them based on color, fabric, and weight.  Our dry cleaning machines look like an extra-large front load washing machine, and while in the machine, we use Sanitone products, which gently clean garments while reviving their color and softening their texture.  The coolest part about the machine is that the clothes are both cleaned and dried in the same machine.
Once clothes are clean, they head to finishing where specialty equipment like pants toppers, puff irons, and utility presses take the wrinkled garments and transform them into crisp and fresh works of art.
After finishing, garments are sent to inspection and assembly where we look for missing, loose, or broken buttons.  We also give all garments a final exam to make sure they are “Done Right The First Time or It’s Free”.  If an item is identified at anything less than 100%, it is sent back for correction.
Cleaned, pressed, and ready for pick up, your clothes wait on a line, filed for easy identification, until you are ready to pick them up.  

Thank you for trusting A Cleaner World to care for your garments.  We appreciate your business!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why Should Your Employees Wear Uniforms?

A little over a year ago, we shared the Top 5 Reasons to Rent Employee Uniforms, including reasons like making a great first impression, promoting your company, and creating a team environment.  But have you ever thought about having employees wear uniforms simply to keep them safe?  I’ve mentioned many times before that my son is quite the talker.  When he runs out of things to talk about, he usually ends up asking me lots of crazy ‘what if’ questions, so ……..
  • What if an unauthorized person enters a restricted area?  Company uniforms in specific styles and colors make it easy to identify these folks quickly.
  • What if your employees work with flammable materials?  My brother-in-law is a welder – a really good one in fact – and they are required to wear flame resistant gear.  Flame retardant uniforms can work alongside proper protocol to keep employees protected from dangerous situations.
  • What if your employees work in an area with heavy traffic?  Uniforms with high-visibility markings allow employees to be easily seen.
  • What if you are concerned about keeping things sanitary?  Uniforms, managed by a company like A Cleaner World Commercial Services, specifically made for the food industry can help lessen the likelihood of cross-contamination.  
  • What if your employees work in an exceptionally dirty environment? Uniforms will protect their own clothing from getting dirty or damaged during work, keeping them from having to spend their hard-earned income on work clothes.

    If uniforms aren’t a part of your business, but you’re thinking they should be, then call Scottie Springer at 336-870-6299.  He’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have and explain to you how the process works.  Then both you and your employees can enjoy the benefits and safety features that company uniforms offer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Recycling

My son’s school started a new thing this year by grade level – Community Service or Community Outreach Programs.  The Agathos Parent Council came up with a list of suggestions -- sending cards to folks in the military, collecting food for a local food pantry, collecting books for the Boys and Girls Club, preparing a meal for the homeless, and so on or the class could choose some other project.  One of the things his school wasn’t doing was recycling, so that’s what his fourth grade class decided to do – set up and manage a recycling program at their school.


Starting a program from scratch can be a bit overwhelming, so his teacher, Mrs. Powers, did some research, and she discovered that when first starting out, it is recommended to collect only one or two items.  When Mrs. Powers realized how much paper and how many plastic bottles were being thrown away, she chose those two items to start out with.  The students got started by putting together presentations, visiting classes to explain the program, and giving each classroom two recycling containers so they could get started.  


 

Once the classroom containers are full, students empty them into the recycling dumpster.  A rotation of parents and high school students has been set up to empty the recycle dumpster and take the items to the county Convenience Center.

What a simple way to teach an awesome lesson to teach our children, and I love that they are getting truly involved at such a young age.  It shows if we all do just a little bit, together we can make a big impact.  I’m guessing this is just the kind of thing Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had in mind when he came up with Earth Day in 1969.  A Cleaner World has been doing our little bit, hoping to make a big impact, for over 25 years now.  We recycle our dry cleaning solution.  We ask customers to return their no longer needed hangers to us as well as place their used poly bags in the bottom of their express bags when dropping off.  


If you didn’t know about our recycling program and would like to get involved, simply ask us for a hanger caddy the next time you stop by one of our locations; we’ll be glad to explain how the program works.  To make sure your used poly bags are recycled, simply stuff them inside your express bag, place your dirty clothes on top, and we’ll take care of it from there.  For more ideas on ways you can do just a little bit at home to make a big impact together, click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Community Baby Shower

I was 38 when I finally got pregnant with Gray.  We waited, sometimes longingly and impatiently, for a child to arrive.  I knew, without a doubt, that someday I’d be a mom so as I waited I prepared really, really well.  My parents, on the other hand, have a completely different story.  My mom was 18 and my dad was 21 when I was born, and they struggled, worked hard, and relied on the generosity of family and friends to get by.  I’m certain that if the Community Baby Shower had been around in 1968, my parents could have used the help.

That’s exactly why the FOX8 Community Baby Shower came to be.  “There was a need, and we wanted to help,” said Chris Edwards, President of A Cleaner World.  “Having a baby is such a joy.  New parents should be focusing on loving, nurturing, and enjoying the baby, not how they are going to pay for diapers and formula.”  To participate in the Community Baby Shower simply drop off new things like diapers, wipes, formula, and supplies or gently used things like baby clothes, toys, and cribs at any Triad area A Cleaner World from April 17 through May 12, 2017.  Family Service of the Piedmont and Family Services of Forsyth County will collect and distribute the donated items to new mothers and babies in need throughout our community.

To get an idea of what kind of impact the Community Baby Shower had last year, I talked to Angel Boyd-Gilyard, the Healthy Start’s Program Manager (Healthy Start is Guilford County's version of Head Start) with Family Service of the Piedmont.  Family Service of the Piedmont is a non-profit, grant funded organization that runs several programs including the Healthy Start program, a program that goes from birth to age 2.  While all their programs benefit from the Community Baby Shower, Healthy Start benefits the most.  Here’s an example of how your donations are put to great use.  A Spanish speaking woman fled to Guilford County, leaving a domestic violence situation, with a toddler in her hands, the clothes on her back, and expecting another child soon.  Thanks to the donations from the Community Baby Shower, she received all the things she needed for both her newborn baby and her toddler.  One year later, she has her own place, is working, has her children in childcare, and donates the clothing and items back to the program so that someone else can use them.  “Families that receive items from Healthy Start are definitely in need,” explained Angel, “but they are also actively participating in parenting programs.  It’s a voluntary program, and they are there because they want to be better parents.  They are 100% committed to the program.”

Thanks to donations from last year’s Community Baby Shower, Family Service of the Piedmont had ample supplies for 6 months.  Angel said they always have a need for baby gates, infant clothing, and baby blankets, and she pointed out that even partial packs of diapers and wipes can be put to good use.

I also had the pleasure of speaking with Michelle Melton, Assistant Director of Public Relations, Family Services of Forsyth County; Family Services of Forsyth County is also a non-profit organization that relies on donations and grants.  They too run a number of programs but primarily focus on child development from birth to age 5, preparing a child to succeed not only in Kindergarten but also in life.  Michelle had so many terrific stories about what kind of impact the Community Baby Shower had in Forsyth County.  There's the phone call from a nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital who shared a story of a mom that had no baby supplies or family that could help.  The nurse saw the Fox 8 promo and decided to call; Family Services provided the new mom with a diaper bag full of essentials.  How about the young mom in her 20’s that was finishing her degree at WSSU.  She was graduating in May but was due in February.  They were able to provide her with needed supplies, and now she’s doing great.  Finally, they recently met with a mom that received help last year.  She’s finishing up a medial coding certificate at Forsyth Tech and is so incredibly grateful for the help she received.

While the success stories are fun to share and make me smile, here are some statistics that shocked me.  Did you know that 1/3 of kids in Forsyth County live in poverty and that among those that live in poverty, 58% are single parent families headed by mom?  That’s the kind of information that motivates me to take action…..to throw a pack of diapers or a couple pacifiers in my basket while doing my family’s shopping.  The thing is, when you donate to the Fox 8 Community Baby Shower, those supplies are so much more than just diapers and wipes.  “When Fox 8 approached us last year,” explained Michelle, “we realized it would give us the opportunity to work with children, provide essentials, and work with the mom.  The unique thing about Head Start is that it’s not just about the child; it’s about the whole family, and every child has an advocate as long as they remain in the program.  That advocate helps identify needs that should be addressed, but moreover, we can help families become self-sufficient on their own and help change the path they are on.”  Thanks to generous donations from last year’s Community Baby Shower, Family Services of Forsyth County was able to assist 70 new or soon-to-be mothers who had little or nothing to welcome their child.  Michelle pointed out that many mothers don’t know the gender of their baby, so gender-neutral items are greatly appreciated.
 
The Fox8 Community Baby Shower kicks off in just a few days, and I hope these stories encourage you to be a part of such a worthwhile event.  Drop off at any Triad area A Cleaner World.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How Often Should I Wash My Clothes


I am meticulous about our laundry.  I sort loads by color, fabric, and weight.  I examine all items so that I can catch places that need pre-treating.  I carefully measure out the detergent so as to not get too much, and I wash garments on the proper temperature and wash setting, using great care not to overload the machine.  My husband, on the other hand, let’s just say when he absolutely has to do laundry, he’s not that careful – and just leave it there.  According to Procter & Gamble, people do their laundry improperly by not sorting loads, overloading machines, and washing clothes too often.  They also went on to share results of a study that found 'the average American woman spends 7 to 9 hours a week in the laundry room, up from the 1960’s. This phenomenon is likely due to the singular wearing of garments and larger wardrobes.'

I would like to reduce the amount of time I spend on laundry, but more than that, I want to be sure what I’m putting on my body is clean.  So my question today is – how often should I wash that?
  • Bathing Suits – wash after each wearing.
  • Bath Towels – every 3 – 4 uses, making sure you hang it up between uses to dry.  
  • Pajamas – every 3 – 4 wearing.  Pajamas rub against your skin, and you are constantly shedding skin cells.  Sometimes skin cells contain microorganisms that could cause health issues.
  • Bed Sheets – weekly.  Click on bed sheets to learn why.
  • Underwear, socks, bras, t-shirts, tanks, camisoles, basically anything that rubs right next to your skin all day long – should be washed after every wearing.
  • Pants and jeans – usually after 2 wearing unless it is hot out, you’ve been sweating, or there is visible dirt.
  • Leggings and tights – wash after every wearing.
  • Suits – there’s simply not an easy answer for this one.  The short answer is it depends; it depends on the environment, how long you wore it, did you spill anything on it, and so on.  To learn more about suit care, click here.

Of course there will always be exceptions, but one thing does remain constant.  That is, if something you are wearing gets dirt on it, has something spilled on it, or is stained, don’t place it back in the closet; instead wash it or have it cleaned as soon as possible.  The longer a stain or spill sits on a garment, the more difficult it becomes to remove.  A Cleaner World is always here to help, so if you need assistance with a garment, just drop it by one of our locations.


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