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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Top 5 Ways You Could Be Ruining Your Clothes

I should change the word ‘you’ in the title to the word ‘we’, because I am guilty of many of these habits too.  Sometimes it’s because I am limited on the proper storage space and other times it is out of sheer laziness.  After all, if you have 2 red tops, a pair of jeans, a bra, and a couple pair of undies, isn’t it just easier to throw them all in one load?
Here are some common things we all do wrong:
  • Not washing clothes promptly.  Items with spills and stains should be addressed immediately.  The longer the stain sits on the fabric, the more difficult it becomes to remove, and failing to act quickly could cause the stain to set into the fabric permanently.  That means that even if you can remove the stain, the fabric where the stain once was, is likely to be discolored. 
  • Not washing clothes properly.  The truth is, there are lots of rules to doing laundry properly.  Check the care label before doing anything.  Separate by both color and fabric weight.  Pull out delicate items.  We’ve actually addressed this in the past, and here are two links that go into greater detail on how to do laundry properly: How often should I wash my clothes? and  Laundry guide for college freshmen.
  • Using too much detergent or fabric softener.  Too many suds can hold dirt from clothes and get caught in areas that won’t rinse clean.  If you see suds when the wash load is complete, you’re using too much detergent.  Play with cutting the amount until all the detergent is removed from your clothes.  Using too much fabric softener can cause an oily film on fabric. The film can make clothes feel slimy and it also decreases water absorption on towels.  An alternative to fabric softener is vinegar; add ¼ cup to the rinse cycle, and your clothes will come out soft minus the slimy feel.
  • Not storing out-of-season clothes properly.  The most important thing when storing out-of-season clothes is to wash or dry clean every item before storing it away, even if you only wore it for an hour.  Unwashed clothing contains dead body cells, sweat, food particles, and so on, which are attractive to moths and other pests.  These pests will then munch on the items left behind, ultimately causing the fibers to weaken.  When you pull clothes out of storage, they may initially look fine, but once they are cleaned, the agitation and action from the washer or dry-cleaning machine will cause the fibers to weaken and eventually break.
  • Storing in-season clothes improperly.  For example, using the wrong size hanger can cause the shoulder area to become distorted.  Remember, the hanger should sit just at the end of the shoulder where it meets the sleeve seam.  To learn more, check out this blog post on choosing the proper hanger. Another way to ruin clothes is to hang garments instead of folding.  The most common items are sweaters and knit items.  The weight of the fabric pulling downward while hanging on a hanger will again create shoulder distortion.  When in doubt, fold.  
While these are easy fixes, they also require a little extra time.  If A Cleaner World can help in any way, please stop by one of our convenient locations.  We’ll be glad to talk to you about proper storage, clothing care, or even storing your out-of-season garments in our stores.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why I Wanted to Help with Give A Kid A Coat by Courtney Westcott

A little over a year ago, I was walking in the cold attempting to get from my warm car into my warm school in as little time as possible.  All the while, I was dreading the next time I would have to face the bitter temperatures again; however, in the middle of my pursuit of warmth, my mind turned to those lacking the very thing I took for granted, my coat.  All the sudden, the gray pea coat I was wearing, which was blocking the harsh weather from my body, became a reminder of my blessings and my unique ability to change the lives of others.  I was surrounded by resources which would help me achieve my desire to provide a coat to someone that didn’t have one. 

As president of Wesleyan Christian Academy’s National Honors Society and National Beta Club, as well as being an employee at A Cleaner World, I knew I could make a difference with the help of my manager at work and the faculty at my school.  I talked to my employer, who eagerly encouraged me and provided countless support. Many of Wesleyan’s wonderful faculty agreed to help me by tirelessly announcing the Give A Kid A Coat drive and collecting coats in their rooms.  For 3 weeks, Wesleyan staff and students flooded donation boxes with coats, which I would take to my A Cleaner World colleagues to clean and distribute. Each step along the way, Lisa Walters and the staff at the A Cleaner World located at 2527 Eastchester Drive in High Point encouraged me and met me with a smile as I drove up for my shift with a car full of coats. I was so thankful to have dropped off roughly 170 coats with the help of my friends, family, fellow students, and the staff at Wesleyan.  My heart was so overjoyed for the opportunity I had in playing a small part in such a huge campaign.

When I found out that Wesleyan Christian Academy is once again hosting a coat drive in collaboration with A Cleaner World’s Give A Kid A Coat campaign, my heart leap for joy.  I am so thankful that the current students at my old school are once again working to give to those in need.  I know the Junior Class of Wesleyan Christian Academy will be blessed immeasurably more than they could ever ask or imagine as they bless others. I know I was.

It’s amazing to me how one person’s decision to act can cause a positive trickle-down effect.  Because of Courtney’s example from last year, Helena Brown and Maddie Cashion, also students at Wesleyan Christian Academy, are currently holding a coat drive to assist with the 2018 Give A Kid A Coat campaign.  Thanks ladies.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Caring for Cashmere

When I put on a cashmere sweater, I don’t instantly think ‘goat’.  But I should because there is a type of goat – the Kashmir goat – in parts of Asia, such as Mongolia, Tibet, Northern India, Iran, Afghanistan, and Southwest China, that moult each year from March to May.  In the moulting process, they develop a mixture of coarse hair and fine undercoat.  At some point, the goats are shaved, the hair is processed, dyed, and finally woven into yarn.  The most interesting thing is that one Kashmir goat produces around 4 ounces of hair each year, and as a result, it usually takes 3-4 goats to produce one average-sized 2 ply cashmere sweater.

When I put on a cashmere sweater, I typically think about how warm, soft, and luxurious it feels.  Then I look in the mirror, and I admire how beautiful it is.  And with any luxury garment, it requires special care to ensure it retains its like new feel and look for years to come.  Here are some tips to help accomplish that:
  • Wait for deodorant, lotion, perfume, and hair products to dry before putting on your sweater.       
  • Use caution with purses, jewelry, belts, and seat belts because they can abrade the fabric and cause pilling, snags, and even a hole.
  • Don’t put or let anyone put an adhesive name badge on your sweater. (Just FYI - The same holds true for suede and leather items too.)
  • To avoid distortion, don’t push up the sleeves and use care if it is a pullover sweater so that you don’t stretch the neck area.
  • The best way to store a cashmere sweater is to fold each side of the sweater inward by a third, smooth the arms down, fold in half, and either place or a shelf or in a drawer.  Never hang a cashmere sweater because the weight of the fabric and the pull of gravity will cause shoulder dimples and overall distortion. 
Finally, follow the care label when it comes to cleaning the garment.  Cashmere sweaters are delicate items, and if you have any doubts, we recommend you take it to a professional

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Decipher those Care Label Symbols

Before I start researching how, I often want to first know why.  For instance, why did someone decide to create symbols to put on a tag inside your clothes instead of just writing ‘machine wash cold water, tumble dry low heat until dry, immediately hang or fold’?  Here’s how the story goes: in the 1950’s, several textile conferences were held which resulted in the creation of GINETEX, the International Association for Textile Care Labeling, and they ultimately chose to use a symbol form of communication to avoid any confusion given that there are over 6,000 languages floating around the world. 

While that makes complete sense to me, I work in the garment care industry and even I don’t have all the symbols memorized.  And why should you have any of these memorized?  Unless you want to carry a chart around with you, you should know the basics to help you as you pick out new clothes, and these are the 5 you should recognize.

Each one has variances to them.  For instance, under wash there are subcategories with numbers or dots for temperature, an X for don’t machine wash, and a hand meaning hand wash.  But if you know these 5 basic symbols, you’ll be able to decipher if something is hand wash only, dry clean only, or cannot be ironed.  Sometimes the amount of care a garment needs can be a deciding factor as to whether you make the purchase or not.

More importantly, once you get a garment home, you need to know how to care for it properly, if you want to get more than just one use out of it.  This is the very reason why I have the following guide posted in my laundry room:


This guide has saved me from ruining more than one garment, and we hope you find it helpful too.  Of course, if there is ever something you are uncertain of, please feel free to stop by or call one of our locations.  Our garment care professionals are trained to understand these symbols and to provide the best care for all your wears. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Caring for Tights

I hate pantyhose; I’m certain that a man created them.  There’s something about the material that just makes my skin crawl, and perhaps it is because when I am forced to wear pantyhose, it’s usually in the summer.  I am thankful that these days we can mostly get by with wearing summer skirts and dresses with sandals or pumps and skip the pantyhose altogether.

But tights, well that’s a different story.  I love tights.  In fact, I broke my tights out when we had that little cold snap back in October.  While tights, as compared to other garments, aren’t terribly expensive (the brand I like costs about $15 a pair), the last thing you want to do is wear them 2 or 3 times only to find a run or hole in them.  Tights, with the proper care, can last a long time.  Here’s how we suggest caring for tights:
  • Never wash your tights in the washing machine, even if they say machine washable.  See the instructions below on how to hand wash tights.
  • Don’t wad them up in a ball and throw them in a drawer after you’ve taken them off.  Instead, fold them in thirds – neatly.
  • Put them on gently by sitting down, rolling up one foot at a time.  Avoid tugging and yanking.
  • Clear nail polish could get you out of a jam if you see a run starting while you are out and about.
  • Quality is important.  You don’t need to buy the most expensive pair of tights you can find but remember tights with Lycra and thicker fibers will stand the test of time better.
To hand wash your tights:
  • Fill a sink or basin with warm, soapy water.  Use a mild detergent.
  • Turn your tights inside out.
  • Place the tights in the water and gently massage them from top to bottom.
  • Drain the soapy water and rinse the tights in clear water until all the soap is removed.
  • Gently squeeze to remove most of the water, then pat dry with a towel.
  • Finally, hang them on a drying rack or even across your shower rod until they are completely dry.
  • Once completely dry, fold in thirds and place in a drawer.
Following these tips will help keep your tights looking great for the rest of the season.  If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at wildwednesday@acleanerworld.com.
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