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Hit by a Flood? Don't Throw Those Clothes Away - Restore Them!

Posted by David Whitehurst

2015-09-10_1828If your home is hit by a flood from natural causes or man made causes (like broken or leaking water lines), you might be overwhelmed with where to start your clean-up effort. Most people don’t necessarily think of the clothes closets first, but there’s a good reason to make them a priority – clothing that is subjected to flooding can often be saved if you act quickly.

Clothing restoration is one area where your dry cleaner can come to the rescue. Saving your favorite pieces of clothing after water damage depends on several factors, like the type of water, the length of time they’ve been wet and just how badly they were affected. Even so-called clean water contains bacteria that must be immediately removed and, if the water damage includes impurities such as soil, mud or sewage, there are additional steps to be taken.

Caution: All dry cleaners are not knowledgeable or equipped to properly and safely restore contaminated clothing. Your best bet is to find a qualified specialist in textile restoration like a member of the Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network (CRDN).

Data shows that it costs about 18 cents on the dollar to restore a garment vs. buying a new one. Certain treasured items, like wedding gowns, military uniforms and vintage pieces, cannot be replaced, so it is well worth your while to take the following precautions to save your favorite clothing from the dumpster.


After you’ve separated out items that cannot be washed, take the items outside and do the following:

  • Sort the soiled items as soon as possible into two groups – whites and colors – to avoid coloring dyes from the non-whites staining the white ones.
  • Do not leave dirty, contaminated clothing in a wet pile and do not store in a plastic bag, which encourages mildew growth.
  • Any items that cannot be cleaned immediately should be spread out or hung up and air dried individually.
  • Brush off the clothing as thoroughly as possible before heading to the textile restoration dry cleaner.


Now it’s time to take the items to a clothing restoration expert who can offer odor and mold remediation. The solvents used in the cleaning process, along with the flushing action and steam used in the finishing method are extremely effective in reducing bacteria to safe levels.

The items that can be restored after a flood may surprise you. In addition to clothing, you can take in towels, hats, draperies, bed linens, rugs, stuffed animals, luggage and furniture. Don’t overlook leather and suede items, purses, belts, hats, and shoes and boots, from high-fashion to sneakers.

If any items are unable to be salvaged and restored, your clothing restoration specialist can inventory them for insurance purposes.


How to Keep Linen Dress Clothes Looking Fresh

Posted by David Whitehurst

Living in the south means that light and breathable fabrics fill our closets. In the summer months, linen becomes a staple. However, wrinkles cause many people to forego the fabric. Below, we're sharing a few at home tips and laundry service guidelines for keeping your linen dress clothes looking great all day long.

Become Well Acquainted with Your Iron

Wrinkles are a fact of life when you add linen to your wardrobe. While it's normal for your clothing to develop a few creases throughout the day, you can take precautions to help your dress clothes look smooth and streamlined. You'll need to iron your linen clothing before each wear to get the existing wrinkles out. Adding starch when ironing will help to prevent more wrinkles from forming during the day. 

When ironing linen shirts, start with the collar and sleeves and then work your way down. The same is true for linen pants. Start at the waistband and work down. The starch will help the fabric to keep its shape and maintain crisp lines.

Make Room for Hanging Linen in Your Closet

Because they are prone to wrinkling, linen items should never be stored in dresser drawers. Instead, make room to hang your linen clothing in the closet. Choose sturdy plastic hangers that will help the pieces maintain their shape. Linen items should be hung as soon after being laundered as possible to keep wrinkles at bay.

Embrace Your Look

While ironing and properly caring for your garments will help to keep them looking their best, there's no way to avoid all wrinkling. It's the nature of the fabric and an issue that you're better off embracing. Remember that linen offers a more relaxed look, even for dress clothes. When your clothing fits perfectly and is well cared for you'll always look your best, even with a few wrinkles at the end of the day.

Find a Great Laundry Service 

Some fabrics can easily be tossed into the washer and dryer on laundry day. Other fabrics, like linen, require a bit more care to maintain their appearance. To ensure that your clothing is perfectly cleaned and ready to be worn again and again, consider using a professional laundry service. Professionals have the skills and knowledge to handle each piece of clothing with care, ensuring that you'll enjoy your wardrobe for years to come. 

Does Dry Clean Only Really Mean Dry Clean Only?

Posted by David Whitehurst

at-the-drycleaner-1165747You've seen that label on clothing that says "Dry Clean Only." Does it really mean what it says? The answer is a qualified: yes.

For the most part, the instructions to "dry clean only" offer you sound advice for how to clean an article of clothing. You are just better off not guessing whether or not the garment will survive washing. Usually, if a label says "Dry Clean," that means you may also be able to wash it but that dry cleaning is recommended. At the very least, know that if you do choose not to dry clean an article of clothing labeled "Dry Clean Only," the garment should be treated with care: hand washed and dried flat. 

What Happens If You Don't 'Dry Clean Only'?

Some fine fabrics such as untreated silks, acetate, taffeta, wool and velvet absolutely do require dry cleaning. For instance, wool, if washed, is likely to shrink and change in texture. To prevent this, you must know exactly when to remove the wool garment from the dryer...while still damp. Silk might show tiny creases that are difficult to iron out if the garment is washed. Further, lined clothing such as jackets, skirts and slacks should always be dry cleaned only, as the lining may shrink and the garment will lose its proper shape.

Generally, cotton, linen, polyester, nylon, acrylic and cashmere can be washed, but you should always check to see if the garment is colorfast. Take a moistened cotton swab dabbed in mild detergent and apply it to a hidden seam to test the dye. If it comes off, the garment isn't colorfast and you should dry clean. 

Watch Out for the Details

Sometimes instructions for care are for the fabric rather than for trim, such as sewn-on or even glued beading or sequins. Even if the label doesn't say to do so, dry cleaning such garments is a good idea. Otherwise, the details may come off or, depending on what they're made of, might stain the fabric during washing. 

Reasons to Dry Clean Only

Even if you believe a garment that says "Dry Clean Only" can be washed, keep in mind that you will preserve the shape of the garment better by dry cleaning it. Dry cleaning will also extend the wearable life of the garment. Washing and putting a garment in the dryer could to wear it out sooner.

Be sure to connect with us for all your dry cleaning questions. 

Choosing the Right Dry Cleaner: What to Look For

Posted by David Whitehurst

drycleanNo matter what your style, your clothes make a statement. They are an investment in who you are and what you present to the world. That statement should say, "I'm confident and proud to be me." To help you look and feel your best, you should have a great dry cleaner in your 'back pocket' to keep your clothes looking spectacular.

I'm sure you're asking, "How do I find the best dry cleaners near me?"

There are several factors to look for in a dry cleaner. While you may think finding the lowest price should be the most important thing to influence your decision, you may be surprised. Here are some things to consider and ask when looking for the right people to care for your wardrobe investment.

What services does the cleaner offer? Yes, they all clean your clothes, but a great cleaner will offer more. Additional services to look for are: replacing missing or cracked buttons, repairing loose hems or seams, serious garment inspection, additional cleaning to 'high traffic' areas such as cuffs and collars, dry cleaning pick-up and delivery options and hours which work with your schedule.

How do they treat spots? There is more to removing spots than just a general cleaning. Ask the cleaner if they spot-treat and whether they consider what the stain is when removing it. Your dry cleaner needs to know that different stains require different cleaning methods. There is not one cleaning method that removes all stains. Spot treating and pre-treating stains ensure that your outfits will look as perfect as possible.

Do your clothes look bright and clean or dingy? Dry cleaning soaps and formulas need to be filtered and cleaned with every load. They get dirty. Some cleaners save money by using cleaning solutions much longer than they should without filtering and distilling the solutions.  Filters in the dry cleaning equipment should also be maintained and replaced regularly. Dirty filters and cleaning solution means your clothes may look dingy, especially the whites and brighter colors.

Do you get double creases or weird creases? Pressers, the people who work in the heat and steam of a dry cleaning plant, handle the finishing of your clothes. When they are not attentive to their work and where the inspectors don't do their job, double creases in your pants are not uncommon.

Similar poor finishing of your garments can occur when pads on pressing equipment are not replaced regularly. Worn out and broken pads on the presses should be replaced to avoid breakage to buttons or beads and unwanted creases that may appear. These steps are basic to every quality dry cleaner that focuses on doing the best work possible.

As the hunt for the best dry cleaners near you begins, keep the above items in mind. Be sure to do your research. Look at reviews on Yelp and Angie's List. Make sure the cleaner is credited. You and your wardrobe will find that a little bit of time, work and research will make a big difference in how you look and feel. Always put your best 'dressed and cleaned' foot forward.

How Does Fabric Restoration Work?

Posted by David Whitehurst

wetclothesTextile restoration is a specialized skill that mitigates damage done to garments, fabrics and soft goods that have been affected by loss, typically fire, smoke, flood, mold or mildew. Each individual’s needs are particular to the loss they suffer, but the process of restoration tends to follow a similar approach.

Once a detailed inventory has been taken of all items to be restored, each piece is placed into an appropriate category according to its damage and care label. Each item is then restored taking into consideration the type of fabric and what caused the damage.


All heavily smoke damaged items are “ozoned” to remove odors that will not come out with washing or dry cleaning and would otherwise remain embedded in the fibers. The ozone process is a slow and careful one because it takes time for the gases to pass through the fibers of the garments. Each item is then cleaned ensuring the best possible odor elimination.


Mold and mildew present a real problem if dampness is not treated immediately, so the sooner textile restoration can start on water-damaged items, the better. This is even more critical in areas with high temperatures and humidity Items are first air-dried, which may salvage any dry clean only pieces that have been subject to excessive moisture or water. Each item is then cleaned, either according to its care label or to industry standards. After cleaning and processing, items remaining with a smoky odor are placed in an ozone chamber.


Mold is a serious problem that can cause a variety of health issues, including allergic reactions. It’s also increasingly harder to remove as it grows and thrives. There are a lot of DIY instructions out there for dealing with mold, but the process is best left to an expert if you want to be assured of full restoration.

If you have a mold problem, keep in mind that mold spores may spread through the air and contaminate clothing even it not directly involved at the site of the mold contamination.

The textile restoration process typically starts by vacuuming each piece with a HEPA Vac. The vacuum does not remove all molds, but does eliminate the external superficial kind. To kill other molds and bacteria, additives are used in both the dry cleaning and washing processes, during which it is imperative the temperature reach a certain level. High temperatures must be used for mold elimination, so it’s possible that some fabrics that call for cold water wash may shrink or lose color. Items may be placed in an ozone chamber, if needed, for odor removal.

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