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Tablecloths, napkins, and fine linens
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Garment Care

Sweater Care

Are Your Sweaters Looking a Little the Worse for Wear?

If you want to give your sweaters a new lease on their life, ask us about our de-pilling and restoration services.  It could be just the boost they need to keep them among your favorites.  We’ll check your sweater over from top to bottom, and bring back that like new joy you had in wearing it.Sweater care

 Thought for the Week

“If your sister is in a tearing hurry to go out and will not catch your eye,

she is wearing your best sweater.”

~Pam Brown

Leather Care & Cleaning

Leather care

Leather wrap-around dress from Michael Kors Spring 2014 line.

Here are a few tips on caring for your leather garments:

  • Always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape.
  • Never store leather garments or accessories in plastic or other non-breathable covers. This will cause the leather to become dry.
  • Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any heat source.
  • Avoid storing in very humid or very dry environments as well as in direct sunlight.
  • Do not use waxes, silicone products or other leather preparations that impair a garment’s ability to breathe.
  • Avoid spraying perfumes or hair sprays while wearing your garment and do not apply pins, adhesive badges or tape.
  • Wearing a scarf at the neckline will help keep hair and body oil away from the collar.
  • Hems may be fixed with a tiny amount of rubber cement by a leather care professional.
  • All products used at home should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment.

 

What you should know about leather cleaning

The Leather Apparel Association recommends professional leather cleaning for all leathers, and fabric garments trimmed with leather or suede.  The LAA also advises consumers:

  •  Clean matching garments at the same time, since a slight variation in color or texture may occur as a natural result of the cleaning process.
  • Natural marks, blemishes and wrinkles could become more apparent after cleaning.
  • Garments may shrink slightly, but may stretch again with wear.

The National Cleaners Association advises consumers that they should always sign a consent to process form when having leather garments cleaned.  This document ensures that they have been properly advised about the vulnerability of leather garments when having them cleaned or finished. 

2014 Fashion Trends for Pants

fashionPantsCigarette pants.  Sailor trousers.  Capris.

Ever since it became socially acceptable for women to wear slacks, they have become an integral part of everyone’s wardrobe.  This year, there is a wide array of fashionable styles to choose from, from cigarette pants to high waisted and wide legged trousers, but the style is only part of the fashion equation. The right fit and selecting the right length is equally important.  Mostly, length depends on the style of pants you’ve chosen to wear, and here are a few tips we gleaned from the Fashion Week runways.

1. Cigarette pants should NOT touch the shoe.  The ideal length is around the ankle – above, top, mid or bottom depending on your personal taste.

2. High-waisted and wide legged pants, which will be very popular in 2014, should almost fully cover the shoe heel and have at LEAST a full break (if not more) in the front.

3.  Capris should be worn with a shoe that has a bit of a heel, and the pants themselves should be tapered.  The ‘right’ length depends on the shape and length of your calf. Remember, capris will always make you appear shorter than you are.

 

A Few Tips About Fine Knitwear

Knitwear

FOLD

Don’t Hang Fine Knitwear

 

 1. Storing your knitwear on hangers cannot only result in distorted shoulders, the weight of the knit can stretch it out of shape.

2.  Avoid snags by putting jewelry on AFTER you get dressed.

3.  DO NOT cut loose strands, snags or fuzz balls, this is a good way to unleash the great unraveling problem.

4.  Carefully inspect knitwear prior to purchase.  Careless shoppers trying on knitwear can easily leave behind snags and runs.

5. Always point out snags in need of repair when you bring a sweater in for professional care.

 

 

A Word or Two About Swimwear Care

SwimwearWe all know how damaging the sun’s rays can be to our skin, and how important it is to protect ourselves with highly rated UV protection topical treatments.

And, if it is a choice between protecting your skin and your swimsuit – there is no contest.  Protect your skin first and foremost.

However, you need to keep in mind that sunscreens can permanently stain your swimwear, especially preparations that are oil based.  In a perfect world, you want to give your sunscreen an opportunity to dry and be absorbed by your skin BEFORE you don your favorite suit.  Or at the very least be careful when applying it in areas close to your suit.

You also want to avoid sitting on rough surfaces (concrete around pools, wooden benches, etc.) since they can act as an abrasive snagging or breaking the spandex fibers in your suit, leaving you with unsightly nubs.  Place a towel down before you take a seat to protect your suit from abrasion.

Last but not least, you want to thoroughly rinse your suit of all chlorine and/or salts as soon as possible after having taken a dip in the pool or ocean.  Chlorine and salt are corrosive, and no good will come of letting them stay on your swimwear for a pro-longed period of time.  (A thorough rinse means taking your swimsuit off and letting the water penetrate the fibers.)

Wedding Gown Preservation Tips

Once the wedding is over, there are few tangible reminders.  The food and drink were consumed, the flowers have died, the music has stopped playing… all these things that the bride anguished over are just sweet memories.

But there are a couple of things that provide a concrete reminder of the day: the photographs and the wedding gown!

WeddingTaking the time to preserve that wedding gown means it will remain a tangible reminder of the day for many years to come.

Perhaps another generation or two of brides will even wear it!

According to textile and costume conservation specialists, the first step in proper preservation is beginning with a CLEAN item.  You should never store anything that has been worn or is stained, unless you clean it first.  The next preservation step includes protection from: light, (which means never put the gown in a box that has a see-through plastic window), dust and insects, fluctuations in temperature and humidity, storage in plastic, and remember always professional cleaning before storage (this is especially true if the dress in question is silk)!

The storage box should be big enough to accommodate the dress with a minimum of folds, and archival (acid free) quality tissue and box should be used.  Any cardboard  (box, bust forms, etc. should be lignin-free, so that the item isn’t vulnerable to oxidation and turn yellow with age.

Never store your boxed dress in an attic or basement.  The heat and humidity will eventually cause irreparable harm.

If you want to know more about the proper handling or storage of wedding gowns or other potential family heirlooms – feel free to ask us.  We’re here to serve and share.

Spring Cleaning: Drapery Cleaning A Few Tips for You

Spring

According to the Better Business Bureau, you should think about professionally cleaning your draperies every three years or so, and sheer curtains on an annual basis.

As a professional cleaner, I’ll also advise you to clean all your matching pieces together!

In other words, if your draperies ‘match’ your slipcovers or upholstery, it’s in your own best interest to clean them all at the same time; this will keep them looking uniform.

Also, if your draperies have been exposed to direct sunlight, they may have been subjected to sun damage.  The sun has the ability to weaken (burn) the fabric, the same way it can burn your skin.  It can affect the dyes (lightening color) and even weaken the fibers so they cannot withstand the agitation involved in a cleaning process.  Sun damaged draperies are therefore very susceptible to shredding and tearing.

Rug Cleaning

The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends annual cleaning for all carpets and area rugs.  Given the type of use and abuse (kids, pets, spills, shoes, etc.) our floor coverings are subject to, this is generally good advice. 

A final piece of advice – to protect ALL your decorative fabrics from the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun, keep your window blinds closed during the day when you are not at home.

If you have any questions or need our help with the cleaning of your home furnishings, feel free to ask us.  That’s what we’re here for.

 

Candle Wax

Candle Wax: the Bane of Fine Table Linens

candlesSo you are planning a nice romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day, complete with soft lighting from burning candles. Be sure you protect your table linens from the overly zealous marketing claims made by ‘dripless’ candle makers by using candle drip
 protectors (you can even get them on line.)

If however, you forget and your lovely tablecloth bears witness to your oversight, your best bet in saving the table linen for future dinners is to bring it in to us quickly for stain removal, cleaning and professional pressing. But – if you have time on your hands, an adventurous spirit and promise to be VERY, VERY careful go here for a DIY (do-it-yourself) technique you might want to try.

You’ll need:

  • Lighter fluid or mineral spirits
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Clean, white, unbleached towel,
  • Gauze pads
  • Stainless steel spoon
  • Large flat Formica or stone slab surface to work on

 

Procedure:

  • Place the towel under the stained area and smooth out the cloth
  • Apply the lighter fluid or mineral spirit to a gauze pad and dab it on the stain
  • Apply some petroleum jelly to the stain
  • Let mixture stand for 30 seconds in order to give the petroleum jelly time to soften the stain and the solvent time to dissolve the wax
  • Carefully scrape off the mixture with the edge of the bowl of the spoon. DO NOT use a dinner knife to scrape the mixture off, as it will likely abrade the fine fibers. This is permanent and irreparable damage.
  • Repeat as often as necessary until stain removed. Be sure to move stain to a clean area of towel.
  • Flush the area with lighter fluid or mineral spirits.
  • Dab with towel
  • Air dry
  • Launder
  • Re-inspect cloth to ensure stain is removed.

CAVEAT:  Do not place linen in the dryer or iron until the stain has been successfully removed.  If you’ve been unsuccessful you can still bring it in to us, as long as you have not subjected it to any heat.

All Hangers Are Not Created Equal

PostWould you use a flathead screwdriver to undo a Phillips-head screw?  Or a sauce pan to fry eggs? OK, even though both these scenarios probably have been attempted by someone before, we’re pretty sure the results weren’t good.   

 Selecting the right hanger for your clothes is important. When you receive your garments back from Shaffer Dry Cleaning & Laundry, they are carefully placed on the appropriate wire hanger style for transport back to your home.  Once in your closet, storing your garments on the right hanger will protect and ensure their longevity.

 Here are some useful tips from the National Cleaners Association.

     • The all-purpose hanger is ideal for a standard suit or mix and match separates. It is a space saver and a popular choice, but provides limited support for the collar area.

     • The deluxe shaped hanger with its gently rounded corners, extended length and collar support is the ideal hanger to use to maintain the shape and drape of ‘important’ suit jackets, blazers and sport coats.

     • The notched hanger is designed to accommodate those items which are either susceptible to clip marks or over the bar creases. They are also recommended for items too delicate to be solely supported by the shoulder straps on the garments; in these cases the manufacturer will provide hanging loops to ease the strain on fragile straps.

     • Padded hangers are perfect for fine items- silk tops, lingerie, etc.

One last point, as the largest 100% green dry cleaner in Tucson, we recycle hangers.  Once you’ve transferred your garments to proper hangers for storage, collect and save the wire hangers to bring back on your next visit to drop off your cleaning. 

The Truth Behind Fuzz Balls aka Pills

PillsAfter you have worn a knit garment a few times, you may find small balls of fiber forming on the surface. These fuzz balls are known in the dry cleaning trade as pills. They are formed by the loose fibers tangling together in places where your garment is subjected to friction during wear. The more often you wear a knit garment in between cleanings, the more pills you’ll encounter as the pills themselves exacerbate the surface areas from friction.

Though you might be tempted to take a scissor or razor to these unsightly blemishes on your fine knit wear, a better option is to bring it in for professional cleaning and depilling.

Removing pills is part art and part science. An amateur is as likely to make a snip that will lead to future unraveling, as they are to successfully remove just the pill. Garment care professionals actually have special tools for depilling fine knitwear – and no, it’s not the sweater brick you saw in the discount store! We call it ‘carding’ the fibers, and it is the same technique used in the manufacturing process. If you want to learn more, feel free to ask us, or just bring it in and ask for cleaning and depilling.pills2