COVID-19 Notice >>

Author Archives: Utopia Cleaners

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.

How to Speed Up Laundry Day

Laundry always seems to take too long. Each step — sort, wash, dry, and fold — takes time.  There are ways to simplify and speed up the process.

Sort Ahead of Time

Don’t wait until laundry day to sort. Use separate baskets and put your jeans or shirts in the right basket at the end of each day.  Sort by fabric not just color — one thick, heavy item can slow down the drying cycle a lot. Try using a three basket system to separate by weight as well as color.

Better safe than sorry. For clothes that are labeled “hand wash only” put them into a separate pile for hand washing. If the label says, “dry clean only,” believe it and place it in a bag to take to the dry cleaner. If you don’t want to deal with these hassles, avoid buying these “hand wash” and “dry clean only” items!

Women doing laundryTreat Stains Immediately

Treat stains when they’re fresh. If you’ve already tackled the stain, you’ll be ready to go on laundry day and your clothes will come out cleaner. Utopia Cleaners offers a guide to stain removal with tips to remove different kinds of stains.

Manage Those Socks

Matching socks (and looking for that lost sock that ended up embedded in your sweatshirt or stuck to the side of the dryer) uses up a lot of time.  Try washing all socks together in one of those mesh “delicates” bags.  Clipping each pair together when you put them in the hamper works too.

Know Your Washer and Dryer

Know how long it takes your washer to complete a wash cycle and how much time the dryer needs to dry a full load so you can coordinate washing and drying with less waiting. Does your washer have a “Quick Wash” setting? Use it. Cleaning your dryer regularly can make it more efficient too.

Use a Wash Dry Fold Laundry Service

Still finding laundry day too much of a slog? No amount of laundry tips can make it easier or more fun when you need to be doing something else. Save time by dropping your laundry off at Utopia Cleaners and for added efficiency, sign up for our free laundry pickup and delivery service. We will pick up your laundry from your home or office, clean them and deliver them back in two business days. You will automatically become our VIP Rewards Club Member and get $5 off coupon for every $100 spent. Schedule a laundry pickup today!

Prevent Insect Damage to Your Clothing

Mysteriously appearing holes may be the result of insect damage. Often the holes may not be readily apparent until after cleaning. Garments that have been stored for a long time are particularly prone to insect damage. Moth damage is commonly seen on wool fabrics, but beetles, silverfish, roaches, and other insects feed on stains and sizings on fabrics made of other fibers. The type of fabric or food substance insects are attracted to determines whether the damage they cause is direct or indirect.

hole in knit sweater

Direct damage occurs when insects such as webbing cloth moths, casemaking cloth moths, and sometimes termites, feed directly on the fabric. This group of insects attacks wool, mohair, natural bristles, fur, feathers, and down. They also damage blended fibers such as wool/polyester – dispelling the notion that the use of synthetic fibers immunizes the fabrics against insect damage.

Indirect damage occurs when insects such as silverfish, beetles, and roaches feed on leftover food, perspiration, beverage spills, and starch on the fabric. For this reason, any stains, especially food and beverage residue, should be removed from a garment before it is stored. Prevention of insect damage includes cleaning garments and using mothballs or cedar chests. Cleaning discourages insects from making their home in your garments. Although most forms of moth life are destroyed by dry cleaning solvents during cleaning, moth larvae can attack fabrics once the solvent evaporates.

moth ballsUsing moth balls or cedar chests or chips can help prevent insect damage. The odor of mothballs may repel larvae and insects if the area of use is enclosed, thus ensuring a high concentration of odor. Suspend the mothballs above the garments; do not place them directly on the garments. The scent of cedar chests or chips repels insects, but it is the air tightness of the chest that protects the garments from insect damage.

One problem with using mothballs is the lingering odor after the garments are removed from storage. Try hanging the garments outside for several days after removal from storage. If hanging outside won’t remove the mothball odor, ask us to remove the odors. In some cases we may need to use an ozone generator. Ozone generators work by passing dry air through a high frequency electrical field. The resulting electrical discharge splits an oxygen molecule into two free atoms, allowing them to combine with an oxygen molecule that has not been split to form ozone. The contact between ozone and the odors embedded in the textiles causes oxidation to recur, eliminating the odors and releasing oxygen.

Your garments will love you for not leaving them to the moths!

Ultimately, the best advice to keeping your clothing in best condition is to clean them after each use. Schedule laundry pickup and delivery regularly with Utopia Cleaners, and leave the cleaning to us while you take care of the more important things in your life.

Moving from Winter to Spring: the Ins and Outs of Storage

After a long slumber, your spring and summer clothes will need to be awakened and taken out of storage. Warmer clothing, such as long skirts and heavy jackets can be safely tucked away to make room for the less-inhibiting light fabrics of spring.

How your stored spring and summer wardrobe looks when it comes out of storage has a lot to do with what precautions you took when you put it in.

Going In

Sweaters and coats, long skirts, and scarves: all of these items are going to be a little too warm to wear in the spring and summer months to come. Here are some tips to help you store you garments so they will be ready to serve you when we slow back down into next Fall and Winter.

  1. Clean the garments to ensure that left over body oils or spills don’t attract insects. Insects can sniff out a spot of ginger ale from miles away and they have ways of getting inside your closet or attic.
  2. Fold and store the garments in a dark, well-ventilated area. Do not store in plastic bags. Many dyes fade if exposed to sunlight or artificial light. This is especially true for silk. Fume fading is caused by a reaction of atmospheric oxides of nitrogen with certain dyes, resulting in permanent color change. Make sure your boxes are stored away from exhaust gasses or heating fumes.
  3. Make sure the storage area is dry. Mildew is more than just an unpleasant odor. It is a fungus that usually develops on soiled garments or items that are stored in damp or humid conditions. Mildew appears as irregular purple, gray, black or yellow speckled stains.

Coming Out

When you get your garments out of storage, check for any of the above listed damages, and then wake them up. Your warm-weather clothing has been sitting in boxes for a few months by now and it’s time to bring them back to life so you can look your best.

hole in knit sweaterLook for small holes, worn areas, and discolored lines on the portions of the garment that had spills or stains that were never removed. The odor from moth balls or crystals is difficult to remove. Try airing the garments by hanging them outside in the shade. If this does not completely remove the odor, washing or dry cleaning the garments should bring them back into action

Many people store their clothing in the off-season to keep it safe, but by not taking the proper precautions you could be putting next year’s wardrobe into jeopardy. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially since many of the different types of damage that can befall fabrics while in storage are preventable, but irreversible.

Utopia Cleaners is here to help you with laundry and dry cleaning needs. Visit our dry cleaners in Boston South End, Downtown Boston , Newton, Woburn, or Arlington or contact our laundry delivery service today!

 

Problems with down? We can help!

Down ComforterDuring the fall and winter, many of us depend on down comforters, sleeping bags, and apparel to keep warm and cut down on energy costs. Although down has superior insulating properties, it can present problems that require special care.

Fine down and feathers can puncture and work through the shell fabric, causing holes or tears in the outer shell layer. To prevent damage, down garments are “down proofed,” in which an inner coating is applied to the fabric.

However, some “down proof” coatings may dissolve in washing or dry cleaning. Once the coating is removed, darker-colored feathers and any other impurities in the down or feathers may show through the surface of the fabric. Since it is impossible to detect non-durable coatings before cleaning, the dry cleaner may not be able to prevent damage to the item. If the protective coating is damaged, restoration is no longer possible.

Another problem with down-filled items is the appearance of dark, shaded areas on the shell fabric after dry cleaning. In many cases, this staining is caused by excess oil from the down itself, due to poor processing during manufacturing.

This oil may react to the cleaning fluids and penetrate the shell fabric, causing discoloration. Sometimes the oil can be removed by re-cleaning the item several times, or by wet cleaning. Keep in mind that not all articles respond to these processes.

Down comforters that are poorly constructed and with insufficient quilting can cause the down to shift, lose shape, or become matted. To avoid these problems, you should only buy down comforters that are well-quilted. That means quilting lines should be about 8–10 inches apart both vertically and horizontally.

For more information on caring for down items, please call Utopia Cleaners at 617-695-3778 or visit our dry cleaners in Boston, Newton, Woburn and Arlington. We are more than happy to help.

How to Care for Velvet Clothing and Household Items

Velvet is one of winter’s fashion favorites, especially crushed velvets and velvet garments with decorative trim. Many types of apparel are made of velvet, including pants, dresses, gowns, coats, capes, and jackets. Velvet is also popular for household items, such as furniture covers and drapes.

What is velvet?

Velvet has long been known as the fabric of royalty. At one time, blue velvet was reserved solely for use by the French king, his family, and favored subjects.

Velvets are made on a double action loom. Two layers of fabric are woven at the same time, and the space between them is interlaced with connecting yarns.

The two layers are then cut apart as they come off the loom, producing two pieces of fabric with an upright pile surface.

True velvet is usually made of rayon, silk, acetate, or a blend of these fibers and has a short, closely-woven pile. Velveteen is similar to velvet, but it is usually made of cotton or cotton/polyester blend and has a shorter pile. Finishes are often applied to velvets to keep the pile erect and resilient, to secure the pile, or to give the fabric body.

woman in velvet sweater

What types of problems can velvets experience?

Velvet can experience a variety of problems, including a loss of pile, flattening and matting, pilling and tufting, and shrinkage. Crushed velvets have a tendency to experience a loss of design and distortion from wear alone. Velvets made of acetate pose special problems: the pile can become permanently flattened with moisture, heat, or pressure. As a result, the pile on an acetate velvet dress is more likely to show the effects of wear. Even greater flattening develops if the velvet is brushed or if any pressure is put on it while wet.

How can you keep your velvets fit for royalty?

  • Hang velvet garments in a well-ventilated closet after wearing.
  • If a velvet garment gets wet, do not apply pressure, as this can flatten the pile.
  • Do not iron velvets. Hang in the bathroom and steam the garment to remove any wrinkles.
  • Clean velvet garments immediately after use.
  • Shake excess spills from the fabric and allow to dry. Do not blot or apply any pressure in damp areas.

If you do get a stain on a velvet garment, bring it to our dry cleaners. Our stain removal experts can help you remove the stain.

Laundry Tips for Allergy Sufferers

If you suffer from allergies, your laundry could actually be making your symptoms worse. Here are some laundry tips you can use to ensure yours doesn’t cause flare-ups to happen.

Wash in Hot Water

A leading cause of allergies is dust mites, which can easily get into bed linens, towels, throw rugs and draperies. For this reason, you should always wash these items on the hottest setting possible, and then dry them in the dryer rather than hanging them on the clothesline. Be advised that not all items can be washed in this manner, so you should read the tag carefully before proceeding. If washing in hot water is not recommended, have items professionally cleaned instead.

Stored Items

Items that have been stored in your closet can easily collect dust mites during the off season. As such, you should launder items you haven’t worn in awhile to ensure they are clean. Plush toys and stuffed animals should also be washed at least semi-annually by placing them in a mesh bag and laundering on the gentlest setting possible.

Choose Laundry Products Carefully

The harsh chemicals found in many laundry detergents can actually make your allergies worse. If possible, purchase detergents that are free of phosphates, added perfumes or dyes. Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it also an irritant that can make allergy symptoms worse. Rather than using fabric softener, add a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle. Your clothes will smell fresher and cleaner, yet the vinegar itself will be unnoticeable. By doing so, you can eliminate the need for dryer sheets, which contain chemicals that can irritate your skin and nose and make breathing more difficult.

Clean your Washing Machine

Switching to products that are free from harmful chemicals may not be enough to keep your allergies at bay. To ensure there is no residue inside your washer, run it through a couple of complete cycles without adding clothing. This is especially important to do just before washing large loads of stored clothing or linens.

If you suffer from allergies, following these laundry tips is very important. Also when you bring your laundry to us, don’t forget to tell us if you are allergic to certain laundry products. We would be happy to accommodate your special needs.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to the communities in Boston, Cambridge as well as the suburban cities and towns of Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Newton, Arlington, Belmont, Winchester, Woburn and Lexington via dry cleaning delivery and laundry pickup services.

Image attribution: Orrling and Tomer Scheib.