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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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