Caring for Rainwear

Rain - Image courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWe know that rain is a rare occurrence in sunny SoCal. But when it does rain, months-long-forsaken raincoats get pulled out of the closet to be used once again.

Raincoats are multi-functional garments that protect you from the rain, keep you warm on cool days, and can even be worn with evening wear.

Raincoats come in a variety of fabrics including brushed cotton, water-repellent wool gabardines, blends of polyester and rayon, cotton and wool, and even coated velvets. The traditional yellow raincoat is no longer the norm as prints, plaids, vibrant colors, subdued colors, even combinations of designs and colors appear on the scene. In addition, raincoats today frequently sport trims of fur, suede, corduroy or other decorative fabrics.

As with any garment, raincoats have special cleaning needs. In the next few paragraphs, we will take a look at proper care procedures that will keep your raincoat looking great.

Brushed cotton is frequently used on raincoats to create a softer, more natural look. Brushed fabrics of this type tend to show abrasion more readily during wear than the more traditional tightly woven, smooth cotton or cotton blend fabrics. In particular, areas around the collar, cuffs, elbows, and seams may develop chafed or light areas with continued use. The localized wear may appear more prominently in darker colors. This is a subtle condition that develops as the item is worn, but may become more evident after the garment is cleaned and the soil removed.

Many of the brightly colored kinds of cotton used in rainwear contain dyes and finishes that are not totally resistant to dry cleaning, producing a fading or dulling of the color when the article is drycleaned. Rainwear fabrics fall under the Care Label Rule and, therefore, should contain dyes and colors that are resistant to the suggested care procedure on the label. If the colors are not resistant, the rainwear should be returned to the retailer for an adjustment or replacement. The use of non-colorfast dyes in garments continues to be one of the major defects found in items that are routinely brought in to drycleaners.

Most raincoats go through the “waterproofing” process during manufacture, in which a rubber coating is applied to the reverse side of the coat. Rubberized materials generally do not respond well to dry cleaning, and such materials may need to be wet-cleaned. Some rainwear with rubberized backings mistakenly has dry clean labels. Drycleaners will be reluctant to dry clean such an article and may request the customer’s permission to use a wet cleaning process instead. Even with wet cleaning, the colorfastness of the cloth fabric must be taken into consideration before the article is cleaned.

Rainwear is often made more fashionable by treating the outer fabric with a urethane coating, giving the garment a very smooth, slick leather-like appearance. These coatings are often hard to distinguish from real leather unless extensive testing is done.

Some of these coatings are attached to the fabric with adhesives that are resistant to drycleaning procedures and may result in may result in bubbling, blistering and peeling of the film. In some cases, this problem starts to develop from wear around the collar, cuffs, and pocket edges even before the cleaning. Some urethane films are very thin and are known to have limited abrasive resistance. These films may start to separate and break up around the collar area from the effects of perspiration and body oils that have remained on the fabric for an extended period of time. For this reason, periodic cleaning of rainwear is advisable.

Many cloth combinations are used in making raincoats, and these fabrics are often treated with water repellent finishes. The water-repellent finish is different from the waterproofing previously described. Water-repellent finishes usually have a degree of permanency that will withstand several dry cleanings. In some cases, however, the water repellent finish breaks down, sometimes during the third or even later cleanings. If this occurs, the rainwear will need to be retreated by the cleaner who has special equipment for applying water-repellent finishes.

Cleaning Christmas Tree Skirts

Q. How do I clean tree skirts before and after Christmas?

Cleaning Christmas Tree Skirts - Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.netA. Christmas tree skirts are often valuable and treasured holiday items. Some tree skirts are very costly, while others may be family heirlooms.

Regardless of their original or sentimental value, tree skirts should be handled with great care.
In most cases, tree skirts cannot be safely laundered or drycleaned, because they are adorned with beads, sequins, appliques, lace, felt, quilted designs, multi-colored prints, and other types of decorative trim. In most cases, these decorative trims used glues and adhesives that show little resistance to cleaning.

If water or other liquids spill on the skirt, blot the area with white handkerchiefs, cotton towels, or paper towels. Use cool water to aid in removing stains. Local stain removal treatments may be the only safe method for handling tree skirts. In some cases, stains cannot be removed without damage. Bring your Christmas tree skirt to us at BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry for assistance if stain removal becomes necessary.

Caring For Winter Items

Winter clothing - Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe colder months are rolling in. As the temperature begins to drop 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 not removed.

Mothball odor can be difficult to remove. Try airing the garments by hanging them outside in the shade. If this does not eliminate 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.

Take Care when Caring for Wool

Caring for Wool - Image courtesy of Adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWool is a favorite sweater fabric because it is durable, comfortable, and an excellent insulator. If your wool sweater gets damp, hang it to air dry at room temperature. Do not hang near a heat source, as this will promote mildew. A gentle brushing of wool sweaters after each wearing helps remove surface soil.

If the care label suggests hand washing, use cool water with mild soap or bleach-free detergent. Soak up to five minutes and rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out excess water, but do not wring or twist the fabric. To dry, lay the sweater flat, away from sunlight or heat. If using a plastic sweater board as a drying surface, covering the board with a towel (under the sweater) will help prevent snagging.

If the care label suggests machine washing, use the gentle cycle. Bring your wools, or any sweater with “dry clean only” label, to us at BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry for stain removal.

Customer Question: Getting Ready for Winter Weather

cleaning winter accessories - Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netQ. How do you clean winter accessories, such as gloves, hats, and scarves?

A. Remember last spring when you bagged your hats, gloves, and scarves and put them in the back of your closet? Well, now it is time to get them out and ready for another winter. If inspection shows they were put away in a soiled condition, now is the time to clean them.
If care labels are present, follow instructions carefully. Many synthetics, as well as cotton and wools, are hand or machine washable. If tumble drying is recommended use a low-temperature setting.

Wool, fur, and leather accessories may require our assistance. These materials require special cleaning and finishing procedures. Any known stains should be pointed out when you leave them with us. Most items will clean beautifully, but accessories, particularly gloves, are exposed to many staining substances that cannot be removed.

Cleaning Up After a Holiday Feast

ThImage courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.nete holidays are a time for joy and family, not for worrying about yucky stains on your beautiful tablecloth. So, relax, this handy stain removal guide will walk you through some of the most common dinner stains you may encounter this holiday season. Remember, there is always the option of taking your stained items to a professional so you won’t have to deal with it. At BRYAN’S Cleaners & Laundry, we remove stains like these every day.

Candle Wax
Gently lift off the larger pieces. Treat with a solvent-based stain removal product. Wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.

Wine Stain
Lightly touch with an absorbent towel to draw up the liquid or put paper towels under the spill. Blotting can spread the stain. After dinner: rinse in cool water; treat with a mild detergent and white vinegar.

Coffee
Same as wine.

Salad Oil
Oils from salads are the worst because they can yellow with age if not removed. Cover a big spill at the table with absorbent powder. Shake off after supper. Apply a mild detergent mixed with household ammonia, ASAP. Wait 5-10 minutes and wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.

Cranberry
Rinse with cool water and treat with a mild detergent and white vinegar before washing.

It is always best to wash stained items or take them to your cleaner as soon as possible. If your table linens are colored or have colored embroidery, check for colorfastness before using the various stain removal products. Anytime a stain is not washed out before drying, it can become more difficult to remove.

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.