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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.
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