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Author Archives: Utopia Cleaners

Cleaning cushions and upholstery

Q. During my spring cleaning, I washed my couch cushion cover it is now too small, totally off color, and crumbly on the inside when I got it out of the laundry. What happened?

A. The fabric covering for stuffed furniture and cushions is known as upholstery. The covers on the cushions usually have a zipper, giving rise to the myth that the cushions can be taken out and the cover can be cleaned, much like a pillow case to a bed set. This is not true–in fact, the zipper was put on for the convenience of the manufacturer. Most manufacturers do not expect the cover to be removed from the cushion during use or cleaning.

cleaning cushionsOne should never remove cushion covers for separate dry cleaning or washing. Any tumble cleaning method can destroy the back and shrink or otherwise damage the upholstery fabric. There are several different cleaning methods from spot cleaning to a light rub that can work on upholstery. Since each fabric is different and the correct method is not obviously apparent, the best thing to do is take the item to us with the cushion inside the casing. We will take care of the rest!

Visit our coupons page to get a $10 off coupon for cleaning household items!

Get with the Program: Recycle Your Hangers

If you are a frequent drycleaning customer, you may have more hangers in your closet than you know what to do with. Rather than throw out the ones you are not reusing, why not recycle them by returning them to us?

More than just freeing up closet space, recycling hangers is good for the environment — which is one reason many cleaners participate in recycling programs. Most hangers can be steam processed for cleanliness and reused. Hangers that are unsuitable for reuse are often sold for scrap metal to avoid unnecessary waste.

We can do this together – let’s recycle!

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part IV)

Before the tenth holiday party, my neighbor said to me, “Don’t wear your gold lame cocktail dress to a crowded party in a hot room.” What’s so bad about that?

Answer: Partygoers need to be particularly careful of metallic fabric that can corrode if exposed to moisture. To prevent dampness to lame and other metallics, be sure to wear underarm shields that will help prolong the life and looks of your special outfit.

After the eleventh holiday party, my mother said to me, “How are you going to clean your new beaded top after the soiree?” Good question!

Answer: The beads on many outfits are made of polystyrene, which looks like glass. Polystyrene should not be drycleaned but washed as long as it is attached to a garment that is washable.

At the twelfth holiday party, my father said to me, “You’ll look gorgeous in this new fur, just be sure to care for it well.” How do I protect this investment?

Answer: Furs, leathers, and suedes should be kept clean by keeping them covered with a cloth, not a plastic, garment bag. Each should be cleaned annually by a drycleaner who specializes in cleaning furs. Special storage facilities are recommended for seasonal storage of furs. Ask us about storage.

Now, enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

Previous Parties:

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part I)

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part II)

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part III)

 

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part III)

treating milk stains on velvetAfter the seventh holiday party, my cousin said to me, “My suede outfit got soaked in the rain.” How do I handle soaked suede?

Answer: Hang it out to dry. Do not use a blow dryer or heater. When dry, brush with a stiff brush.

After the eighth holiday party, my daughter said to me, “Do I hang up my knit sweater and skirt outfit or should I fold it?” For once she wants my advice!

Answer: Keep knits in good shape by storing and cleaning them properly. Keep sweaters folded loosely with lots of room to breathe. If you must hang it up, fold it over a crossbar. Never hang like a shirt on a wire hanger – this will stretch it.

After the ninth holiday party, my sister said to me, “I’m sorry my baby drooled on your red velvet dress.” How do I remove milk stains, not to mention the baby?

Answer: Blot it gently and bring it to us. Crushed areas of wear can be improved by lightly brushing with a soft brush. As for the baby, don’t pick him up when you have on a velvet dress!

More parties:

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part I)

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part II)

The Twelve Holiday Parties: Holiday Spills and Splashes (Part IV)

 

The Story of Frugal Francine

Frugal Francine was always looking for ways to save money. She invested in her wardrobe, knowing the value of good design and good designers, but when it came to taking care of her fashionable frocks, Francine figured she would do it on her own. 

But that strategy turned tragic and expensive for Francine.  Heres what happened and how you can avoid her mistakes:

The care label on her new silk blouse said dryclean only, but Francine had heard that silks are washable, so she carefully soaked it in the basin with a gentle hand-washing soap. It was ruined.

Read the care label carefully on all garments. Unless the label on a silk garment specifically says that it is washable, dont douse it at home. If dye bleeds on the shirt because you failed to follow the care label instructions, you’ll get soaked – not the manufacturer.

Francine planned ahead for the big meeting with her new boss. Her rayon suit was wrinkled so she hung it up in the bathroom the night before and sprayed it with a plant mister. Then she figured shed just let the steam do the rest when she showered the next morning. It looked horrible.

Many rayon garments contain dyes and sizing that are sensitive to water and heavy steam. If these items get wet they can be permanently stained or lose their shape. Spritzing these clothes with water can leave permanent stains. Your drycleaner may be able to repair the damage – but theres no guarantee.

Francine was at her best friends house for dinner when she dripped some salad oil on her dress. Quickly she went into the bathroom and rubbed the area with cleaning solvent her friend had on hand. The damage was done!

Never rub a stain. Instead, blot the area carefully – and make sure you test the fabric before using any type of stain removal substance.

Friday afternoon Francine was hurrying to go out and she spilled nail polish on her new linen-blend pants. She knew that stains should be attacked right away so she immediately applied nail polish remover with acetone to the spot. It removed the spot – and a piece of the garment as well.

Acetone, an ingredient in some brands of nail polish, dissolves acetate. Before trying to remove a stain in this manner, test for fiber content. Or use amyl acetate (banana oil) or fingernail polish remover that does not contain acetone and is safe for all fabrics.

It was hot and muggy on the walk home and Francine checked her blouse for perspiration stains. Seeing none, she threw the garment into the hamper for next weeks wash. Francine was horrified to discover a few days later that permanent brown stains had come to light under each arm.

Perspiration, like many other stains, doesn’t appear right away. All you have to notice at first is a damp area that dries, leaving an invisible stain that will darken with time.

Please let us help. We’ll take the best care of your clothes-everytime!

Tracking your order: How we keep it straight

Week after week you drop your clothes off to be cleaned.   After we process your order, how can we tell your navy blue wool pants from the many other navy blue wool pants we receive? 
That’s easy.  Before a garment goes through our drycleaning operation we give it a tag, so we can identify its owner. We do this by attaching a tag to each garment. The tags are specially manufactured so the ink and dye will not wash out during cleaning.

Because not all fabrics can be processed the same way, tagging garments allows us to separate the items from a customer’s order and process them together with pieces from orders belonging to different customers. Thus, it is important that each order has a distinctive identification tag so we know which pieces belong together. 

Once the clothes have been separated into similar groups, we weigh enough similar garments to make up a load and put them into the cleaning machine.  At the end of the cleaning cycle, the clothes are taken to the finishing department to be pressed.

Employees in the finishing department restore your clothing to its original appearance on pressing machines designed to handle the great variety of fabric types and garment designs.

After pressing, the clothing goes to an assembly area.  Our employees collect all the items in your order and put it together in one package in this area. When the pressed items come into the assembly area, employees reunite your garments. When the number of items assembled equals the number of items on the invoice, the order is complete. 

Then comes packaging. We take the completed order, cover it, and attach the invoice to the order. The completed order is then filed onto a conveyor or racking system to await pickup. 

Using this system, we combine clothing from different customers and put them back in order without losing any of your clothes!

The Incredible Shrinking Comforter

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

comforterWell, 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.

Read more about caring for down comforters >>

 

Coffee Stains Can Be Sneaky Stains

table setting with coffee in cup and saucerSome sneaky stains can be a real head scratcher for us if we are working
with incomplete information. You may not realize it, but some stains
can be made up of compound elements beyond just the obvious presumed
cause of the problem.

Coffee stains, for example, often contain milk
or other additives, making the stain more difficult to remove since the
coffee is a tannin stain and the milk leaves a protein- based stain.
Both the coffee and the milk in the coffee are water-based stains, but
protein stains require more work to get out. Such stains will have to be
treated individually, even though the actual staining occurred at the
same time. If you drop off an item with a coffee stain, please inform
our customer service representative how you take your coffee (i.e., with
cream and sugar, milk and sugar, black, etc.).

Six truths about dry cleaning

1. Club soda is not a cure-all stain remover.

Successful stain removal depends largely on the nature of the stain, the type of fabric, and colorfastness. Home remedies more often makes the situation worse, not better. If you must do something – never rub a stain. Blot the stained area. This may help remove some of the staining substance while avoiding damage to the fabric. Bring a stained garment to us as soon as possible to prevent the stain from setting. We are trained and equipped to deal with stains, and if anyone can safely remove them, we can.

2. There is such a thing as an ‘Invisible’ Stain.

Some stains caused by beverages, food, or oily substances may not be visible after they dry. But later, with exposure to heat or simply the passage of time, a yellow or brown stain will appear. This is the end result of oxidation or caramelization of sweetening agents. It is the same process that makes a peeled apple turn brown after exposure to air.

Please point out spills such as those from, fruit juice, soft drinks, other beverages and food stains that may not be visible after they are blotted or allowed to dry. ‘Invisible stains’ require special attention. If we don’t know about it we can’t fix it, so let us know if you spilled something.

3. It’s not ok to put a garment away without being cleaned.

Every year we see garments that weren’t “dirty when I put it away for the summer,” only to be taken out in the fall full of holes and stains.

The smallest unseen food crumb, body oil, perspiration, or other spillage invites insect damage even in the cleanest of homes.

4. Care labels are not always correct.

Most manufacturers never test garments (they are not required to) before the required care label is attached. The U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) only requires that a manufacturer have a ‘reasonable basis’ for their care instructions. Sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s wrong. We always attempt to alert our customer to a potential cleaning problem beforehand.

5. Always clean all matching pieces of a garment or home furnishings at the same time.

We understand that only the pants or skirt was soiled and the jacket was still ‘clean.’ Or, just the bedspread was dirty. The rest of the bed set did not need cleaning.

However, we strongly suggest that all matching or coordinating items are cleaned at the same time. This way any color changes, however minimal, will be uniform.

6. We’re not casual about casual wear.

Sure, you may be able to wash your casual clothing at home, but time spent doing that along with the most hated household chore – ironing – only takes away time from family and other pursuits.

We have the skills and equipment to make your clothes look and feel their best by creating a finish and cleanliness that simply cannot be duplicated with home care.