Back To School

keeping school clothes clean - Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.netGetting 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.

Taking 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 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 make it difficult to remove mildew odors.

Fall Freshen-Up

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 fading or small holes (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 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.

Impending inclement weather means scarves, rain-wear, boots, velvet dresses, and leather jackets. These items can be professionally cleaned and brought back to fashion. The fall months are often exciting times. The change of seasons can bring tidings of fresh beginnings.

Prevent and Treat Common Summertime Stains

French Fries by PhasinphotoYour picture of paradise may include cheeseburgers, soda, ice cream, pizza, and other summertime favorites, but that picture undoubtedly doesn’t include spots on your shorts and shirts. These tips will help you confront the stains of summer. For a happy stainless summer, bring stained items to us.


French Fries
Treat as a grease stain, like meats. Wash in the hottest water possible.

This stain has a little bit of everything, including tannin and fats. Blot off excess stains and use a mild detergent.

Ice Cream & Popsicles
Use mild detergent. Chocolate can be especially hard to remove. Pre-treat it.

Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol may damage silk or acetate and can disturb dyes. Blot with water and wash.

Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, & Steaks
Blot the excess of these grease stains and dab with water. Use a pre-treatment such as “Shout.” Launder. Bring garments that can be dry cleaned to us.

The acidic lemon juice may cause some dyes to change color.

Candy Apples
Blot, don’t rub. Should wash out, unless it contains much red dye.


Inside Our Stain Removal Arsenal

Stain removal is something we proudly do very well at BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry. There are some reasons why we stand a better chance of safely and more efficiently getting out a difficult stain than most folks can do themselves at home. Here’s an inside look at our stain removal arsenal.

Stain removal is half science and half art, but all timing. The sooner we get a stained garment, the more likely we can remove the stain. Chemistry, knowledge of fibers and fabrics, and following the path of least resistance guide our approach to removing stains. The fewer treatments a stain removal specialist needs to do on a garment the better. That goes for the specialist and the garment! The most powerful tool a stain removal specialist has is a firm understanding of the characteristics and attributes of stains, aided by a set of specialized tools.


How do Cleaners Remove Stains?

How do cleaners remove stainsHow many times have you attempted to remove a stain, only to make it worse-or perhaps permanent? As we all know, stain removal can be a difficult task. Fortunately, professional stain removal technicians have the knowledge, ability, and finesse required to do the task accurately and professionally.

What is Professional Stain Removal?
Professional stain removal is a complex procedure undertaken by a stain removal technician.

The stain removal technician uses special stain removal techniques when wetting the fabric, applying stain removal agents, and drying fabrics. These special techniques are designed to keep the area contained during the stain removal process and to prevent fabric and color damage.

Professional stain removal technicians are trained to recognize stains by their color, location, and their reaction to stain removal substances. They are also knowledgeable about fibers and fabrics.

How are Stains Removed?
Some stains are removed by dissolving them in specific substances. For example, solvent-soluble substances such as oils and greases are removed by solvents, while water-soluble substances such as sugars and juices dissolve in water. Some stains are removed by using agents that chemically react with the stain. Other stains are removed by a digestion procedure. For instance, enzymes may be used to convert complex substances in a stain
into simpler, more removable substances.

In some cases, concentrated stains require pre-treatment before dry cleaning. For this reason, it is important that you point out any stains to your dry cleaner. Some stains become invisible as they age. If these stains remain in the fabric for a long period of time, they can oxidize and become extremely difficult to remove. However, even with careful pre-treatment prior to cleaning, some stains may become more noticeable after dry cleaning.

What Tools are Used in Professional Stain Removal?
The professional stain removal technician uses a specially designed stain removal board, which allows the technician to work on small areas at a time. The board equipped with steam or water, a vacuum system, and air for drying the fabric after stain removal is complete. A variety of special tools, such as stain removal brushes, blotters, eye dropper, cotton swabs, and magnifying glass are also available to aid in the stain removal process.

What Precautions Should be Taken in Stain Removal?
One of the greatest challenges to stain removal is removing stains without affecting the dyes used on the garment. This task can be tricky because of the solubility of certain dyes. As a result, the stain removal technician tests for colorfastness prior to attempting any type of stain removal treatment.

The stain removal technician must also determine the fiber content (i.e. silk, wool, polyester etc.), as some stain removal agents can damage certain fibers.

This is done through fiber identification tests, which can help to identify the fiber content when no label is present. The stain removal technician must also identify the fabric construction (knit, lace, woven, non-woven), as certain fabric constructions can be damaged in normal stain removal procedures and must be handled with care.

In addition, due to the nature of some fabrics and the type of stain, even the best professional may not be able to remove all stains without damage. This applies especially to perspiration stains, old stains, and sugar stains.

With all the knowledge and resources available to the stain removal technician, it is easy to see why leaving the stain removal to the professionals at BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry is much more practical.

The Long and the Short of Shirts

Men's Dress ShirtsDress shirts are an essential part of any man’s wardrobe and are probably the most underappreciated articles of clothing. Shirts are taken for granted because we expect them to look great all the time.

Although they are relatively easy for a professional cleaner to clean and press, a shirt can suffer problems, including ring around the collar, color loss, and fabric abrasion leading to tears, punctures, and holes.

Industry experience shows the average shirt has a two-year wearable life expectancy. A better measurement is the number of launderings. The average shirt has a wear life of 35 to 50 cycles.

That is not to say your shirt will shred to pieces during its 51st time through the spin cycle. Wear life fluctuates with abrasion and strain placed on the shirt during wear, fiber content, and laundering procedures.

These common problems may affect the components of a shirt, the collar and cuffs, sleeves, and body. Some of them can be foreseen or prevented while others cannot.

Ring Around the Color
One detergent company marketed its whole product around removing this. Remember those old Wisk commercials with spokespeople proclaiming, “No more ring around the collar!” after using their detergent?

Ring around the collar is a widespread shirt malady. As a shirt is worn, the neckband, collar fold, and cuffs are exposed to ground-in soils from perspiration, body oils, colognes, hair tonics, medicines, sunblock, and other types of skin preparations. To prevent excess buildup in the collar and cuff area, shirts should be laundered after each wearing.

Fade Out
Bleeding or overall fading will occur if the dyes in a multi-colored shirt are not colorfast to washing.

Dyes sometimes migrate in washing. In most cases, there is no safe restoration; however, repeated washing will sometimes remove the transferred dye and return the shirt to a wearable condition.

That Shrinking Feeling
Hot under the collar? Either your neck has gotten too thick, your tie is too tight, or your shirt is shrinking. Manufacturers often allow for 2% shrinkage, which usually is not enough to cause a complaint.

Shrinkage beyond this is usually due to poorly stabilized materials. Over several washings, even better quality shirts experience shrinkage leaving your neck feeling overly snug.

To determine if your shirt has shrunk, measure the collar from the end of the buttonhole to the center of the button.

Measure the sleeve length in a straight line from the center of the back of the collar to the end of the cuff. If these measurements correspond to the shirt size, it has not shrunk.

Pressing Perspiration
A sweat soaked shirt could eventually turn into a stained shirt if the perspiration is allowed to stay in the shirt. It will also weaken the fabric, causing damage during washing. Aluminum chlorides found in antiperspirants also weaken underarm fibers Occasionally, localized holes or tears develop near the underarm area of shirts made with natural fibers or blends, such as 100% cotton shirts or cotton/polyester blends.

Two tips: When applying antiperspirants or deodorants allow them to dry before dressing. Secondly, wash your shirts soon after you wear them in order to minimize this type of damage.

Pinholes in Oxford Shirts
Tiny holes can appear at random areas throughout an oxford shirt due to the weaving process. Oxford cloth is made with two thin yarns in one direction and one thick yarn in the other direction.

This unbalanced construction puts strain on the thin yarns, causing them to break and leave tiny holes.

Manufacturers may be able to slow down the development of holes by using a polyester/cotton blend, a heavier yarn or a higher twist in the yarn, but eventually, any oxford weave can develop tiny pin holes due to circumstances of wear and cleaning.

Puckers or Wrinkles in Collars and Cuffs
If the interfacing fabric used in collars, cuffs, and placket fronts is not fused correctly or is not properly preshrunk, after laundering the outer fabric in the collar will then be larger than the interfacing, causing puckers or wrinkles when pressed. This excess material makes obtaining a smooth finish difficult.

If it is objectionable, the shirt should be returned to the retailer or manufacturer.

Warning: Watch Out for Melted Labels
Some shirts contain heat-sensitive labels, such as ones that have been glued instead of stitched on, that may soften under high heat and permanently stain the shirt. This type of staining is usually permanent. A heat-sensitive label could melt during tumble drying or in ironing. The shirt should be returned to the retailer or manufacturer if this occurs.

Go Pro For Best Results
To get the most mileage out of a dress shirt, you should clean it as soon as possible after each wearing to remove stains and body oils. For best results, shirts should be commercially laundered by a professional cleaner, like BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry.

Professional shirt laundering is different from home laundering in that it uses specialized wash formulas and different pressing procedures. This process enables us to offer consistently high-quality shirts at reasonable prices. Collars come out cleaner, and professional pressing produces a crisper finish.

Finishing may be the most significant difference between professional and home care. Ironing at home requires considerably more time and effort than it takes us to press a shirt, and ultimately it will not look as nice.

The better you take care of your shirts, the longer they will last and the better you will look.

Common Sense Rules for Summertime Storage

Summertime Storage - Image courtesy of khongkitwiriyachan at FreeDigitalPhotos.netTo keep your winter fashions looking good season after season, follow these simple rules for storing your warm and woolly items:

  1. Clean or dry clean everything before storage. Dirt and food are invitations to insects.
  2. Make all necessary repairs (sew hemlines, replace buttons, and fix split seams) before cleaning and storing.
  3. Store all items in a cool, well-ventilated area.
  4. Store away from natural and artificial light. Hot attics, damp basements, and garages should be avoided.
  5. Store woolens in cedar chests or other airtight containers. Second choices for storage of woolens are cloth or canvas bags and cardboard boxes. If you store in a closet, drape a cloth sheet over your clothes to protect them from dust and light. Do not store in plastic.
  6. Pack airtight containers (other than cedar chests) with mothballs separate from the clothes, never on them.
  7. To discourage 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.
  8. Down, like all winter clothing should be cleaned (either washed or dry cleaned according to the care label) before an end of season storage. Down should be stored loosely, to allow for air circulation.
  9. 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 like BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry with fur storage capacity.
  10. If you do not have proper storage space, ask us about box storage. You can get your clothes cleaned and properly stored for the season all at the same time.

Cleaning Neckties

Cleaning Ties - Image courtesy of YaiSirichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.netAs an important accessory in every gentleman’s wardrobe, neckties require the same care as any other type of apparel. Accidents will happen and it can be important to know how to care for neckties properly. Often, neckties do not require cleaning until they encounter a spill or they become soiled.

Cleaning a necktie presents challenges even to the most experienced dry cleaner. The fabric is often a multi-color print that is usually colorfast to dry cleaning but not to water. As a result, stain removal may involve carefully testing each color for colorfastness. If the dyes bleed too easily, a cleaner may choose not to attempt removal of stains that are not removed in dry cleaning.

Several layers are used to construct a necktie, and a cleaner may need to take the tie apart in order to remove a stain.

Otherwise, moisture may be retained in the thicker, interfaced areas, which may contribute to dye bleeding and migration.

Because the fabric is usually cut on the bias or diagonal grain, neckties may also be susceptible to distortion during wear and cleaning. At BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry, we employ a variety of special tools and techniques to return the necktie to a like-new appearance without causing distortion.

Please exercise caution when attempting home stain removal on neckties. Remember to blot the stain; do not rub. Rubbing the area while damp may break the surface yarns, resulting in localized color loss that may not become apparent until the tie is needed for an important meeting.

Serviceability and cleanability of neckties depend on the materials used in their construction. If the fabrics or dyes cannot withstand normal use or care, serviceability becomes very limited.

Summer Weather Garment Care

Boy enjoying summer - Image courtesy of Sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWe lather up, jump in and enjoy during warm weather. With that come many products that can damage clothing items. Here are some quick tips to minimize that damage.

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.

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

Preserving Wedding Memories

Beautiful Bride - Image courtesy of Rob D at FreeDigitalPhotos.netYou carefully planned your wedding. Then you spent hours trying on dresses, finally finding the perfect gown. Once the day is over how do you care for your beautiful dress to either preserve it as a keepsake or perhaps to share with your daughter to wear on her wedding day? At BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry, we are here to help – you will need a professional’s assistance before storing this treasure.

Beware of invisible stains from food, beverages, and body oil. If these stains are not properly cleaned, they may become permanent. Therefore, it is important to point out any stains or spills to your cleaner before cleaning.

Most wedding gowns have some decorative trim. Be sure to inspect these trims with us before cleaning since many trims are not made to withstand the dry cleaning process. For example, many beads, glitter, sequins, and laces are attached to gowns with adhesives that dissolve during dry cleaning. Some beads and glitter are made of plastics or covered with surface coatings that are not solvent- resistant. In many of these cases, the trim becomes separated from the dress or altered in some way.

In some cases, decorative trims yellow as their finishes oxidize. An ivory or ecru trim may lose its color and no longer match the gown if a dye component is lost in cleaning. Color failures of this type are due to poor colorfastness of the dye, not to improper cleaning.