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How do you clean electric blankets?

It gets a little chilly in the Fall in Boston, especially at night. While down comforters are a great option to keep warm in bed, many of us like to use electric blankets too. How do you keep an electric blanket in top condition?

Before caring for your electric blanket, first read the care instructions that came with the blanket. Usually these can be found on a permanent label, on a temporary hang tag, or on the packaging.

Dry cleaning is not a good option. Electric blankets are made with electrical wires that are covered with plastic casing. These casings may be solvent-soluble, and when the blanket is dry cleaned, they may dissolve and expose the wires. Often you may not be able to see the wires, but when the blanket is later plugged into an electrical outlet, serious problems—a short circuit or even fire—can result.

electric blanket

Unless otherwise stated on the care instructions, electric blankets should be machine washed on a gentle cycle and line dried. If you can set the final spin speed, reduce it to the lowest setting to prevent excessive force on the blanket’s inner wiring. Do not put your blanket in the dryer. Since the blankets are hung to dry, ironing should not be necessary.

If in doubt about how to care for your electric blanket, please bring it to Utopia Cleaners and we will clean it for you. Visit our dry cleaners in Boston, Newton, Arlington and Woburn or take advantage of our free dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. In addition to the locations at our stores, we also serve Cambridge, Brookline, Wellesley, Belmont, Winchester, Lexington and nearby areas.

Scaring Away Those Halloween Stains

woman in halloween costume

Traditional Halloween costumes— ghosts, goblins, and ghouls—are simple to clean, but what do you do with the more intricate costumes for both children and adults? Many of these garments are custom made with various fabrics and trims and have no care label. Careful examination and testing may help to predict the serviceability and practicality of cleaning the costume.

Whenever possible, pre-treat stains caused by cosmetics, paint, and hair colorings, as well as food or beverage stains. Many waxes or crayons are not easily removed by home stain removal.

If a care label is present on the costume, follow the instructions carefully. If no label is present, test the fabric to any washing solutions you may use. If seams are durable and there are no unusual trims or unusual features, such as lofty layers, rough beads or baubles, wash on gentle cycle and hope for the best.

Some trims may need to be removed prior to washing.

Hand washing may be safer for costumes of questionable construction since agitation will lead to excessive pilling on soft, fuzzy fabrics and cause trims to tangle or snag. Fill a large tub with water and a small amount of mild detergent.

Remove excess moisture with towels or by running the garment on spin cycle. After washing, hang costumes to dry instead of tossing them in the dryer.

Cleaning the entire costume may not be necessary. Your professional dry cleaner at Utopia Cleaners may be able to remove local stains and freshen underarm areas without immersing the garment, and be able to remove wrinkles from gathered areas or around trims.

Then you can relax and enjoy the memories of wearing the costume rather than the horrors of cleaning it!

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 5 local stores as well as dry cleaning delivery and laundry pickup service. Try Classic Care – our fine dry cleaning service designed for valuable garments with special trims and delicate fabrics.

Buying and Cleaning Sweaters

As the styles of sweaters change, so do the fibers of this wardrobe staple. Sweaters are made from a variety of fibers, ranging from cotton and wool to silk, rayon, acrylic and more. Natural fibers, such as angora, mohair, cashmere, and Shetland are especially popular. To add to the variety many sweaters contain special decorative trims. Trims such as suede, leather, snakeskin, fur, sequins, and beads add to a sweater’s special look. Caring for these delicate knits requires special attention.

woman dressed in fall sweater

Tips on Purchasing Sweaters

Before purchasing a sweater, check to see if it will withstand your lifestyle. If you’re an active person or plan on wearing it to dance parties, go for a harder, tighter yarn. Soft, loose yarns tend to stretch easily and are meant for less active wear.

  • Check the seams of knitted sweaters for unraveling and fraying, which may occur if the edges not bound properly.
  • If the sweater you wish to buy has trim on it, ask the retailer about their return policy. Many times the fabric will hold up to the rigors of life in general, but the trim is most often the weakest part.

How to Preserve the Beauty of Your Sweaters

Follow your sweater’s care label instructions closely to prevent shrinkage and stretching. Many sweaters are hand-wash only. In these cases, it is most often best to lay them flat to dry, unless the label says it’s safe to tumble-dry the sweater at low heat. Some sweaters are gentle-cycle washable and others may require dry cleaning. Avoid using alkaline-based detergents on wools and other animal fibers.

  • If you have any doubts about care procedures, discuss it with a professional cleaner such as Utopia Cleaners.
  • Tumble dry at low temperatures, if recommended on the care label. Otherwise, lay flat to dry.
  • Keep sweaters clean. Treat stains right away. When spills are blotted
    immediately and professionally removed, stains won’t develop later.
  • Make a pattern of knit sweaters before washing by tracing their outline on a
    piece of brown or kraft paper. This will allow the sweater to be
    blocked back to its original size.
  • Brush sweaters after each wearing. This revives the nap, if there is one, and frees the garment of surface soil.
  • If wool sweaters get wet, let them dry at room temperature away from heat, then brush with the nap.
  • Check knitted sweaters for unraveling and fraying, and secure any loose
    yarns so the sweater can withstand normal use and care procedures
    without further unraveling.
  • Place folded sweaters over padded hangers in a well-ventilated closet or place in drawers. Do not hang sweaters from the shoulders; the weight of the sweater can cause it to stretch. Be sure to empty pockets, remove belts, and close zippers.
  • Remember that delicate items require special handling.

Clean Sweaters with Care

women in green sweaterDifferent fabrics can present different challenges to cleaning sweaters. Utopia Cleaners understands all the various styles and fibers. In most cases we can get the job done with a minimum amount of fuss on your part.

However, sweaters and knit garments, depending on their fiber type, are susceptible to various problems, including stretching, shrinkage, pulls, and pilling, both from use and cleaning.

Some stretching on knit items should be expected as a normal circumstance of wear and care. Generally, the softer the knit, the more likely it is to show some change in texture or feel with normal wear, and this may be aggravated with washing or cleaning procedures.

If you have any questions about caring for your sweaters, consult your local best dry cleaners.

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.

How to clean baseball caps

We’re well into the Boston Red Sox Games season and your favorite player’s cap may be looking a bit dingy.  While most components of the baseball uniform, such as shirts, pants, and socks, are machine washable, what about baseball caps? Well, for baseball caps, the preferred method of care is to simply hand wash the cap with a mild dish detergent, rinse, and air dry.

Jonathan Papelbon vs Orioles July_2011

Machine washing on a gentle cycle may be another option; however, this tends to be rough on the brim of the hat and can bend, distort, or even tear from the agitation of the machine. The plastic, adjustable hooks on the back of the hat may also pose a problem, as they tend to melt at higher drying temperatures.

A plastic cap form that fits in and around the cap to hold its shape is also available. The form allows you to wash the cap in an ordinary dishwasher, which keeps the brim from getting bent or distorted during the wash cycle. Be sure to choose a dish washing detergent that does not contain chlorine bleach.

Before attempting to clean any cap, test for colorfastness by applying a small amount of detergent and water to an inconspicuous area and blot the area with a white cloth. If any traces of dye appear on the cloth, it may not be safe to clean the cap.

If you have a baseball cap that is most precious to you, don’t try to clean it yourself. Bring it to a professional dry cleaner nearby to have it cleaned for you.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to customers from two downtown stores and three suburban stores in Greater Boston. We also offer free dry cleaning and laundry pickup and delivery service to Downtown Boston, Back Bay, Allston/Brighton, NU, BU, MIT, Harvard, Charlestown, South Boston, East Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Newton, Wellesley, Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Winchester, Woburn and nearby areas.

Cleaning Warm Weather Clothing Takes Care

We lather up, jump in and enjoy during warm weather in Boston. With that come many products that can damage our clothing. Here are some quick tips to minimize that damage.

picnic in the park - Boston Summer

Antiperspirant

Potential Problem: Build-up from deodorant and antiperspirant products can cause fiber damage and yellowing.  Blue and green on silk and wool are particularly prone.  Aluminum chloride can weaken fibers in cotton, linen, rayon, and some synthetic blends, leaving holes during cleaning.

Clothing Care: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Avoid overuse and allow antiperspirant/deodorant to dry before dressing. Soiled garments should be washed or dry cleaned as soon as possible.

Sunblock and Suntan Lotions

Potential Problem: Dyes and oils in suntan/sunblock lotions can stain clothing. This color loss or change may not appear until after you clean your clothes.

Clothing Care: Avoid many stains by following the directions on the bottle, allow the lotions to dry before dressing, and wash your hands before handling clothes.

Swimwear

Potential Problem: Chlorine in pools, spas, and hot tubs can damage spandex used in swimwear.

Clothing Care: Rinse your swim suit after wearing and follow the care label’s instructions.

Self-Tanning Lotions

Potential Problem: Self-tanners may discolor anything they touch!  Light tan, brown, or yellow staining on the cuffs, collar fold, and neckband, and upper button areas, are typical.

Clothing Care: Follow the instructions carefully, being sure to wash your hands immediately and allow your skin time to dry before dressing.  If the product gets on your clothes, wash them as soon as possible, as these stains can be difficult to remove.

Insect Repellents

Potential Problem: Repellents usually will not damage most fibers; however, some products contain alcohol and can cause color loss or color change on fabrics such as acetate and rayon.

Clothing Care: Read the label carefully, especially if applying directly to clothing.

These are just some of the commonly used products that can cause damage to your clothing. Our clothing care tips can help minimize the damage and allow your clothing to last longer and look better. If you have any questions, do ask your local dry cleaner for assistance.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to customers from two downtown stores and three suburban stores in Greater Boston. We also offer free dry cleaning and laundry pickup and delivery service to Downtown Boston, Back Bay, Allston/Brighton, NU, BU, MIT, Harvard, Charlestown, South Boston, East Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Newton, Wellesley, Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Winchester, Woburn and nearby areas.

 

How to Remove Dye Transfer Stains From Clothes and Upholstery

clothes in washing machine

It happens to the best of us. You go to remove a load of laundry from the dryer, only to realize something has dyed all your clothes red. Or you sit down on your easy chair with a new pair of pants only to get up to muffled blue stains. It’s easy to unknowingly throw a piece of new clothing in the washer that bleeds dye or rub against your furniture and cause stains, and dye stains aren’t the easiest to treat. Here are some tips on how to remove dye transfer stains from clothes and upholstery.

Always Sort Your Laundry

There’s a reason we were always taught to sort our laundry. Some dyes just aren’t stable. So dark and bright colors should always be washed separately from your lighter colored and white clothing. This way, even if dyes were to bleed out, they wouldn’t be noticeable.

Don’t Dry Until Stain is Removed

If dye stains do occur after washing, don’t put stained clothing in the dryer. This will only allow the stains to set in, and they’ll be even harder to remove. Instead, remove the piece of clothing in question from the washing machine, and allow it to air dry. Then move on to stain removal for all the clothes that have been affected.

How to Remove Dye Stains from Clothing

The first step to remove dye transfer stains is to rewash all the effected clothes again, this time with detergent and color-safe bleach. This may be enough to remove any spots, but if not, use a stain pre-treat spray. Light or white clothing can even be soaked in oxygen-based bleach for stain removal. Remember to always check your labels before washing. Dry clean only items will need to be taken to the best dry cleaner in your neighborhood for stain removal.

How to Remove Dye Stains from Upholstery

Blue jeans are a common culprit for dye transfer stains on upholstered furniture. To remove these pesky denim stains from your chairs and couches, make a solution of oxygen-based bleach mixed with cool water. Use a clean cotton cloth to blot the mixture directly onto the stain. Gently move the cloth to a clean area as it’s picking up the transferred dye. Allow it to completely air dry and repeat if necessary.

Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable removing dye stains from your clothing yourself, you can always use Utopia Cleaners’ dry cleaning service. We are experts in stain removal and will take care of your stained clothing for you! For large loads of clothing, or heavy household items, we recommend using our free dry cleaning pickup service.

How to Clean and Care for Modal Clothes

Do you own modal clothing? Modal refers to a type of rayon fabric made from the fibers of Beech trees. Unlike other rayon fabrics that tend to shrink or stretch, modal clothes easily retain their shape and are machine washable and dryable. They do, however, need to be washed after each use except for model pants or jackets that can be worn several times before cleaning. Read on for more tips on how to clean and care for modal clothes.

How to Wash Modal Clothing at Home

Modal items can easily be cleaned at home using everyday laundry items you already have. A gentle detergent is best, so look for bottles labeled “free and clear” or “gentle”. However, if regular detergent is all you have, that will do as well. Always read clothing care labels before washing, some might require the use of a mesh bag. If not, use cold water on a gentle cycle and lay flat to dry. If ironing is necessary, turn the item inside out before applying heat. Machine drying is safe if listed on the label, but be sure to remove immediately from the dryer after done.

How to Treat Stains on Modal Clothing

If your modal clothes have set-in stains, it’s best to pre-treat before washing. Store-bought stain removal agents can be used, but be sure to read the instructions carefully before applying. Otherwise, a simple paste made from baking soda and water rubbed gently on the stain with a brush can be very effective. Always avoid using bleach on modal items.

If you’re unsure of how to care for your modal clothing, don’t hesitate to take them to Utopia Cleaners. Our professional dry cleaners are experienced with treating modal clothes and can remove stains safely as well. Be sure to let us know if there are any stains on your laundry items, mark the location of the stains and indicate what the stains are from for best treatment. As always, we recommend our free dry cleaning pickup and delivery service to help you save time and money.

How to Clean and Store Tablecloths and Table Linens

You may not use your tablecloths and special linens very often, but when you are ready to entertain, it’s much easier if they’re easy to find and ready to go. Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready for a gathering or dinner party and realizing you have to spend extra time preparing your linens. Read on for easy tips and information to wash, iron and store your clean tablecloths and linens.

tablecloth and linens on a dinner party tableHow to Wash Table Linens

Fortunately, keeping your table linens clean doesn’t require any unique or expensive supplies or materials. Your regular laundry detergent, washing machine and dryer will suffice. For unknown or delicate fabrics, use a handwash or delicate cycle with cold water. For all other materials, a regular cycle with warm water will be fine. Pretreat stains with stain remover if necessary and tumble dry on low. Linens should be removed immediately and folded in the way you’d like the creases to lay. If desired, iron right before use.

How to Wash Tablecloths

Always check the labels before running your tablecloth through a washing cycle. Some are meant to be hand washed only, and laid flat to dry. However, some materials like cotton and polyester are machine washable in cold water on a gentle cycle.

How to Store Clean Tablecloths and Linens

After you’ve washed and dried your tablecloths and linens, it’s time to store them until use. A cool, ventilated closet is best for storage, and will prevent musty odors and wrinkles. Fold clean tablecloths in half or quartered, and drape over plastic or wooden hangers. Or store flat in stacks on a shelf. Acid-free tissue paper can be placed in between items if storing flat to prevent discoloring. Place heavier fabrics like placemats on the bottom, with lighter, more delicate materials like napkins on top. Every few months, refold and rearrange linens to prevent creases and wrinkles.

Remember, you can always take your linens and tablecloths to Utopia Cleaners before your big party or better still, use our free laundry pickup service. Just be sure to let our dry cleaner know when you need your items by, and you’ll be ready to go!

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

How to Clean a Big and Heavy Bedroom Comforter?

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

cat sleeping under a big comforter

Your Washing Machine May Not Be Big Enough

 

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

How to Machine Wash Your Comforter

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

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

How to Dry Your Comforter

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

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

 
 

 

Putting winter clothes in storage

Spring is coming soon and it’s time to pack away the wool coats, furs, leather jackets, sweaters, gloves and hats that have protected us through this past winter. But wait a minute! Before you put your off-season garments in storage, you should clean them first!  Particles left on your winter clothing can stain and set in after several months of storage, and moths may feast on the dirty fabrics. Don’t iron your clothes either, because ironing may weaken the fabric and as a result, your clothes may tear along the creases.

clothes in plastic boxes

Use plastic boxes for storing clothes, as they are waterproof and can protect your clothing from insects better than cardboard boxes.  You may also use vacuum-packed bags which can protect your clothing from dirt, moisture, mold and bugs. Note, however, that wool and other natural fabrics need to breathe, so their containers should not be airtight. Storage boxes should be kept in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight and heat, and preferably not on the floor.

For valuable garments such as wedding dresses and christening gowns which require long term storage, you should take them to your trusted Boston dry cleaner, Utopia Cleaners, for professional cleaning and preservation.

Save time by bringing your off-season clothing to our dry cleaners, or put them in your VIP bag and schedule a free dry cleaning delivery service by calling 617-695-3778. We’ll clean and press them, and then put them in cool, dry storage so that next winter you will have them ready to wear.