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Removing Poison Ivy from Clothing

Summer in Boston means more time enjoying the outdoors, whether it’s at camp, playing in the back yard, gardening, or hiking. That can mean a brush with poison ivy.

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) produces an active irritant called urushiol, an oily resin contained in all parts of the plant, but the leaves are the most toxic.  Contact with any part of the plant can cause an allergic reaction ranging from simple skin irritation to life-threatening allergic response. Pets are less likely to suffer from poison ivy but they can spread it to you and your family. When your clothing comes in contact with poison ivy, the oily resin remains on the fabric and can get transferred to your skin. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to take care of clothes that have been exposed to poison ivy.

Poison ivy by the road sideBoth dry-cleaning and laundering are acceptable methods for removing poison ivy from clothing. Wear vinyl or thick cotton gloves when handling the contaminated items no matter which method you choose to avoid contact with your skin.

Laundering is preferred because it provides multiple flushes through the fabric. Lots of hot water, agitation, and washing time are the keys to poison ivy removal.

Wash the contaminated clothing separately at the highest recommended water temperature for the fabric. Use a full scoop of laundry detergent. Use the longest wash cycle and the largest load setting to maximize the amount of water.  More wash water circulating through the fabric helps remove the oil.   Leave plenty of room in the washing machine for the clothes to agitate freely so that all of the oil is exposed and flushed away.  The load should only fill the washer halfway at most.  Divide the clothes into multiple loads if necessary.

Run the empty washer once on a hot self-cleaning cycle to remove any residual oil.

It is necessary to clean the laundry basket or hamper that contained the contaminated clothes as well. This can be done by scrubbing it with some detergent and hot water.

If the clothing is dry clean only, bring it to Utopia Cleaners and be sure to tell the dry cleaners at our stores that the clothing has been exposed to poison ivy oils.  Alternatively, you can take advantage of the convenience of our wash dry and fold service or dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. Again, remember to let us know that the laundry had come into contact with poison ivy.

 

 

 

 

 

Common Sense Rules for Summertime Storage

Now that winter is over, it’s time to store away all those winter clothes until next season. Follow these simple rules to keep your winter fashions looking good season after season.
garments stored in plastic boxes

  1. Wash and dry clean everything before storage. Some stains that are now invisible may darken with age. Dirt and food are also invitations to insects.
  2. Make all necessary repairs—sew sagging hemlines, replace missing buttons, and fix split seams— before cleaning and storing for the season. To save time, take advantage of alterations services at the local dry cleaner.
  3. Store all items in a cool, well-ventilated area. Hot attics, damp basements, and garages are to be avoided.
  4. Store away from natural and artificial light. A cool, dark closet is a good location for storage. Store woolens in cedar chests or other airtight containers. Second choices for storage are cloth or canvas bags and cardboard boxes. If you store your garments in a closet, drape a cloth sheet over your clothes to protect them from dust and light. Do not store leathers, furs, and woolens in plastic. Plastic encourages moisture, which can create mildew in  clothes.
  5. Pack airtight containers (other than cedar chests) with mothballs suspended above or separate from the clothes— never place mothballs directly on the clothes. Cedar blocks or chips also discourage moths.
  6. To decrease wrinkles in sweaters, fold them and wrap in white tissue paper before storing. If you hang your sweaters, fold over the cross bar to avoid shoulder stretches.
  7. Down, like all winter clothing, should be cleaned (either washed or dry cleaned according to the care label) before storage. Down coats should be stored loosely to allow for air circulation.
  8. Furs should be stored on a well-padded hanger in a cool, dark place, ideally with a professional fur storage company or a dry cleaner with fur storage capacity.

If you do not have proper storage space, call us about box storage. You can get your clothes cleaned, properly stored in a cool, dry environment and have them ready to wear next winter. Put your winter clothing in your VIP bag and schedule a free dry cleaning pickup today!

Caring for Your Linen Clothes

Are you wondering how to properly care for and clean any linen garments or items you own? If so, you’re in the right place! Check out the following tips for how to properly care for and clean your linen items to make sure they stay looking fresh.

How to Care for Linen Garments

Linen is known for its crisp, smooth finish and it is a popular spring and summer fabric. Unfortunately, with that crisp finish comes with the tendency to wrinkle easily, and manufacturers have responded by producing linen with blends of other fabrics to help make linens more wrinkle resistant. These blends offer two advantages over pure linen. The first is that they can retain crispness and the second is that they are softer and more comfortable to wear. Generally, blends are less expensive than pure linen.

linen shirt

Linen blends often require special attention, based on the individual fabrics used in the blend. Be sure that you always check the care label carefully and care for the linen garment accordingly. Linen blended with polyester may respond very well to a washing procedure, while linen blended with silk usually requires dry cleaning.

One of the problems with linen is the removal of stains. For example, many napkins and tablecloths contain a high percentage of polyester, and these fibers attach themselves to oils and greases. If these stains are left on the fabric for some time before the article is washed, a yellow stain may appear.

In some cases, a linen article can be rejuvenated. Dry cleaning can be very effective in removing these stains. However, if the stain is left on the fabric for a long time, or subjected to previous washing and drying cycles, the stain may become permanent.

How to Clean Linen Clothing

In most cases, follow these tips when it’s time to clean your linen garments or items:

  • Linen can be washed, but it can shrink if it has not been pre-shrunk by the manufacturer. Always make sure to check the label before laundering.
  • If you decide to machine wash your linens, make sure that you use warm water and select a short, gentle cycle.
  • Always separate colors before washing because many linen items may bleed.
  • To dry your linen garments, place them on a clothing rack or hang them up using a hanger.
  • Have all pieces of your linen outfits dry-cleaned at the same time to avoid color discrepancies.
  • When pressing your linen garments, use a high temperature with a spray mist or damp cloth.
  • If your linen garments have already been treated with a wrinkle-resistant finish, make sure to use a lower setting when you are ironing the item.

If you have any questions, Utopia Cleaners is here to help! We happily serve customers in the Boston area, so be sure to bring your garments to us or schedule a dry-cleaning pickup and delivery today!

How Do You Clean Crepe Clothing?

What is Crepe?

The fabric crepe was originally made from silk and used to mourn the death of a loved one. Today, crepe is more commonly used in garment construction, as it is suitable for all seasons and many different types of occasions. Evening gowns, dresses, linin garments, suiting and curtains, window treatments and pillows are the most common occasions that crepe is used for.

Crepe is typically made from cotton, wool and synthetic fibers such as elastane and polyester, with polyester being the most popular due to its comfortability and wrinkle resistance. The following are characteristics of crepe:

  • Wrinkle-like appearance
  • Breathable, especially in hotter temperatures
  • A great option for warm weather
  • Low heat resistance
  • Provides dimension for garments
  • Great for formal wear and evening gowns due to its beautiful fluid drape
crepe fabric

Care tips for crepe garments

Due to its fiber composition, most crepe garments are “Dryclean Only.” Make sure to always read the garment’s label first before cleaning it at home or taking it to your Boston drycleaner.

Follow these care tips if you are cleaning your crepe garments at home:

  • If the care label says it is safe to wash the garment, handwash the garment with cool water and rinse thoroughly. Handwashing is the safest way to wash crepe.
  • If you prefer to machine wash your garment, turn the garment inside out, place it in a mesh washing bag and then select delicate cycle, cold water and low spin.
  • When you are finished washing your garment, gently press the water out of the garment. Never wring the garment.
  • Make sure to always air dry your garment. Do not tumble dry your garment, as it may result in irreversible damage.
  • Crepe typically wrinkles after being washed and dried. To remove any wrinkles, steam the garment for the best and safest results.
  • Finishing usually requires blocking the fabric to get it back to its original shape.
  • Crepe is extremely susceptible to shrinkage when exposed to moisture. This is especially true for crepes that contain wool, silk or rayon. Home stain removal on crepe garments may also result in localized shrinkage. If your garment has stains on it, gently treat them with a proven stain solution or wash & stain bar.
  • To freshen up the garment between wears, you can use a delicate fabric spritz.
  • If storing the garment, make sure it is clean and then put it in a breathable cotton storage bag.

Utopia Cleaners is here to help and happily serves customers in the Greater Boston area. Bring your garments to our dry cleaners or schedule a dry cleaning pickup today!

Keeping Coats, Jackets, and Blazers in Top Condition

While your favorite coat may be keeping you warm this month, we all have jackets and blazers that we use through the year and these pieces of clothing can take a beating. The care method for a coat will depend on its fiber content. For example, coats made of wool, leather, and suede may require more care than coats made of other fibers.

For the most part, follow these tips to help keep your coats looking great year round:woman in winter coat

  • Wear scarves to avoid soiling the collar, especially for leather and suede coats. Oily stains from hair and skin preparations can permanently stain some fabrics.
  • Clean the coat whenever it is soiled. For wool coats, brush with a soft suede brush after each use. Brushing removes surface soil and lint. Blot spills with a paper towel or absorbent cloth immediately to absorb the moisture. Do not rub. Rubbing will push the spill deeper into the fabric.
  • If you are washing your coats at home, the washing cycle you will use is very important and is unique to what each coat is made from. Wool coats, down coats and vests should be washed using the gentle cycle. Fleece coats, garments, waterproof coats and vinyl coats should be washed using the permanent-press cycle, while faux fur coats and leather jackets should only be hand-washed. For best results when hand-washing your coats, be sure to treat any stains on the coat before you move forward with hand-washing it.
  • Do not wash natural fur coats and sued coats at home. These types of coats need to be cleaned by professionals who specialize in caring for fur and sued coats. Contact your local dry cleaner, Utopia Cleaners, when you need your fur coat or sued coat cleaned.
  • Before you clean your coat at home, make sure all buttons are secured and the coat is zipped up to avoid snags or tears when it is being washed.
  • Whenever cleaning, always remember to follow the instructions on the care label. The care label tells you what the correct temperature of water should be, which washing cycle to use and if the coat can be tumble dried or if it should be air dried only. If you do not care for the coat properly, irreversible damage could be done to the coat. When in doubt, ask your Boston dry cleaner, Utopia Cleaners.
  • Make an effort to clean the coat once during the season and again before storing.
  • When storing, hang your coat on a padded hanger in a well-ventilated closet. Avoid hanging a coat by its neck on a coat rack. For off season storage, place it in a garment bag. This will help to prevent insect bites.

Coats, blazers and jackets are usually expensive garments. Keeping them in top condition will not only safeguard your investment and avoid having to buy new ones, you will also look impressive and outstanding in them.

Utopia Cleaners serves customers in the Greater Boston area. Bring your coats and jackets to our dry cleaners or schedule a dry cleaning pickup today!

Photo by Asiya Kiev on Unsplash

 

Ways to Get Your Old Garments Back to Life Again

Some clothes care services are a little harder to find than others. A tear in an heirloom garment  does not mean it is lost forever. Faded colors can be brought back to life and clothing can be restyled to reflect more current fashion trends. More often than not, Utopia Cleaners can help you get your garment back in shape again.

Changing Your Style

Let’s say you bought a suit last year. The fashion changed and now it’s outsville. You can save your investment in this new antique and have it restyled to match the current trends so you won’t appear to be behind the times.

Very often, Utopia Cleaners can tailor or restyle your clothes for only about 10% of the original price of the garment. It’s like saving 90% on a new one.

Fixing a Hole

Reweaving is the process of repairing a woven fabric by taking existing yarns and mending holes. Often the procedure leaves no trace of the former damage. This specialized service is not normally offered by tailors and seamstresses. It is difficult to make sweeping guarantees with reweaving, but it is an option that could work for you.

hole in a sweater

Dyeing Old Garments

Just as summers end and roses die, colors fade and leave only traces of their former beauty. Some faded items can be saved from the donation pile and restored to their original brightness, or within a close approximation.

Redyeing a garment will not restore damage due to color loss from bleaches and light fading, or cover up stains. Garments made from natural and man-made fibers may be difficult to redye since each fiber type may require the use of a different type of dye. Acetate is also very difficult to redye. Some dyes will only accept natural fibers.

Ripples in the Fabric

In shirts and dresses, pleats are one of those trends that come and go. Some pleats are mechanically installed, meaning they need to be kept up or they will flatten over time.

Many factors can lead to the loss of pleats in a garment that does not feature permanent pleats. Fear not, depleted pleats can be reconstructed and restored with little cost to you and no risk to the garment.

Anything that can be put in can also be taken away. If your pleats are giving you the blues, you can have them removed.

woman in pleated skirt

Altering Old Garments

Alterations come in handy when you lose or gain weight, or wish to change the style of a garment. The experienced and highly-skilled seamstresses at Utopia Cleaners can alter the shape, size, and fit of old garments. We can also change hem sizes, replace zippers, add trim, or anything else you wish to make your garment look stylish and beautiful again.

tailors performing alterations

History Need Not Fade Into Obscurity

Historic and antique items are often irreplaceable. Unfortunately, time wears them away. Just moving an object from one place to another can cause wear and tear.

Our specialists can help your timeless items make it farther into the future.

Suits worn by Abraham Lincoln have been restored to like-new appearances, and many wedding gowns have been brought back to life for a bride, sometimes many generations later than the original owner.

Sadly, with restoration there are few guarantees. But we can give you a good estimate of the chance for success with your project.

Sometimes buying new isn’t really worth it. If you have something you’d like to keep, alter or restore, we’d be happy to help. Contact us at customerservice@utopiacleaners.com or call 781-648-4783 with your problem. One of our specialists will gladly answer your questions.

Look your best on the slopes!

Ski apparel worn by skiiers Instead of sulking over the brutal snowy winter in Boston, how about embracing it with some fun activities such as snowboarding or skiing?

Whether you are spending a ski weekend in New Hampshire or perhaps the Blue Hills ski area just outside Boston, your ski jackets, pants and gloves do get soiled at the end of the day.

Ski apparel is often waterproof or water resistant, and using your everyday laundry detergent may damage its water repellency.  If your ski wear is soiled in some areas, spot clean it with water and mild soap. You may also try an in-wash waterproofing product – make sure it’s for clothing, not tents or sleeping bags. After washing and rinsing in the washing machine, run the ski apparel through a second wash cycle using an in-wash waterproofing solution. Use cold water, and make sure there are no other clothes in the washer. After washing, do not put your ski clothing in the dryer. It should be air dried on sturdy hangers. Also make sure that the ski clothes are not hung near direct sunlight or a heat source.

For heavily soiled ski apparel, or after many uses, it would be best to have it professionally cleaned. Boston dry cleaner Utopia Cleaners serves the Greater Boston area and will clean your ski garments and reproof them so that you always look great and feel comfortable wearing them on the slopes. Don’t forget to check our coupons page in the Winter/Spring season for special offers for dry cleaning ski apparel.

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.

Back To School Tips for Clothing Care

In Boston, getting ready for another year of school almost always calls for at least one shopping trip. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or college student you’ve got some looking good to do this year. The most important thing for students is to be comfortable in what they’re wearing. That allows the mind to focus on learning rather than self-awareness.

school girl dressed comfortablyTaking care of new school clothes helps them stay fresh all year long. Today’s fashions still include jeans and T-shirts, but academics have always been more into the business casual category, for the most part. Khaki pants and sweaters go well in the Fall and Winter.

The kids in the pool might not be ready to think about the coming of school and Fall, but it’s not a bad idea to get ready early. The best way to start is by preparing Summer clothes for proper storage and getting your Fall wardrobe out of storage and ready to wear.

Summer Storage

Getting your Summer wardrobe ready for storage takes care and a little bit of time. The items need to be thoroughly cleaned before they go into storage since invisible stains can yellow over time, and soils in the fabric can attract insects to your home. A good thorough cleaning will ensure that these soils are not present and that no stains will come from inside the fabric during storage.

Silks and linens are the most critical, since these items are very prone to invisible stains. The key is making sure they’re cleaned and not worn before they are packed away for cold storage. Summer silks are very delicate and can develop a number of problems in storage, so it is best to have them dry cleaned before packing them away. It is very important to store your garments in proper containers.

Plastic bags used for dry cleaning are not suitable for long term storage, since they often contain lubricants and can trap air in with the garments. Other types of plastic are not suitable for storage if the garments have even a hint of wetness – this can cause mildew to develop on the garments while they are in storage, or create water stains.

Storage Tips

Store your cleaned clothing in cardboard boxes in a dark, dry place that has a regular temperature, such as under your bed or in a closet. Make sure there is no direct sunlight contacting the clothing, or even artificial light, since overexposure to light has been known to cause color fading or yellowing in whites.

Be sure there are no fumes contact your stored wardrobe. Garage or furnace emissions often cause a discoloration in dyes.

Do not store your articles in a damp area. Doing so could cause difficult to remove mildew odors.

Fall Freshen-Up

Having put away your summer clothing, it’s time to pull out those fall sweaters, and even wool jackets and coats.  Sweaters and coats can gather musty smells in storage. Fine haired sweaters can get pressed flat in the heat of the attic or under some other storage items in a closet. After getting the items out of storage, check for color fading or small holes in sweaters (the result of insect bites). If your garments look good then your clothes survived the storage, but they’ll need a little bit of “freshening” to get you back in Fall style.

Professional dry cleaning rejuvenates and imbues clothes with a “like new” appearance. Many insoluble soils collect in the fibers of clothing. Over time they wear away at the delicate threads until a hole eventually develops. Dry cleaning removes the soils that home washers can’t.

Relief from the hot days of summer and the chance to begin anew can be very invigorating. The Fall months are often exciting times. The change of seasons can bring tidings of fresh beginnings, especially for students and educators. Wearing a favorite sweater for the first time in a year is like getting to see an old friend after a long hiatus. Impending inclement weather means scarves, rainwear, boots, velvet dresses, and leather jackets. These items can be professionally cleaned and brought back to fashion.

woman sorting fall clothing in her closet

woman choosing clothes in front of full closet

Tips on Keeping a Great Fall Wardrobe

Having your fall clothing out of storage and ready for wearing, you may wish to consult the latest fall fashion and incorporate some new items in your fall wardrobe.  Having said that, the first step toward having a great fall wardrobe is still being able to work with what you already own. You may think you need to start from scratch, but what about those great clothes you already have in your closet? If you have a great skirt and no matching blazer, why buy a new set? Just buy a blazer instead! What about those wonderful wool pants you haven’t worn because of a broken zipper? Replace the zipper, not the pants!

Here are some tips you can follow for maintaining an updated, streamlined closet.

  • Sort through your closet and donate anything you haven’t worn in two years to a local charity. There are few things as satisfying as cleaning your closet and helping someone else at the same time!
  • Determine which items need repair, cleaning, or pressing. It may be helpful to make a chart listing item, color, style, state of wear, and any repairs or cleaning needed. You can take this chart with you when you go shopping to help make rounding out your wardrobe easier.
  • If you have an old skirt that you love but that is seriously out-of-date, considering shortening the garment to give it a new, fresh look.
  • Coordinate new outfits. Maybe the jacket you received as a birthday present is the perfect match for those new suede pants. Coordinate several new outfits and arrange your closet in a way that’s convenient for you.
  • Don’t forget to inspect your shoes and boots. Have heels and soles replaced as necessary. Remember that ill-fitting shoes can cause misery for your feet and entire body.

Now that your closet is in great shape, keep it that way. Clean your clothes regularly. Using sachets for your drawers and cedar blocks for your closet will help keep your clothes fresh smelling, moth-free, and a pleasure to wear!

 

 

Image Copyright: samotrebizan / 123RF Stock Photo

How Do You Clean Cotton Clothes and Household Items?

 

Boston can be very hot in summer and clothes made of cotton are a great choice in this weather. Cotton tablecloths, bed linens and other household items are also a favorite. So it’s worth looking into how we can best care for cotton to keep it beautiful for a long time.

Washing Cotton Clothes

Most cotton clothing such as jeans, tee shirts, shirts and underwear can be machine washed, but some may have to be hand washed or may require dry cleaning, so it is important to always check the instructions on the care label before cleaning.

Cotton clothes

Separate colors before washing. This is generally our advice for doing your laundry at home. However, this is particularly important for cotton clothing because many cottons may bleed.
Cotton tablecloths are usually machine washable in cold water on a gentle cycle.

Sometimes, cotton clothing may shrink after machine washing. If that happens, you may try to unshrink it by soaking the garment in white vinegar for an hour and then wash it in hot water. If that doesn’t work, try stretching the wet garment by hand until it is the original size. Then hold it down with heavy objects and let it dry flat.

Ironing Cotton Clothes

Every piece of clothing is different. Always check the care label for special ironing instructions. Most easy care cottons such as those labeled “wash and wear” and “little or no ironing” need only a cool iron. Save the “cotton” setting for untreated cottons, such as handkerchiefs or tablecloths.

Most cottons should be ironed on the right side. One exception is embossed or embroidered cottons, which should be ironed on the wrong side (face down), preferably on a padded cloth.

Preventing Stains and Damage

A frequent problem we encounter with cotton clothing is the build-up from deodorant and antiperspirant products which causes fiber damage and yellowing in cotton. The aluminum chloride in these products weakens cotton fibers, leaving holes during cleaning. We often find localized holes or tears develop in the underarm area of 100% cotton shirts and even cotton/polyester blends.

To avoid this problem, always wait for the antiperspirants or deodorants to dry before putting on your cotton shirt. In addition, wash cotton shirts soon after you wear them in order to minimize this type of damage.

If you have any questions about caring for your cotton clothing and household items, consult your best dry cleaner nearby.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and wash and fold service to our neighbors from five stores in downtown Boston, South End Boston, Auburndale, Woburn, and Arlington, as well as  Cambridge, Newton, Wellesley, Brookline, Belmont, Winchester, and Lexington via dry cleaning pickup service. Other services include alterations, wedding gown preservation and shirt laundry.

Laundry is a Never-ending Chore: Professional Cleaning & Pressing Gives You Back Your Time

Do you have piles of laundry at home?

Don’t you hate ironing? Studies have shown that it is one of the most disliked household tasks.

Fortunately, there is a better option for you and your clothes.

Time really is worth more than money. Let us take the drudgery of doing laundry off your hands and chase the laundry blues away!

According to a Procter & Gamble survey, the average American woman spends seven to nine hours a week doing laundry. Given that more Americans own more clothes than ever before, this is understandable. (According to P&G each American piles up 500 pounds of dirty clothing per year.) But is this the best use of an already-too-busy person’s time?

Housewife bringing a huge pile of laundry on the ironing board

Feeling good

P&G also shared the Everyday Effect theory, stating the feelgood benefits of looking good. Actions that may seem ordinary or routine, such as wearing a clean, pressed shirt or brushing our teeth, can have a significant positive impact on ourselves and those around us. The negative side of this is immediately noticeable. Consider the discomfort of worrying about whether or not our bodies emit an offensive odor. That worry uses up brain power. We need 100% of our minds’ ability to do our best. Let Utopia Cleaners free up those resources by helping you look your best.

Time is worth more than money

Professional cleaning uses equipment that breathes new life into older garments, eliminates wrinkles, removes soils and stains home equipment can’t get out, and make you look great!

De-stress yourself. Put that ironing board away. Bring your clothes to the dry cleaners  for professional cleaning. Not only will you have more time to do things you enjoy, but your clothes will look better than they would if you spent all that time washing, drying, and ironing.

Professional cleaning gives you more time, brainpower, and keeps your clothes looking great. Sign up for our free laundry pickup and delivery service today!

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners is an innovative environmentally-friendly laundry and dry cleaner in Boston. It provides dry cleaningwash dry & fold laundry service, shirt laundrywedding dress cleaning & preservation, alterations services as well as fine dry cleaning, same day dry cleaning and germ free laundry. It processes laundry and dry cleaning at its own processing plant in Arlington, MA.