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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!
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