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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


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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Home Stain Removal

Over the years, we’ve shared a number of stain removal tips – from ice cream to mustard to strawberry jam, and we’ve tried to educate you on the different types of stains and knowing when to say when.  One thing we’ve said time and again is that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ stain remover.  And as much as I share all this information with you, I am always one to try to remove a stain at home before bringing it to A Cleaner World.  My husband would tell you that it’s because I don’t like to be beaten;  I’ll tell you that it’s the mom in me – you know, I try to fix everything.

The truth is that there have been many times I’ve looked at a stain and the fabric and immediately determined it was beyond me.  When it comes to instances like a stain over a really large area, delicate fabrics, and heavy-duty grease, I don’t bother.  But many small, every day, common stains can be removed at home, and we recommend that you follow these general guidelines before proceeding.
  • Address all stains as soon as possible to prevent the stain from setting into the fabric.
  • Always read the care label before trying any stain removal method or products.
  • If you’ve never made any stain removal attempts on the garment, be sure to test for colorfastness first.  Just apply a small amount of the agent to an unexposed area of the garment, let it stand for about five minutes, then rinse.  If there is no color change, then it’s fine to use the product.
  • Never rub a stain.  Doing so could cause the stain to be worked deeper into the fabric.  Instead of rubbing, blot the area to help remove the substance without causing it to spread.  Rubbing is especially a no-no when dealing with a silk garments.  In fact, I never care for silk at home.
  • After spotting and laundering the garment, check to see if the stain has been removed before placing the garment in the dryer.  The heat from the dryer can cause the stain to permanently set into the fabric.  If the stain is still there, repeat the cleaning process or bring it to us. 
  • Never iron a soiled garment or a garment with a stain.  Again, the heat from the iron could cause the stain to permanently set.
  • Be mindful of oil-based stains.  Many times they dry invisible, so you won’t even notice them when pre-treating in preparation for laundering.  With time or after cleaning, they tend to turn yellow or brown and become even more difficult to remove.
  • Avoid being overly aggressive when trying to remove stains at home; too many attempts can lead to color loss or damage to the garment. 
If you’ve made an attempt at home and cannot get the stain or spill to come out, drop it by one of our locations.  When you do, point out the stain and tell us about your removal attempts, and we’ll be glad to take it from there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cleaning Up After a Pet

In August, we welcomed this little girl into our family:

Her name is Macy, and she is a rescue dog.  The process to adopt a rescue dog through the organization we chose was a bit involved.  There was the application, the background check, the references, and then finally we started meeting dogs.  But the biggest hurdle was Matt; Gray and I had to do some tall talking to get him to agree to a pet.  One of his reasons for voting against a pet was the mess it would possibly create.  Knowing what a clean freak I am, he was worried that I would drive myself even crazier trying to keep our house spotless.

While it’s true that I am a clean freak, I actually think I’ve handled the addition of Macy’s messiness quite well, and I don’t think I’m having to clean more than I did before.  Here are some tips to keep your home clean while having pets.   
  • Stop dirt at the door.  We leave an old towel hanging on a hook in the mudroom, and we wipe her feet whenever she comes in. 
  • Grooming.  I read that brushing your dog a couple times a week can help reduce shedding.  Brushing your dog outside will keep you from having to clean up the mess inside and will also help with airborne allergens.
  • Cover your furniture.  Or better yet, keep your pets off the furniture.  I know that can be a challenge, but we’ve trained Macy to stay off the sofa.  I will admit, however, that if I’m going to be gone less than an hour, I’ll leave her out in the house instead of putting her in her kennel and will throw an old sheet over the sofa in case she’s tempted.  Also, if you have dog hair on your furniture, try using a lint roller to remove it.
  • Dust, vacuum, and mop regularly.  While it would make sense to vacuum and mop regularly as pets typically mean more mess on the floor; but pets also increase the amount of dust in our homes.  If I look carefully around, I can see a few Macy hairs on the side tables and piano in our living room.  Dust first and then clean your floors; some dust will end up on the floor and vacuuming or mopping will pick up the remainder.
  • Tackle accidents immediately.  We’ve actually addressed this issue before, so here are links to blog posts on how to clean up pet urine and pet poo.
One final tip – A Cleaner World recommends that you have your rugs professionally cleaned every 12 – 18 months to keep your rugs looking great, but if you have pets, and especially if your pets have had a few accidents, you may want to have your rugs cleaned a little more often.  If you have questions about this, please feel free to give Greg a call at 336-804-0045.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Storing Winter Clothes

Spring will officially be here in 5 days, and there is not a person in the world that’s happier about that than me.  Not only am I a warm weather person, I like spring and summer fashions way better than fall and winter.  But even though I don’t love my cold weather fare, I do want to keep them looking good for next season, so while we’ve discussed this before, we want to share reminders on how to properly store away out of season clothes so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises down the road.
  • Make all repairs, like sewing sagging hemlines, replacing missing or secure loose buttons, mending split seams, before washing or cleaning garments.
  • Be certain that everything has been washed or dry cleaned before putting it away.  Clear spills and invisible stains will darken with time, making them more difficult to remove later.  Plus, dirt, perspiration, body oils, and food or beverage spills are invitations to insects.
  • Never store garments in hot attics, damp basements, or garages.  Instead choose areas that are cool, well-ventilated, and free from natural and artificial light.  The ideal location would be a cool, dark closet.
  • If you store your garments in a closet, simply drape a sheet or cloth over your things to protect them from dust and light.  If you are storing your clothing in another climate controlled area, place wool garments in cedar chests or other airtight containers.  To keep pests away, place cedar chips or blocks inside containers.  Mothballs also discourage pests, but they can leave a strong odor on clothing. 
  • For things like suits and dresses, hang on good quality hangers and place inside of garment or canvas bags.  Never hang knit items because the weight of the garment on the hanger will lead to distortion.  Instead, fold things like knits and sweaters and wrap them in white tissue to help reduce wrinkles.  If you do choose to hang knits and sweaters, fold them over the cross bar of a strut hanger.  
If your home is like mine and is limited on storage space, you can always store your out of season garments at any A Cleaner World location.  To learn more about our storage service, click here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Restoring Stuffed Animals after a Fire

On December 21st, when most of us were dealing with holiday festivities, the Watkins family was dealing with a tragedy – a home fire.  Thankfully they were out when it happened, but a fire started in their chimney and quickly spread to the attic, causing a fair amount of damage to the home but more importantly, a great deal of smoke and water damage to their personal items.  Jan said they lost a number of items but she estimated that about 50% of their stuff was salvageable.  Initially, she tried washing many of her everyday things in hot water only to find that caused shrinkage, so she and her husband, Thad – a Thomasville City Fireman, decided to take their nicer garments and textiles to the A Cleaner World in Thomasville, and they in turn sent them to our Fire Restoration Division.  Mike, of course, quickly cleaned much needed items and returned them to the family within two days, and he and his crew then continued working on the rest of their order.

Here’s where the story takes a sweet turn, for in the balance of their order was this little fellow.

In the photo above, he is on the way to our warehouse to be cleaned and made smoke-free.  Jan purchased him before their daughter Finlee was born just because he was soft and she liked him, and as Finlee grows, each month Jan takes her photo with the elephant to see Finlee’s progress.  Finlee is now 9 months old but has sadly missed two photos with the elephant because of their family tragedy.  Because this little guy is so important to the Watkins family, we’ve taken a special interest in him.  We also decided to take a few photos to show his family how he went from sooty and smelly to clean and fresh:

As we lovingly restored him back to his like-new condition, we kind of got attached to ‘the elephant’, so we started including him in our daily activities.  Here he is hard at work:

As you can see, he is very talented and capable.  We’ve had such a good time with this little guy, and we are happy to say that the Watkins family has the rest of their stuff and is doing quite well.  The community really rallied around them and helped them get set back up in a different place.  Jan is hopeful for the future.  She said their plans all along have been to save money and build a new home, and they are continuing on that path.  “The important thing is that we weren’t at home,” she went on.  “I could be sharing a different story if we had been.  But things can be replaced, and I now have a new understanding of what others in similar situations have been through.”

A Cleaner World Fire Restoration is so thankful that we were able to help the Watkins family and that they are on the road to returning to some normalcy.  “The Fire Restoration business is such a personal business,” said Mike Feudale, Manager of A Cleaner World’s Fire Restoration Division.  “Customers trust us to bring their intimate, personal things back to life, and we can’t begin to put into words just how much we appreciate the confidence folks like Jan and Thad and others put in our abilities and the treasures they allow us to care for.”

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