Village Laundry Center Care Tips

 

The Top Ten Ways You can Help Us Care for Your Clothes

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  1. Have your clothes cleaned frequently.  This actually prolongs their life...as soil and stains left too long are sometimes impossible to remove and will cause abrasion of the fabric and can wear out the fibers.

  2. Discuss ANY stains with your dry cleaner.  Be especially sure to point out light-colored or invisible spills, such as from soft drinks or white wine.  These stains contain sugar, which can caramelize and turn brown with the heat of drying unless flushed out before dry cleaning.

  3. Bring your garments in for professional care as soon as possible after staining occurs.

  4. Avoid letting your garments come in contact with products containing alcohol, such as perfumes, hair spray, colognes, and lotions.  When these products dry, they are invisible and will leave spots after being cleaned.  Always apply these products before getting dressed and allow them to dry.

  5. Allow deodorants and antiperspirants to dry before dressing.

  6. Protect your clothing from excessive perspiration.  The chloride salts in perspiration can seriously weaken delicate fabrics and can also cause dyes to change colors.

  7. Protect your clothing from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or artificial light.  Bright colors, especially blues and greens tend to oxidize and fade.

  8. Never iron stained or soiled clothing...this only sets the stain.

  9. Do not store your clothing in plastic bags.  Fabrics, especially natural ones like cotton and linen need to breathe.  Keep the paper shoulder covers on clothing if you are storing them for the season.  This will keep dust and damaging light off your garment.

  10. If possible, try to have matching garments cleaned together.  This applies to clothing as well as to household items such as bedspreads, pillow shams and draperies.

Seasonal Clothing Storage

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With the changing of the seasons comes the changing of your wardrobe.  Following are some tips for storing your garments:

  • Always clean your clothes before you store them, either by laundering or professionally dry cleaning.  Many food and beverage stains as well as body oils left on the garment may oxidize over time and leave a yellow or brown stain.  Once these stains oxidize, they are difficult if not impossible to remove.  In addition, insects are attracted to these types of stains and can cause fabric damage.

  • Do not store your garments in plastic bags.  Plastic prevents air circulation and may allow moisture to collect and mildew to form.  Use the dust covers that come from your dry cleaning orders to protect garments from dust.

  • Avoid storing clothing where they can be exposed to potential problems, such as the following:
    • Light fading:  Many dyes are sensitive to sunlight or artificial light and may fade in a relatively short time.  Fading only occurs on one side of the fabric and only where the edge is exposed to the light source.  Fading cannot be corrected.  To prevent it, do not store clothing in direct sunlight and make sure the closet light is turned off.

    • Fume fading:  Much like light fading, but it appears as a color change instead of a color loss.  Fume fading occurs when garments are exposed to by-products of combustion such as exhaust and heating fuels.  Also like light fading, it cannot be reversed.  To prevent fume fading, do not store clothing near ducts, furnaces, chimneys or in garages.

  • Choose the correct method of storing.  Knitted garments should be folded, never hung.  Fold as little as necessary and fold on seams if possible.

The Dirt on Dry Cleaning

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Have you ever been told that too much cleaning can reduce the life of your clothes?  Claims have been made stating that agitation, heat and chemicals can have a negative effect on the life expectancy of clothes.  The truth is cleaning can help prolong the life of your clothing.

Here are some facts:

  • Stains set with age - by cleaning your garments frequently, stains are much more likely to be removed.  In addition, ground-in dirt and soil act like abrasives, or sandpaper, on your clothes and will cause rapid wear of fibers.  Always clean your clothes before you store them, either by laundering or professionally dry cleaning.  Many food and beverage stains as well as body oils left on the garment may oxidize over time and can leave a yellow or brown stain.  Once these stains oxidize, they are difficult if not impossible to remove.  In addition, insects are attracted to these types of stains and can cause fabric damage.

  • Insects like stains - microscopic insects like to feed on your clothes.  They are attracted to unattended stains and can cause damage of fibers.  Frequent cleaning keeps the clothes fresh and insect free.

  • We're nice to your clothes - a person is more likely to wear out a garment with regular wearing before it will wear out from frequent cleaning.

  • Don't press it - some people think that pressing a garment is all that's needed to make it look wearable again, but if you press an item before it is cleaned it is very likely that stains and other dirt, such as body oils, will set permanently.  A Fabricare article published by the International Fabricare Institute illustrates this point - "Picture a white T-shirt that you've worn four days in a row and then take and iron and iron the underarm areas.  Is that T-shirt ready to be worn another four days in a row now?".

Proper care and regular cleaning of your clothes really does extend their life and keep you looking your best.

Another concern customers have when it comes to their clothing is how long their clothing will last.  Following are life expectancy figures for some common garments.  These figures are based on normal wear and cleaning.  This information id provided by the International Fabricare Institute.

  • Dress shirts:  2-3 years
  • Blouses:  3 years
  • Dresses:  2-3 years
  • Formal wear:  5 years
  • Sweaters:  3 years
  • Sport Coats:  3-4 years
  • Slacks:  2-3 years

Care Labels

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When shopping for clothing, what's the first thing you look for in a garment?  Perhaps fashion or style - that brand name pair of jeans; usefulness - a pair of slacks that matches three of your shirts; or need - a new business or travel outfit.  The next thing you probably look for is the price - is it affordable or not, are you getting quality for your money?  Most people stop here when making their clothing purchase - but there's one other important thing to consider - the care label.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that manufacturers attach a permanent label to garments that provides directions for their care.  The Care Label Rule stipulates that the care label:

  • must be easily found

  • will not separate from the garment

  • will remain legible during the garment's life

  • must warn against any part of the recommended care method that would damage any part of the garment or any other garments being cleaned with it

  • must warn when there is no method for cleaning a garment without damaging it

A garment may be safely cleaned by several methods, but the manufacturers are only required to list one method of safe care no matter how many other methods could safely be used.  The manufacturer is also not required to warn against other care procedures that may not be safe.

What this can do is make caring for your clothing seem very confusing.  Following are some care labels that you might want to be watchful for:
  • Spot Clean Only - To spot clean a garment, the spotting solution is applied to the soiled area.  Normal dry cleaning flushes out the spotting solution along with the stain.  To 'spot clean only' means that the solution cannot be flushed out - and often you are left with a ring around the stain.  In addition, 'spot clean only' means that odors will never be cleaned out of the garment.  Garments with this label are not serviceable and are meant for one-time wearing.  Unfortunately, this label often appears on more expensive items such as prom dresses and formals.  Please be very skeptical when purchasing these items.

  • Do Not Dry Clean - Often garments with this label contain dyes which are not colorfast in dry cleaning solutions.  This is normally not a problem unless you get a stain on the garment that will not come out in wetcleaning or washing.  If the garment needs to be dry cleaned in order to remove a spot, the color might be removed as well.  You might also see this care label with beading, sequins or other trim.  Decorations such as these might be dissolved in some dry cleaning solutions.  However, at Village Laundry Center, we use the GreenEarth method of cleaning, so beads and sequins clean beautifully and colors stay put!

  • Do Not Wash / Dry Clean Only - This label, like the above one, will only cause a problem if a certain type of stain gets on the garment.  Dry-clean only garments such as wool, silks, rayon or angora are susceptible to shrinkage and distortion if washed in water.  Wet-side stains such as foods, beverages, perspiration or water may be difficult to remove on these garments.

  • Dry Clean / Exclusive of Trim - Care labels must include all components of the garment, including non-detachable linings, trim and other decorations.  Any special considerations for such components should be contained within the instructions as a warning - i.e. "remove trim".

Should You Remove the Label?

It's best if you don't.  Removing the label entails some risk as full information warnings regarding proper care will no longer be available to you or your dry cleaner.  If the label is scratchy or uncomfortable, try snipping off the corners.  If you must remove the care label, keep it handy so you can show it to your cleaner when you bring in the garment.

What if the Label is Followed and Damage Occurs?

Remember, the care label should apply to the entire garment.  If you or your dry cleaner followed the care instructions on the label and damage occurred, you should return the garment to the store where you purchased it from and explain what happened.  If the store will not resolve the problem, ask for the manufacturer's name and contact them either by mail or via the internet.  Often, your dry cleaner can assist you with this.  It is also important to know that while sometimes damage can occur on the first cleaning, it can also occur on the third, fourth, fifth or tenth.  The garment should withstand the cleaning methods regardless of it's age.

For an extensive explanation on care labels and related topics, visit the FTC's section on "Textile, Wool, Fur and Apparel Matters" at:

http://www.ftc.gov/os/statues/textilejump.htm

For an explanation of the ATSM Care Label Symbols, click here:

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/1996/12/label.pdf

Draperies

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Whether you are accessorizing a room or matching a bedroom set, draperies can be a stylish addition to your home.  Drapes, however can be a costly investment and if you make or purchase your draperies, there is some important information to consider when buying, cleaning and maintaining your draperies.

Buying Your Drapes

When shopping for drapes, or drapery material, know what you are looking for.  Ask about the fabric's colorfastness and if it's pre-shrunk.  Find out if the drapes are sun-resistant and what their overall resistance to light is.  Lined drapes, although more expensive will last longer than unlined drapes.  Finally, ask about the suggested care process.  A variety of draperies are combined with insulated backings or linings.  Again, ask about any separate care processes as sometimes these coatings can react adversely in both dry cleaning and washing.

Maintaining Your Drapes

 The Fair Claims Guide issued by the International Fabricare Institute (IFI) states that the life expectancy for lined drapes is five years, for unlined drapes it is four years and for sheers it is only three years.  So many factors contribute to the life expectancy of your draperies that it is important to clean them frequently.  IFI suggests cleaning them at least once a year and that vacuuming them between cleanings will help you get the most from your draperies.

Cleaning Your Drapes

This brings us to the most important thing that you can understand about your drapes...their "Invisible Enemies"!  Though it may sound silly, draperies have a number of environmental conditions in the household that can cause problems.  The sun can weaken, fade and streak the draperies.  Sometimes this is not noticeable until after the soil in the drapes is removed, also the weakened fabric may shred when exposed to the agitation of cleaning.  If your drapes are exposed to water or condensation, water stains may become apparent after cleaning.  Gases, fumes, open fireplaces, wood stoves and tobacco smoke can all contribute to a yellowing of the fabric.  Finally, as we discussed in the 'Buying' section, if your drapes have not been pre-shrunk, you can expect some shrinkage.  Sometimes the drape shrinks more than the lining, causing a puckering effect.

Because of the many problems that can be encountered when cleaning draperies, most drycleaners will ask you to sign a release before cleaning.  But, with the proper care in buying, maintaining and cleaning, you can get the most out of your drapery purchase.

 
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