The Wonderful World of Sweaters

Sweaters - Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.netAs 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. Many sweaters contain unique decorative trims. Trims such as suede, leather, snakeskin, fur, sequins, and beads add to a sweater’s distinctive look. Caring for these delicate knits requires particular attention.

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

  • Check the seams of knitted sweaters for unraveling and fraying, which may occur if the edges are not appropriately bound.
  • 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.

Preservation Tips
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 is 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 woolens and other animal fibers.

  • If you have any doubts about care procedures, discuss it with your professional cleaner.
  • 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 will not 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 regular 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.

Cleaning Problems
Different fabrics can present different challenges to cleaning sweaters. Professional cleaners are well versed in all the various styles and fibers. In most cases, your cleaner will 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 can 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 by washing or cleaning procedures.

If you have any questions about caring for your sweaters, consult your professional cleaner.

Winter Wardrobe Changes in Clothing Care

Image courtesy of alexisdc at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe colder months are rolling in. As the temperature begins to drop (yes, it occasionally happens in Southern California) here are a few tips and considerations to help you roll with the seasons.

Cleaning Out the Closet
After a long slumber, your winter clothes will need to be awakened and taken out of storage. Hopefully, you didn’t have any unwanted visitors over the summer months but it’s a good idea to check your garments for signs of insect damage.

Insects such as crickets, ants, moths, beetles, and cockroaches can feed on clothes that were not cleaned properly before storing. Look for small holes, worn areas, and discolored lines on the portions of the garment that had spills or stains that were never removed.

Mothball odor can be difficult to remove. Try airing the garments by hanging them outside in the shade. If this does not completely remove the odor, cleaning the garments may help.

Winter Cleaning Tips
When it comes to cleaning, the first and easiest way to ensure the best cleaning is to follow the manufacturer’s care label instructions. Many of your garments may be hand or machine washable. Minimize agitation to prevent matting and pilling of napped fabrics. We have pressing equipment that can reshape knits back to their original size if something gets out of shape. Follow recommended drying temperatures. Other materials such as wool, fur, and leather require professional care due to special cleaning and pressing procedures. Make sure to point out any known stains when you send them our way.

Festive Outfits
Many stains caused by cosmetics, oily foods, and beverages will get best results when pre-treated. Many festive dishes, unfortunately, contain ingredients that are not easily removed using household stain removal techniques and may require solvent-based treatments. Let us know if you are not sure what the best procedure would be.

Thank you for the opportunity to care for your wardrobe.

Can Club Soda Really Remove Stains?

Can club sode really remove stains?Does club soda really work on spills? Everyone “knows” club soda is the ultimate remedy for instant stain removal, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Our 107-year-old professional trade association, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), recently completed an in-depth study of the merits of club soda versus plain old water in stain removal, and as members, we’re pleased to share their findings. The short answer is “yes” club soda can be a big help in the short term, but “no” it is not the end-all, be-all stain removal miracle it is made out to be.

When applied immediately to 10 commonplace food stains DLI tested, both club soda and water removed anywhere from some to most of the stain. However, neither treatment will completely remove the stains and if left untreated the remaining stain residues can become permanent stains over time or when the garment is cleaned. On the 10 common spills that DLI’s stain removal experts used for the test, they found that after blotting a spill with either club soda or water some or most visible traces of the substance were removed; however, an analysis under ultraviolet light showed that at least a portion of nearly every stain remained after club soda or water was used.

Therefore, although it is best to try and rinse out the stain with water immediately after contact with the clothing, it is then also advisable to take the garment to a professional cleaner who can completely remove the last traces. Point out to the cleaner the area of the stain, the type of staining substance, and what attempts you made to reduce the initial spillage. If this is not done as soon as possible, the invisible remaining residue can oxidize over time and leave a permanent discoloration later, which in many cases on some fabrics cannot be removed.

For Best Results, Act Fast

When it comes time to remove the stain, the chances are greatly increased if club soda (or water) is used to rinse the stain before it dries. After it dries the degree of effectiveness drops considerably. In a coffee stain, for example, there may be sugar residue present that you may not be able to see, but it can caramelize during the drying or pressing processes, leaving a yellowish stain. A stain removal expert can remove this residue if he or she knows the stain was there in the first place. It is always recommended that customers mention any spills or attempts to remove stains at the counter. This way we will be better prepared to restore your garment to a like-new appearance.

There are also some stains that club soda actually makes worse. Ballpoint ink is almost always made up of water and solvent components. If water or club soda is used to remove this kind of stain, it could set the stain permanently into the fabric. So, with ballpoint stains, it is best to leave them to the professional stain removers.

Club soda or water will hold the stain off until you can get the garment to a cleaner: we can usually remove the stains entirely if you bring it in without delay.

Caring for Athletic Uniforms

cleaning athletics uniforms - Image courtesy of HIN255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWith spring comes the arrival of the spring sports season and spring athletic uniforms. As sports uniforms are bound to experience significant soiling and wear, special attention should be paid to their care.

Sports uniforms are usually made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, spandex, or a blend of these fibers. The biggest problem athletic uniforms may experience is dye bleeding during the cleaning process. For this reason, it is important that you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions carefully. Because some dyes are water-soluble, resulting in fading or dye transfer during washing, many uniforms have care labels that recommend a cold water wash. The color should be safe if washed in cold water, but it will often bleed if washed at a higher temperature.

If the color bleeds when washed at the recommended temperature, the manufacturer should be held responsible, and the uniform returned to the retailer for an adjustment.

Here are some tips on how to keep those athletic uniforms looking great:

• Check the care label to determine the best method of care. Laundering is usually considered to be the most effective method for removing heavy soiling.

• Prior to cleaning, test for colorfastness to avoid color pick-up on other articles.

• Wash in a low temperature to reduce the chance of bleeding colors. Mud and grass stains may require treatment before washing.

• Avoid high drying temperatures. Shrinkage and permanent wrinkles may result. Laminated synthetics should be air dried.

• Do not allow items to soak or be wet for long periods of time.

• Dry athletic uniforms at low temperatures.

• Immediately remove athletic uniforms from the dryer and hang to avoid permanent wrinkles.

• When ironing, make sure it is set at the proper setting. A low-temperature setting, such as polyester, is usually safe.


Cleaning Band Uniforms

Cleaning Band UniformsWe are well into the football season and while many fans may be cheering for the football players, are you enjoying the half-time show? Here are some tips to keeping your musical star looking great.

Band uniforms are very expensive and generally require professional cleaning. They are usually wool or a wool/synthetic blend and are susceptible to damage from perspiration and rubbing under the armpits during marching. Wearing a t-shirt underneath helps absorb some of the perspiration. Other common band uniform stains are ink, food, sugar drinks, grass, and mud—which shouldn’t be terribly surprising considering all the pep rallies and football games band members must attend.

The uniforms should be cleaned as soon as possible after each use (usually between football games) in order to prevent any stains from setting and to avoid attracting insects, which especially prey on wool fibers.

No matter what, follow the care label and remember that we’re here to help with difficult stains or any items that need professional attention.

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.