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Author Archives: Utopia Cleaners

Preventing and Treating the Ring Around the Collar

This detergent commercial from the 70s addresses one of the most common garment stains that we all experience – ring around the collar. “Ring around the collar” or cuffs on a shirt is caused by a combination of body oils, perspiration, colognes, sunblock, hair tonics, medicines, and other types of skin preparations. 

Preventing Ring Around the Collar

To prevent ring around the collar and around the cuff area, you can do the following:

  • Avoid using too much cosmetics or fragrances around your neck.
  • Use products that are designed to prevent dirty collars, such as collar guards and adhesive absorbent tape which act as a physical barrier between the neck and the collar of your shirt.
  • Wear mock neck undershirts to avoid contact with the shirt collar.
  • Wear scarves to avoid soiling the collar to keep coats, jackets and blazers in top condition, especially for leather and suede coats. Below is a video “25 ways to wear a scarf in 4.5 minutes” from Wendyslookbook.

In addition, you should wash your shirts after each wearing, especially for white and pastel color shirts. If you wear your shirts multiple times between washes, the body heat generated from the second wearing can set in stains from the first wearing.  Collars may look clean after the first wearing but oils may be invisible until heat is applied. That’s why you should launder your shirts after each wearing. 

Treating Stains on Shirt Collar and Cuffs

Many laundry pre-treaters, sprays and stain sticks are available in the stores for removing ring around the collar.  Since the ring may contain sweat, colognes, grease and whatever else, no one product is good for all. Some pre-treaters may even set in the stain. That is why you should bring it to your most trusted dry cleaning service Utopia Cleaners. We will pretreat the ring with one or more formulas that will either remove or lighten, but definitely not set in the stain. 

In addition to ring around the collar, shirts are also prone to color loss, and fabric abrasion leading to tears, punctures, and holes. To properly care for your shirts and enable them to last for years in excellent condition, you should take them to your local Boston dry cleaner. Utopia Cleaners’ shirt laundry service not only treats collar and cuff stains, we check all the buttons on your shirt, tighten loose buttons and replace any missing or broken ones free of charge, not to mention that our cleaners will launder and press your shirt with our state of the art equipment. Cuffs and collars will be smooth and crisp, giving the top-gun professional look that you’ll need at work. Ironing at home requires considerably more time and effort than it takes us to press a shirt, and ultimately it won’t look as nice.

The better you take care of your shirts, the longer they will last and the better you will look. Let Utopia Cleaners help you put on a professional look every day with a clean, well-pressed shirt. Bring your shirts to our stores or schedule a free laundry pickup today!

Removing Mud Stains and Grass Stains from Clothing

Here in Boston, we love to enjoy the outdoors in Spring, Summer and Fall. We can go camping, hiking, play sports like soccer or baseball and spend the day at the park, all in good nature fun. Of course, it rains sometimes, and the ground can get a little or a lot muddy. Needless to say, some of that muddy mess can get on our clothing and leave stains on them. It’s also common to find grass stains on our clothes when we’re spending so much time outside. Although mud and grass stains can come in many shapes and sizes, we’ve gathered some helpful tips for cleaning them.

Removing Mud Stains

Most mud stains can be removed by washing the item according to the care instructions. Let the mud dry, then brush off as much as possible using a soft bristle brush, such as an old toothbrush. Then wash as usual using your regular laundry detergent.

For those more difficult mud stains, you can try treating the stain using one of the many pre-treatment products on the market.

You can also use the following mixture of detergent and ammonia as a pre-treatment:

Measure the amount of detergent needed for the load. Take a small amount of the detergent and mix with regular household ammonia (the non-sudsing type) to form a paste and apply to the stained area. Let stand for five to 10 minutes, then launder as usual using the hottest water allowable for the garment.

Boy sitting in muddy grass

Removing Grass Stains

Most grass stains can be removed by simply washing the item according to the care instructions, especially if the stain is fresh. But if the stain has been allowed to set or proves to be difficult to remove, you may need to try other treatments.

Treat the stain as soon as possible, using a pretreatment product from your local grocery store. Test the product for colorfastness by applying to an unexposed area. Let stand for five minutes, then rinse. If the color is affected, don’t use the product. Also check the label on your laundry detergent for pre-treatment instructions. To remove any last traces of the stain, an all-fabric bleach may be necessary. Again, remember to test for colorfastness. Bleach the entire garment following the manufacturer’s instructions, then launder as usual.

Before you try any treatments, remember to test for colorfastness before using any stain removal agent. To test for colorfastness, simply apply a small amount of the product to an unexposed area of the garment. Let stand for about five minutes, then rinse. If the color is affected, don’t use the stain removal agent.

You may also check the label on your laundry detergent, as many detergents give step-by-step pre-treatment instructions.

For best results, take your muddy or grass-stained clothing to Utopia Cleaners. We are more than happy to remove any stains and return the clothing to you clean and ready to wear. Visit a Utopia Cleaners near you or call 617-247-8886 for laundry pickup and delivery service.

 

Caring for Swimwear

As the summer winds down, you may notice that your swimwear doesn’t look as good as it did when you bought it a few months ago. Most likely, this is a result of excessive exposure to chlorine or improperly washing your items. So how can you keep your swimwear in swimmable condition and looking fresh all summer long?

Most swimwear is made of spandex, a synthetic rubber with a terrific ability to stretch and relax back to its original dimensions. Although spandex has good resistance to sunlight damage, mold and mildew, it can easily be damaged by the chlorine that is found in swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.

swimsuits hanging on a line

How to properly care for your swimwear

Chlorine can cause both fiber damage and color loss. Here are some tips on caring for your swimwear properly:

  • Rinse the chlorine from swimwear directly after swimming. You can always take your swimwear with you in the shower to easily rinse off the chlorine, sand or any dirt that may be on it.
  • Do not assume that towels will protect upholstery from swimwear. Upholstery can experience color loss simply by coming into contact with absorbed pool water.
  • Do not lay towels wet with pool water on other textile items, such as beds, carpets, or upholstery, in order to avoid color loss.
  • Launder or thoroughly rinse items that are regularly wet by pool water. This includes outdoor furniture, towels, clothing, and swimwear. These items may not be dirty, but the damage caused by residual chlorine can make it expensive to replace them.
  • Line drying or laying the garment flat to dry are typically recommended, as high drying temperatures can damage swimwear.

It is easy to end up with sunscreen or food and drink stains on your swimwear. Don’t worry! The following are easy ways to properly treat any swimwear stain:

  • Treat the stain as soon as you can to avoid it setting into the swimwear fabric.
  • Take a clean, dry towel and some dish soap, and apply pressure to the stain to soak it up as much as you can.
  • Pour baking soda on the stain and let it sit for an hour. Then, wash your swimwear in cool water.

To get the most out of your swimwear and to even save it for the following season, follow these tips to preserve them:

  • Hand wash each swimwear item with gentle and fragrance-free baby soap immediately after each use.
  • Hang your swimwear up to dry to keep its shape.
  • When you are finished wearing your swimwear for the season, purchase a garment bag to store your swimwear in. This will protect your items from moisture.

We hope these tips will help you look your best as you enjoy the sun and warm water that Boston beaches have to offer in summer!

Utopia Cleaners is dedicated to helping our customers care for their clothing and look their best all the time. For laundry and dry cleaning services in Boston and Cambridge, please visit our local stores or call our Boston laundry pickup services.

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.