Author Archives: Utopia Cleaners

7 Tips on Leather Garment Care

woman in leather jacket

Leather garments are not just clothing items; they’re investments in style and durability. From classic leather jackets to luxurious suede boots, caring for these pieces properly is essential to maintain their beauty and extend their lifespan. With the right techniques and products, you can ensure that your leather and suede garments always look their best. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you master the art of leather garment care:

Understanding Leather and Suede:

Before diving into the care tips, it’s crucial to understand the difference between leather and suede. Leather is made from the tanned hide of animals, while suede is a type of leather with a napped finish. Despite their differences, both materials require similar care techniques to keep them looking pristine.

Cleaning Leather and Suede:

Regular cleaning is the foundation of leather garment care. Start by removing any surface dirt or dust using a soft, damp cloth. For stubborn stains or spills, avoid using harsh chemicals and opt for a specialized leather cleaner instead. Always test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility and avoid damage.

Conditioning and Moisturizing:

Leather, like skin, can dry out over time, leading to cracks and stiffness. To prevent this, it’s essential to moisturize your leather garments regularly. Invest in a high-quality leather conditioner and apply it generously, focusing on areas prone to dryness. Conditioning not only keeps the leather soft and supple but also helps to maintain its color and texture.

Protecting Against Water Damage:

One of the biggest enemies of leather and suede is water. Exposure to moisture can cause stains, discoloration, and even irreversible damage. To protect your garments, apply a waterproofing spray or wax designed specifically for leather. Be sure to reapply the waterproofing treatment periodically, especially before the rainy season or winter weather.

Storage and Preservation:

Proper storage is crucial for preserving the quality of your leather and suede garments. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid plastic bags or containers, as they can trap moisture and promote mold growth. Instead, use breathable garment bags or cotton dust covers to protect your garments from dust and humidity.

Handling with Care:

Handle your leather garments with care to avoid unnecessary wear and tear. When hanging them, use padded hangers to prevent creases and stretching. Avoid hanging leather items in crowded closets where they can be crushed or squeezed. When wearing or storing suede garments, be mindful of friction and avoid rubbing them against rough surfaces.

Professional Care:

While regular maintenance can keep your leather garments in excellent condition, sometimes professional care is necessary. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains or extensive damage, consider taking your garments to a reputable leather cleaner. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to safely clean and restore your leather items without causing any further damage.

In conclusion, proper care and maintenance are essential for preserving the beauty and longevity of your leather and suede garments. By following these expert tips and techniques, you can ensure that your investment pieces continue to look their best for years to come. So, embrace the art of leather garment care and enjoy your stylish pieces with confidence and pride.

FAQs About Shirt Laundry

clean folded shirtsYou never get a second chance to make a good first impression. A fresh, laundered and well-pressed shirt is essential.

Utopia Cleaners Boston successfully launders hundreds of shirts every day. And we are very good at it. But, like all things, shirts can outlive their useful life or exhibit other problems. Whether your shirts are store bought, custom-made, expensive, or inexpensive, the problems below identifies and explains those we encounter from time to time.

The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute tells us that the average life expectancy of a shirt is about 35–50 washes, or roughly two years. But even this will fluctuate depending on the amount of abrasion and strain placed on the shirt during wear, the fiber content, and how the shirt is constructed. Sometimes they simply wear out.

No. But we do quickly check every shirt for cracked or missing buttons and replace them before it is returned to you. Do we sometimes miss a button? Yes. But should this happen, you need only point it out and we will immediately take care of it.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Care Labeling Rule states that all components in a garment must withstand the recommended care procedures. If one or more dyes in a multi-colored shirt are not colorfast, bleeding will occur whether you wash it at home or we launder it for you. Significant dye failure is attributable to poor manufacturing and should be returned to the retailer.

Puckering and excess fabric in the collar and cuffs is often the result of the interfacing shrinking leaving an overabundance of outer fabric. We can’t reverse this circumstance. The manufacturer is responsible for using interfacing that is compatible with the shirt fabric.“ What happened to my pinstripes?” At first glance it may look like color loss from bleach, yet a close examination will reveal that only the colored pinstripe yarns are missing, leaving a skeletal framework of the white yarns. Here’s why: the colored yarns were dyed with fiber-reactive or sulfur-based dyes that degrade with repeated laundering. As the shirt nears its life expectancy, the colored yarns can simply wash away.

Most damage in the underarm area is directly related to consumer use. Perspiration, if allowed to stay in a shirt will eventually stain and weaken the fabric. Aluminum chlorides, a key ingredient found in antiperspirants, also weaken the area under the arms. Frequent laundering after wear may minimize this type of damage.

Discoloration or gray or shiny specks on the shirt seams, collar and cuffs, or placket occurs when the shirt manufacturer uses excessive and improperly applied adhesive to fuse interfacings with the outer fabric. In most cases, prevention of this damage is not possible since it cannot be identified prior to laundering.

Typically, when a shirt is made, the manufacturer has allowed for two to three percent shrinkage by cutting fabric a little larger. Finished dimensions that exceed a pre-determined allowance may become too tight in the neck, too short in the sleeve length, and too tight around the middle. When this happens it is usually the result of poorly stabilized fabric and other elements of construction. There is very little we can do as professional cleaners that will cause excessive shrinkage.

Utopia Cleaners recognizes the significance of a meticulously laundered shirt in defining your image. Our expertise and experience in shirt laundry guarantees that your shirts not only meet but exceed the highest standards. Elevate your style with our commitment to quality, attention to detail, and environmentally conscious practices.  For the best quality shirt laundry service in Greater Boston, look no further than Utopia Cleaners.  Visit our stores or schedule a pickup and delivery service today!

Cleaning “Spot Clean Only” Garments

Do you have a garment with a care label that says “spot clean only”? If you do, it means that the garment should not be cleaned in its entirety, whether dry cleaning, wet cleaning or handwashing. Instead, you should only clean the specific stained or soiled area of the garment, referred to as the “spot.”

“Spot clean only” care instructions are typically found on clothing items that are made from delicate or sensitive fabrics, or the dyes used to make it, or have intricate details, embellishments, or components that can be easily damaged by traditional washing methods. Here are some common types of clothing and materials that may be labeled as “spot clean only”:

  • Silk: Silk is a delicate fabric that can be easily damaged by water and harsh cleaning agents. Silk garments, such as blouses, dresses, and ties, often have “spot clean only” instructions.
  • Wool: Wool can shrink and lose its shape when exposed to water or agitation. Wool suits, coats, and sweaters may require spot cleaning to avoid damage.
  • Leather and Suede: Leather and suede items, including jackets, shoes, and bags, are often marked as “spot clean only” to prevent water stains and maintain their texture.
  • Sequined or Beaded Clothing: Garments adorned with sequins, beads, or delicate embroidery can be easily damaged in a washing machine. These items are typically recommended for spot cleaning to preserve their decorative elements.
  • Velvet: Velvet is a sensitive fabric that can lose its pile or become flattened if exposed to water or excessive friction. Velvet dresses, blazers, or accessories may have “spot clean only” labels.
  • Fur: Fur coats, stoles, and accessories are typically spot cleaned to preserve the integrity and texture of the fur.
  • Delicate Lace: Lace items, such as lingerie or dresses, are often labeled as “spot clean only” to prevent the delicate fabric from tearing or stretching.
  • Items with Leather or Suede Trim: Clothing that combines different fabrics, such as a wool coat with leather or suede accents, may have “spot clean only” instructions to protect the leather or suede components.
  • Vintage or Antique Clothing: Vintage clothing items may have fragile fabrics or be more susceptible to damage, making spot cleaning the safer option.
  • Items with Non-Removable Components: Some clothing items have components that cannot be easily removed, such as built-in padding, structure, or wiring. These components can be damaged in traditional washing machines, so spot cleaning is recommended.

Leather jacket

Here are steps to remove a stain from a “spot clean only” garment:

  • Identify the stain: Determine what type of stain you’re dealing with, as different stains may require different cleaning methods. Common stains include food, beverages, oil, ink, and makeup.
  • Act quickly: The sooner you address a stain, the easier it is to remove. Blot the stain gently with a clean, white cloth or paper towel to absorb as much of the stain as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can spread and set deeper into the fabric.
  • Check the care label: Review the care label on the garment for any specific instructions on spot cleaning. It may provide additional guidance or restrictions.
  • Choose a spot cleaning method:
    1. Water and mild detergent: Mix a small amount of mild detergent (like dish soap or laundry detergent) with water to create a solution. Test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration. If it’s safe, dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently dab the stained area. Rinse the cloth and repeat until the stain is gone. Rinse with clean water and blot dry with a clean cloth.
    2. Commercial stain removers: There are various commercial stain removers available specifically designed for spot cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and always test on a hidden area of the fabric first.
    3. Dry cleaning solvent: Some “spot clean only” garments can be treated with a dry-cleaning solvent. Apply the solvent to a clean cloth and blot the stain gently. Make sure to follow any safety precautions and guidelines on the solvent’s label.
  • Blot and rinse: Regardless of the method you use, always blot the stained area and avoid scrubbing or rubbing, as this can damage the fabric. Rinse the cleaned area with clean water or a damp cloth to remove any leftover cleaning solution.
  • Air dry: Allow the garment to air dry completely before wearing or storing it. Do not use a dryer, as heat can set stains.

If the stain persists after one attempt, you may need to repeat the process or seek professional help from a dry cleaner, especially if the garment is valuable or delicate.  Always check the care label or care instructions provided by the manufacturer to determine the specific cleaning recommendations for your clothing. Following these instructions carefully will help you maintain the quality and longevity of your garments.

If in doubt, bring it to the professional dry cleaners at Utopia Cleaners. Our fine dry cleaning service, Classic Care, is designed for handling delicate or “spot clean only” items. At Utopia Cleaners, spot cleaning is performed by our stain removal specialist on a spotting board using a combination of steam, specialty cleaning agents, vacuum and/or air drying. The spot cleaning agent is usually flushed out by dry cleaning fluid during dry cleaning, but in the case of “spot clean only” garments, this cannot be done. As a result, any residue of the spot cleaning agent will remain in the garment and may eventually develop a visible ‘ring’.

If you have a garment with a ‘spot clean only’ label, bring it to us for dry cleaning and we would be happy to discuss the options and risks of different cleaning methods.  Call our free laundry pickup and delivery service or visit one of our dry-cleaning locations in Boston today.

Beware that ultimately, the ‘spot clean only’ label may mean that there is no safe way to clean that garment, so you may wish to think twice before purchasing such a garment.

This post was updated on October 10, 2023.

Professional Care for Delicate Fabrics: Why Silk, Cashmere, and Lace Love Dry Cleaning

Delicate fabrics such as silk, cashmere, and lace exude elegance and luxury, making them cherished pieces in any wardrobe. However, caring for these precious garments can be a daunting task, as they require special attention and expertise. When it comes to preserving the beauty and longevity of delicate fabrics, dry cleaning, especially fine dry cleaning, emerges as the hero. In this article, we delve into why silk, cashmere, and lace love dry cleaning and the benefits of entrusting these luxurious fabrics to professional care. 

lace dress

Gentle Cleaning Process

Dry cleaning is a specialized cleaning method that uses a solvent to dissolve stains and dirt from fabrics without immersing them in water. This process is particularly gentle on delicate fabrics, preventing potential damage caused by agitation in a washing machine. Silk, cashmere, and lace are prone to stretching, shrinking, or losing their shape when exposed to traditional laundering methods. Dry cleaning ensures that these fabrics maintain their original form, texture, and drape, enhancing their beauty and ensuring they look as stunning as the day they were purchased. 

Expert Stain Removal

Accidents happen, and delicate fabrics are no exception to spills and stains. Whether it’s a drop of wine on a silk blouse or a coffee splatter on a lace dress, stains can be a nightmare to remove without causing harm to the fabric. Dry cleaners are experienced in dealing with various types of stains and have the knowledge and tools to tackle them effectively. They can treat stains with precision, increasing the chances of complete removal without leaving unsightly marks. 

Protection from Color Fading

Silk, cashmere, and lace often come in vibrant and intricate designs that are susceptible to color fading or bleeding. Dry cleaning utilizes specific solvents that minimize the risk of color transfer or fading, helping these delicate fabrics retain their original brilliance. By avoiding water immersion, dry cleaning also prevents dyes from bleeding and ensures that the colors remain true and vibrant over time. 

Prolonged Fabric Lifespan

Delicate fabrics are an investment, and naturally, we want them to last as long as possible. Regular dry cleaning can significantly extend the lifespan of silk, cashmere, and lace garments. Professional care helps preserve the structural integrity of the fibers and minimizes wear and tear caused by repeated use. When you choose dry cleaning for your cherished delicate items, you’re investing in their longevity and continued elegance. 

Wrinkle-Free and Professionally Pressed

Ironing delicate fabrics can be a challenge, as high heat and pressure can damage the fibers. Dry cleaning not only removes wrinkles effectively but also employs the use of steam pressing to ensure gentle and precise results. Your silk blouses will remain smooth and flawless, your cashmere sweaters cozy and pristine, and your lace dresses resplendent and refined. 

When it comes to maintaining the exquisite allure of delicate fabrics like silk, cashmere, and lace, dry cleaning stands out as the ideal choice. The gentle cleaning process, expert stain removal, protection from color fading, and wrinkle-free pressing make dry cleaning a match made in heaven for these luxurious textiles. Entrusting your delicate garments to professional care not only ensures their longevity but also allows you to continue enjoying their beauty and elegance for years to come. So, the next time you have a cherished silk blouse, a cozy cashmere sweater, or an intricate lace dress in need of care, let the experts at Utopia Cleaners work their magic and bring out the best in your delicate fabrics.  Contact us today!

 Image credit: Photo by Nathan Walker on Unsplash 

Laundry Tips for Moms Returning from Family Vacations

Family summer vacations and the start of a new school year bring excitement and memories, but they also come with a heap of laundry! Whether you’ve just returned from a relaxing getaway or preparing for the back-to-school rush, handling the post-vacation and back-to-school laundry can be daunting. Fear not! Your favorite Boston dry cleaner, Utopia Cleaners, is ready to pickup all your laundry, no matter how much, clean it and deliver it back to you, saving you hours and even days that you can spend on getting your kids ready for back to school. But if you wish to do it yourself, here are a few practical tips and tricks to make the process easier.

family vacation
  1. Sort and Prioritize: Separate your laundry into different piles based on the type of clothing, fabric, and washing requirements. Prioritize washing clothes that require immediate attention, such as school uniforms or work outfits. Sorting clothes beforehand will help you save time and avoid potential mishaps, like accidentally throwing in a white shirt with colorful beach towels. 
  1. Pre-Treat Stains: Before tossing clothes into the washing machine, check for any stains from your vacation adventures. Whether it’s food stains or grass stains, always treat stains promptly with a stain remover or a mixture of water and laundry detergent. Remember to read care labels and use appropriate stain removal techniques for different fabrics. 
  1. Use Cooler Water Settings: Many vacation clothes, such as summer dresses and swimwear, are made of delicate or synthetic fabrics. To preserve their colors and textures, opt for cooler water settings when washing. Cold water can effectively remove dirt and stains while being gentle on your clothes. 
  1. Hand-Wash Delicate Items: Some items, like delicate lingerie, certain swimwear, or clothes with intricate details, may require special care. Hand-washing these items can ensure they remain in good condition for longer. 
  1. Tackle Laundry in Batches: If you have a large pile of laundry to wash, break it down into manageable batches. Tackling smaller loads will prevent overwhelming the washing machine and help with better cleaning results. 
  1. Wash the Beach Gear immediately: After a beach vacation, make sure to wash all beach towels, swimsuits, and beachwear. Sand and saltwater can cause damage over time if left unattended. 
  1. Air-Dry Wisely: For clothes that require air-drying, such as delicate fabrics or certain knitwear, reshaping them and laying them flat can help maintain their original shape and prevent stretching. 
  1. Share the Load: Get the whole family involved in the laundry process, especially during the back-to-school period. Assign age-appropriate laundry tasks to teach responsibility and lighten the load for yourself. 
  1. Maintenance for your washer/dryer: To keep your washing machine running efficiently, perform regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the lint trap, wiping down the door seal, and running a cleaning cycle with a washing machine cleaner.  
  1. Donate and Declutter: Use the back-to-school season as an opportunity to declutter. Donate clothes that no longer fit or are no longer needed. It will not only create more space but also bring joy to someone else. 

With these laundry tips, coming back from vacation and preparing for the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be a laundry nightmare. Stay organized, follow proper care instructions, and make it a family affair to get through the laundry efficiently. If it is too overwhelming, don’t forget that Utopia Cleaners is here to help. Schedule a laundry pickup and leave it all to us! 

 

Confronting Summertime Food Stains

When the summer season arrives, it brings with it a variety of outdoor activities and events that often involve food. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a barbecue at the beach, or a backyard cookout, summertime is the perfect time to indulge in delicious meals and snacks. However, enjoying these food-filled gatherings can sometimes result in inevitable food stains on clothing and other surfaces. From ketchup and mustard smears to ice cream drips and BBQ sauce splatters, summertime food stains can be challenging to remove if not addressed promptly. However, with the right cleaning methods and a little bit of patience, these stains can be removed. 

To effectively remove stains, we need to understand the characteristics of different types of stains and a good knowledge of fabrics, as different materials may react differently to certain stain treatments. Using the wrong treatment can potentially damage the fabric or set the stain deeper, making it even more difficult to remove. 

Types of Food Stains 

Food stains can be categorized into three primary types based on their composition and origin: tannin stains, oil/grease stains, and protein-based stains. Interestingly, some of the delectable summer foods we enjoy can actually combine these different types of stains. For instance, a juicy watermelon slice may leave behind tannin stains due to its vibrant red flesh, while also leaving a sticky residue from its natural sugars. Similarly, barbecues and grilled foods often involve the use of oils and fats, which can result in oil/grease stains on clothing or patio furniture. Additionally, protein-based stains may occur from enjoying grilled meats or indulging in dairy-based desserts like ice cream.  

By identifying the specific stain type, appropriate cleaning methods and products can be employed to restore fabrics and surfaces to their pristine condition, ensuring that our favorite summer foods leave behind only cherished memories, not stubborn stains. 

Tannin Stains 

Tannin stains are commonly caused by the consumption of various beverages and foods. These stains can result from the consumption of beverages such as wine, beer, and fruit juices, as well as the consumption of foods like tomato sauce and chocolate. Their color can range from a deep red or brown to a dark purple, depending on the specific source of the tannins. Tannin stains can be particularly troublesome on fabrics, carpets, and upholstery, as they can penetrate deep into the fibers and become embedded. Therefore, prompt and effective stain removal methods are necessary to prevent permanent discoloration and keep surfaces looking clean and presentable. 

To treat tannin stains, start by using a clean cloth or paper towel to gently blot and remove any excess liquid from the affected area. Take care not to rub the stain, as this can spread it further. Next, prepare a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Ensure that the water is not too hot, as this can potentially set the stain. Mix the detergent and water together until it forms a soapy solution. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy solution and gently apply it to the stained area. Gently scrub the fabric in a circular motion, working the detergent into the stain. Take care not to be too forceful, as this can damage the fabric.   

Once the stain has been thoroughly treated, rinse the cloth or sponge with clean water to remove any excess detergent. Gently dab the fabric with the damp cloth or sponge to remove the soap residue. Finally, allow the fabric to air dry naturally. Avoid using any heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters, as these can cause shrinkage or damage to the material. If the stain persists after this treatment, it may be necessary to repeat the process or seek professional cleaning assistance. 

people drinking red wine

Oil or grease-based stains 

Oil or grease-based stains are commonly caused by substances such as cooking oils, salad dressings, and meat products. These stains can easily occur during food preparation or consumption and can leave unsightly marks on various surfaces. Cooking oils, which include vegetable, canola, and olive oils, are particularly prone to causing stains due to their greasy nature. Similarly, salad dressings that contain oil-based ingredients like mayonnaise or vinaigrette can also leave stubborn stains if spilled or splattered. Additionally, meats, especially fatty cuts, can release greasy substances that may lead to staining if not promptly addressed. Whether it’s on clothing, furniture, or kitchen countertops, oil or grease-based stains can be quite challenging to remove, often requiring specific cleaning methods and products. 

To treat a stain caused by excess grease, start by blotting the affected area gently with a clean cloth or paper towel. This will help absorb any excess grease and prevent it from spreading further. Next, dampen a clean cloth or sponge with water and gently dab the stained area. Be careful not to rub the stain, as this may push it deeper into the fabric. The water will help to dilute the grease and make it easier to remove.   

After dabbing with water, apply a commercial pre-treatment product specifically designed for removing grease stains. Follow the instructions provided on the product label, as different pre-treatments may have specific application techniques and recommended waiting times. Allow the pre-treatment to sit on the stain for the recommended duration, which is usually a few minutes. This will allow the product to penetrate and break down the grease, making it easier to remove during laundering.   

Finally, launder the garment as per the care instructions, using the recommended water temperature and detergent. Ensure to check the care label on the garment for any specific instructions or limitations. Wash the stained item separately or with similar fabrics to avoid transferring any remaining grease or stain to other clothes.   

Once the laundering process is complete, check the stained area to see if the grease stain has been fully removed. If it persists, repeat the treatment process outlined above or consider seeking professional cleaning assistance. 

woman eating hotdog

Protein-based stains 

Protein-based stains are those that are caused by substances that contain proteins. Examples of such stains include milk, cheese, and eggs. These stains occur when these protein-rich substances come into contact with surfaces such as fabric or furniture. Protein stains can be particularly stubborn and challenging to remove, as proteins have a tendency to bind strongly to the materials they come in contact with. Therefore, it is important to address these stains promptly and with appropriate stain-removal techniques to prevent them from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove. 

To treat the affected area, start by gently dabbing the excess fluid using a dry sponge. Be careful not to rub or scrub the stain, as this may cause it to spread or become embedded further into the fabric. After removing the excess fluid, rinse the stained area with cold water. This helps to dilute and remove any remaining residue.  

Next, choose a detergent that specifically contains enzymes. Enzymes are effective in breaking down and removing organic stains, such as food or bodily fluids. Follow the instructions on the detergent packaging for the appropriate amount to use.  

Apply the detergent directly to the stained area and gently work it into the fabric using a soft brush or your fingertips. Allow the detergent to sit on the stain for a few minutes to allow the enzymes to work effectively.  

After the designated time, rinse the treated area thoroughly with cold water to remove the detergent and any loosened particles. Check the stain to see if it has been completely removed. If not, repeat the process or consider using a stain remover specifically designed for the type of stain you are dealing with.  

Finally, once the stain has been successfully removed, launder the garment as per the care instructions provided. This ensures that any remaining traces of the stain, detergent, or treatment solution are completely eliminated, leaving your fabric fresh and clean. 

child eating icecream

Treatment of Stains from Our Favorite Foods 

How do those stain types apply to your favorite foods? 

Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, & Steaks 

The sizzling fats and juices from burgers, hot dogs, and steaks tend to splatter and leave stubborn marks on tablecloths, clothing, or any surface unlucky enough to come into contact with them. These are classic grease stains and must be treated promptly as described above. 

French Fries 

To remove a grease stain caused by French fries, treat it promptly and effectively using the method described above for grease stains.  

pizza and soft drinks

Pizza 

Pizza stains are often caused by a combination of tannin, grease, and protein, which can make them particularly stubborn to remove. To effectively tackle pizza stains, it is recommended to start by treating the affected area with a mild detergent. This gentle cleaning agent is capable of breaking down the various components of the stain without causing damage to the material. By using a mild detergent, you can dissolve the grease, remove the protein residue, and break down the tannin pigments, thereby effectively eliminating the pizza stain. 

Ice Cream & Popsicles 

In addition to its protein content, certain flavors of ice cream, such as chocolate and coffee, also contain tannin.  

Alcoholic Beverages 

Beer and wine stains should be treated as tannin stains.  

Get Help from a Trusted Dry Cleaner 

Are you tired of dealing with stubborn food stains on your clothes? Look no further than Utopia Cleaners to take care of all your laundry needs! We are a professional laundry and dry cleaning service that specializes in removing even the toughest stains from your garments.  Say goodbye to food stains and hello to pristine garments. Contact us today to schedule your free drop off or visit one of our convenient locations. 

 

Image credits: Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash ; Photo by Frederick Medina on Unsplash

This post was updated on July 6, 2023.

Caring for Viscose and Rayon Clothing

Viscose and rayon are often used interchangeably to refer to the same type of fabric. Rayon is a general term that encompasses several types of cellulose-based fibers, and viscose is a specific type of rayon.

Viscose is a popular form of rayon that is made from regenerated cellulose fibers. It is produced by dissolving cellulose from wood pulp or other plant-based sources and then extruding it through spinnerets to create fine filaments. These filaments are then spun into yarns and woven or knitted into fabric.

Viscose rayon is a luxurious silk-life fabric known for its softness, smooth texture, comfortable drape and bright beautiful colors. It is commonly used in various types of clothing, including dresses, blouses, skirts, and shirts.

It’s worth noting that there are other types of rayon as well, such as modal, lyocell, and bamboo rayon, each with its own unique properties and manufacturing processes. However, when people use the term “rayon” in a general sense, they are often referring to viscose rayon.

Viscose rayon blouseTips on How to Care for Rayon and Viscose Clothing

Read the Care Label:

Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer on the garment’s care label. Rayon and viscose garments may have specific guidelines for washing, drying, and ironing, so it’s important to follow them for optimal care.

Hand Wash or Gentle Machine Wash:

Viscose is susceptible to shrinkage and damage, so it’s generally safer to hand wash it. However, take care not to twist or wring to remove moisture. If you prefer machine washing, use a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Place the viscose garment in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect it from excessive agitation and friction.

Use Mild Detergent:

Choose a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents, bleach, or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibers and affect the appearance of rayon. Gently agitate the garment in the soapy water and then rinse thoroughly.

Avoid Excessive Agitation:

When washing viscose clothes by hand or machine, avoid excessive rubbing, wringing, or twisting. These actions can cause stretching, distortion, or damage to the fabric. Instead, gently swish the garment in the water or allow it to soak to loosen any dirt or stains.

Handle with Care:

When washing and rinsing rayon clothing, be gentle. Avoid pulling or stretching the fabric, as it can lose its shape. It’s also advisable to wash rayon items separately or with other delicate fabrics to prevent snagging or tangling. For bright colored rayon clothing, dye fading may occur when cleaned. Bright colors also fade readily to sunlight.

Drying:

After washing, avoid wringing out or twisting viscose garments. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water without wringing and lay the garment flat on a clean towel. Roll the towel with the garment inside to absorb the remaining moisture. Finally, reshape the garment and lay it flat to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Alternatively, you can also partial tumble dry at low temperatures, followed by air-dry to minimize shrinkage.

Ironing:

Rayon and viscose fabric can easily wrinkle, so ironing is often necessary to restore a smooth appearance. However, iron rayon garments when they are slightly damp or use a low heat setting on your iron. If needed, place a pressing cloth or a clean, thin cotton fabric between the iron and the rayon to protect it from direct heat.

Hanging:

Avoid hanging viscose and rayon garments for extended periods as they may stretch or lose their shape. If you choose to hang them, use padded hangers to provide support and minimize stretching at the shoulders.

Dry Cleaning:

If the care label recommends dry cleaning for your viscose or rayon garment, it’s best to follow those instructions. Professional dry cleaning can help maintain the fabric’s integrity and prevent potential damage.

Wearing:

Even weak acids solutions can readily discolor the dyes on rayon fibers. This includes many skin care products, deodorants, and perspiration.

Remember, the specific care requirements for rayon clothing may vary depending on the garment’s construction, blend, and any additional trims or embellishments. Always refer to the care label and take note of any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Utopia Cleanes offers Classic Care fine dry cleaning service to take care of your luxurious garments. Our specialists will carefully hand-clean and finish it to perfection. Visit one of our dry cleaners near you today!

How to Care for Comforters

Now that the weather is warming up in Boston, it’s the perfect time to do some spring cleaning. When was the last time you washed your bedroom comforter? Comforters don’t need to be washed weekly like sheets, but they do tend to accumulate dirt and dander, especially if your furry friends like to lay on them or even sleep under them. So how do you clean your heavy bedroom comforter? 

cat sleeping under a big comforter

Your Washing Machine May Not Be Big Enough

The obvious answer to how to clean your comforter would be to throw it into the washer. Right? Well, if you happen to have a large capacity washing machine with a bulky cycle, then, by all means, wash it. (Be sure to check the label for specific care instructions first.) However, most standard machines we use at home are too small to wash a large heavy comforter. You may have to take it to a local laundromat or dry cleaner nearby

How to Machine Wash Your Comforter

If you do have a washing machine big enough to fit your comforter, then check the care label before attempting to wash it. Some comforters come with a temporary label, so it is important that you save it.  If there isn’t a dry clean only warning, then it should be safe for machine washing.

You may need to pre-treat stains before washing, especially if they are older or set-in stains. If there are no specific instructions for water temperature on the label, opt for cold water and a delicate setting. It is also a good idea to use slightly less detergent than recommended since it can be harder to rinse the suds from the delicate fibers. In addition, it is a good idea to wash bedding of matching colors at the same time so that the color of the comforter doesn’t fade more than the shams, for instance.

How to Dry Your Comforter

Once your comforter is washed, drying can be tricky. Because some comforters may have delicate or intricate fabrics or designs, you would need to shake off excess water before placing it in the dryer. Always dry on the lowest heat setting and remove immediately to avoid wrinkling. Make sure the comforter is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold or mildew.  You can store comforters in plastic containers and keep them in climate-controlled areas of your house.

If you’re unsure if your comforter is washable, or it won’t fit in your washer or dryer, take it to Utopia Cleaners. Take advantage of our free laundry pickup service. We would be happy to pickup it up from your house, clean it, store it during the summer season and deliver it back to you next winter!

Shrinkage of comforters

The other day, a customer asked “I washed a comforter that shrank. What happened?”

comforter

Well, some natural relaxation shrinkage can show up after cleaning household items such as comforters, bedspreads, and blankets. There is usually a fullness of the backing or shell fabric, causing a puckered appearance. Also, any piping borders, quilting stitches, and seams may be rippled or distorted.

Although many factors can contribute to this type of shrinkage, the major cause is the original fabric not being properly preshrunk or stabilized before the article was constructed. When this occurs, the latent strains of relaxation will appear during any acceptable care procedure.

Some slight shrinkage (approximately 2-4 percent) is to be expected on all household items, but on properly cleaned items that shrink excessively, the manufacturer should be held responsible.

Color Fading in Comforters

Unfortunately, comforters, quilts, bedspreads, and other household items can sometimes fade during dry cleaning. In most cases, the surface color has a streaked or frosted appearance. There may also be an overall lightening or complete change of color. Sometimes this type of color change or fading may not be noticeable until the bedspread or comforter is compared with other matching components in the bedroom ensemble.

Fading of this kind occurs when the dyes or pigments applied during manufacturing are not colorfast to dry cleaning solvent. Unfortunately, as dry cleaners, we have no way of knowing whether the dyes will fade during acceptable cleaning procedures.

bedding and comforter cleaning

When you bring in a comforter or bedspread for cleaning, tell us that you want it tested for color fastness prior to cleaning regardless of the label. Testing should also be done to determine which care process laundering or dry cleaning would be safest for the color. In some cases, bedspreads that cannot be dry cleaned may be laundered safely. However, there are bedspreads and comforters, especially prints, that cannot withstand washing or dry cleaning procedures without fading.

If tests show that the colors may fade, you will need to decide how or if you want us to clean the bedspread, which may result in fading of the colors. If you decide you still want it cleaned, you should have any matching components cleaned as well to ensure that the color will be consistent. You will need to sign a release. Most of all, you should remember that once a bedspread or comforter has faded, the colors cannot be restored.

Save time for more important things! Let Utopia Cleaners help you care for your household items. Just call our laundry pickup and delivery service at 617-247-8886 or email delivery@utopiacleanersboston.com.

What Makes a Dry Cleaner Eco-friendly?

As we celebrate Earth Day, have you thought about what makes a dry cleaner eco-friendly?

Celebrate Earth Day

Eco-friendly dry cleaners, or green dry cleaners, typically refer to dry cleaners who use eco-friendly dry-cleaning methods such as wet cleaning, liquid CO2 cleaning, and GreenEarth cleaning. Traditional dry cleaning involves the use of a solvent called perchloroethylene (also known as “perc”), which can be harmful to both human health and the environment. Dry cleaners can switch to these methods to reduce their environmental impact.

Green dry-cleaning methods

  • Wet cleaning: This method involves using water and a biodegradable detergents to clean clothes instead of solvents. It is particularly effective for cleaning delicate fabrics that would not withstand the heat and agitation of traditional dry cleaning. The owner of Utopia Cleaners, Myeong Ho Lowe, is an early adopter of this method. He experimented and perfected the wet cleaning system at his processing plant in Arlington, MA. As a result, workers there are no longer exposed to perc, and hazardous wastes and air emissions are no longer produced.
  • Liquid CO2 cleaning: This method uses liquid carbon dioxide instead of solvents to clean clothes. The liquid CO2 is pressurized and pumped through the clothing, where it acts as a cleaning agent. This method is more expensive than traditional dry cleaning, but it is environmentally friendly and does not produce hazardous waste.
  • GreenEarth cleaning: GreenEarth is a silicone-based solvent that is non-toxic and biodegradable. It can be used in traditional dry-cleaning machines with some modifications, making it a cost-effective and eco-friendly option.
  • Air and vapor cleaning: This method uses air and vapor to clean clothes instead of solvents. It is a relatively new technology, but it has the potential to be a highly sustainable dry-cleaning method.

Most dry cleaners also offer wash, dry and fold laundry services. Eco-friendly dry cleaners use detergents made with natural, biodegradable ingredients free from harmful chemicals. Switching to these detergents can help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals that are released into the environment. They also use chlorine-free softeners and dryer sheets. In 2019, Utopia Cleaners introduced a germ-free laundry service that uses an environmentally friendly soap to remove germs from dirty laundry such as sick bed linens, stained garments and underwear.

Eco-friendly Garment Bags

According to some estimates, over 5 billion plastic bags are used annually, and each plastic bag can take hundreds of years to decompose. When they do decompose, they leave small particles behind that pollute the environment. The plastic poly bags used for your dry-cleaning break easily and are usually thrown into the garbage after a single use. Then they end up sitting in a landfill for years. To help save the environment, Utopia Cleaners uses reusable canvas bags from Green Garmento instead of plastic poly bags.

Reusable eco-friendly laundry bag for our dry cleaning customers

Unlike plastic dry-cleaning bags, the eco-friendly Green Garmento bag is not made of harsh chemicals that harm the environment.  It can be used like a hamper for collecting your laundry and dry cleaning. When it is filled, you tie it up and call us for laundry pickup service. After cleaning, we will deliver your professionally cleaned garments back to you ready to hang. And don’t worry about having to clean the bag either! We will do that for you and return the same bag back to you after each dry cleaning! Amazing right?

Other Earth-friendly Business Practices

Dry cleaners have other ways to help save the earth as well.

Most dry cleaners have recycling programs for hangers and packaging materials to reduce waste.

Dry cleaners can adopt sustainable business practices such as using energy-efficient lighting and reducing water usage.

Utopia Cleaners is committed to environmentally friendly business practices. We hope you will join us in making the world a better place to live for future generations.

Cashmere Clothing Care

Boston has just emerged from the frigid arctic air that swept through New England in the last few days, and it may not be over yet as we are still in the middle of winter. To protect ourselves from brutal cold weather, warm clothing made of cashmere, such as coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, and gloves, is a good choice. Cashmere is a luxurious material, a fiber made from the wool of cashmere goats. It is soft and light with excellent insulation. However, these fibers also have a fine texture and are easily damaged. Cashmere clothing therefore requires additional care to keep it looking its best.

Buy cashmere blend

Buy a garment made from a blend of ordinary wool and cashmere. This type of clothing will be stronger and last longer than a garment made from pure cashmere.

Length of your cashmere coat

Consider the length carefully when buying a cashmere coat. A short coat is stylish, but it won’t protect your legs from cold weather. On the other hand, a long hemline will attract debris more easily.

Light or dark color cashmere?

woman holding some cashmere sweatersChoose the color of your cashmere garment. The fine fibers of cashmere pick up lint very easily, which is less obvious on darker colors. Everyday cashmere clothing should therefore be dark, and you should reserve light-colored cashmere clothing for special occasions.

Cleaning cashmere clothes

Clean cashmere garments more frequently to remove the lint. This type of clothing typically requires dry cleaning. But for cashmere sweaters and scarves, even though the cleaning label may say “dry clean only,” you can hand wash them individually with a mild detergent like Woolite or Essence. Handwashing cashmere may even make it softer over time. However, never wash cashmere in the washing machine.

When washing cashmere by hand, take care not to wring the sweater. Press out the water and then lay it flat on a towel to dry at room temperature. The towel will absorb excess water from the sweater and help it dry faster. Do not put it in the dryer!

Wash your cashmere once or twice a season. Always clean it before putting it away for the next season.

Pilling in cashmere sweaters

When wool is spun into a yarn, the fibers can be of different lengths. The shorter fibers tend to crawl out on the surface in those parts that are subject to friction during wearing.  To remove these pills, you can use a pilling comb or swipe a fabric shaver carefully over the wool fabric. Don’t rub too hard or it may damage the fabric and create more pills.  Never use dust rollers on cashmere sweaters because the sticky side can pull up the fibers and produce even more pilling. 

Removing stains from cashmere clothing

Treat stains right away. If you blot spills immediately and then take your garment to the cleaners to be professionally removed, stains won’t develop later.

If your cashmere garment is especially valuable, or have special trims such as leather, or sequins and beads, then consider using our best quality dry cleaning service, Classic Care.

How to store cashmere clothing

Do not put cashmere sweaters on hangers. The sweater will stretch due to its own weight, and the hanger will cause shoulder dimples. Instead, store folded sweaters over padded hangers in a well-ventilated closet or in drawers. Remember to remove belts, empty pockets, and close any zippers as well. To avoid a line running down the middle of the sweater, fold each side of the sweater inward by a third. Smooth the arms down, and fold in half.

To put your cashmere clothing into long term storage during summer, you should always clean them first to prevent mildew and insect bites. Carefully check for any stains and remove them before storage as the warmth and atmospheric exposure in the closet may set the stain. Store cashmere in natural material bags that breathe. Don’t use plastic bags as they may attract moisture, build up static or even discolor the clothing. 

Knitted cashmere can be susceptible to pilling, stretching, fraying seams and shrinkage, both from use and cleaning. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us!

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to the communities in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Arlington, Woburn, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Belmont, Winchester, and Lexington via dry cleaning delivery service and laundry pickup service. Other services include alterations, wedding gown preservation and shirt laundry.

Photo credit: Adrianrowe