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Caring for Coats

Posted by David Whitehurst

Caring for Coats

Coat season has finally arrived so it’s time to pull them out, dust them off and stay warm. If your coat doesn’t look quite right, maybe you didn’t clean it after then end of last sea-son. We have a special to bring in your coats and get them back in shape for the Fall and Winter.

Here are some ways to keep you coats looking right:

  1. Keep them clean. Moisture can shorten the useful life of your coats. Never put them away wet. Allow them to air dry outside of your closet when they get wet from rain or snow. Wheter coats need dry cleaning or washing, don't frget to jeep them clean.
  2. girl in coat.jpegAllow coats room to breathe in the closet. A couple of inches on both sides should do the trick. Air circulation is important for the long-term usefulness of any garments, including coats.
  3. A coat that repels water helps keep dirt from finding the fabric and making a home. When you get a water repelling coat cleaned, apply a water repellent (or let us do this for you).
  4. Don’t leave your coat in your car just to be convenient when it turns cold. A coat left in a hot car, especially after getting wet and left crumpled on the back seat, can result in shrinkage, loss of shape and even a musty smell.
  5. Leather, suede and fur coats are a completely different deal. They require spe-cial methods of cleaning, conditioning and care after. Make especially sure you wipe down these coats when they get wet or after a spill. Annual cleaning and conditioning will make sure your leather and suede last for decades.

3 Tips for Prom Dress Preservation

Posted by David Whitehurst

Prom is one of the most magical nights of a young woman’s life. A prom dress isn’t just what she wears that night – it’s a symbol of her entire high school experience. Whether you’re interested in prom dress preservation so you can keep the dress fresh for years to come, or you simply want a younger sibling to be able to use it at her prom, these three great tips will ensure it’s in excellent shape.

1.         Start with dry cleaning

After the dress is worn, the first step in prom dress preservation is to have it professionally dry cleaned. Remember that not all stains are visible, and even those you can’t see with the naked eye could ultimately ruin the dress. The longer it is between the time the stain occurred and the time you have it dry cleaned, the more the stain can soak in and ruin your prom dress.

2.         Storage is important

Taking prom dress preservation seriously means not storing just anywhere. Store it in a cool, dry place. Storing it in a hot or humid place can discolor your dress or cause it to mold. Storing it in direct sunlight can also discolor your dress. Once you find the right spot, check on it every once in a while to make sure it’s in good shape and doesn’t need your attention.

If you store the dress in a closet, be careful with how it hangs.  Use the loops inside the dress to take some weight off the straps. You should use padded hangers if the dress has straps.  And be careful how you pin a strapless dress to the hanger. Otherwise, the seams may stretch over time. If you plan to store the dress in a closet, get a muslin garment bag to protest it from light, kids and pets.

If you plan to keep the prom dress for years to come, the best way is to store it in a completely acid-free preservation chest.  These are museum-quality boxes that certified wedding gown specialists can provide.  They allow the dress to breathe, protect the dress while storing and require less space in your closet.  But be sure to not stack pillows, blankets or other items on top or or shoved up against the preservation chest because they will not allow air to reach the dress inside the chest.

3.         Fold it and stuff it carefully

Stuff the bodice and any curved areas of the dress with acid-free tissue paper to keep these areas from getting creased over time. Then fold the dress carefully and wrap it up with the same tissue paper described above. Be sure to use acid-free white tissue paper to avoid any color transferring to the dress.

These three tips are the best prom dress preservation tips we’ve addressed in our wedding gown preservation business and are the same as we give Brides after their wedding. When you follow them closely you can count on your dress staying fresh and ready to wear for years to come!

Dealing with Missing Buttons: What to Do When Your Shirts Come Back Without Buttons

Posted by David Whitehurst

buttonsDress shirts sent for professional cleaning are typically water-washed with soap, starched, and then pressed on a 3-part (collar/cuffs, sleeves and body) shirt steam/pressing machine. Shirt buttons can break while cleaning, when pressing, or just when trying to button your dress shirt.  While not a catastrophic event, it can be bothersome if you happen to be on a business trip and your important meeting is in an hour.

So, what to do? Here are a few things you can try both before and after your button’s gone missing at the cleaners.

  • There’s a possibility the button was missing before you dropped your shirts and blouses off at the dry cleaner. Take a quick look at your garments before leaving them at the cleaners and point this out to the attendant when dropping the off.  If you can't remember to do this, place a safety pin where the button belongs and that should get the dry cleaner's attention.
  • Top-notch dry cleaning services (including Champion Cleaners here in the Birmingham, Alabama area) will make the time to check for missing buttons before and after the dry cleaning process is completed, so only take your clothing to a reputable location. Though even the best service will occasionally miss one, you should use someone who makes the effort and replaces the missing buttons before returning the garment to you.
  • You can request that your cotton and cotton-blend shirts and blouses be dry cleaned rather than laundered. This leaves a softer feel on your shirts and blouses and is especially appropriate for delicate items. Shirt creases are not as sharp.  Expect to pay more for this option, as it requires more labor.
  • It’s possible the buttons come off because the thread is loose. Try sewing your buttons back on with professional grade thread or even dental floss, which is incredibly strong.  But make sure the thread color used is the same as for the rest of the buttons.

As for that button you need replaced for the meeting? Check the inside of the garment to make sure there isn’t a spare, usually on a side seam near the bottom of the shirt. Use your travel sewing kit or ask for one at the front desk. Those little kits usually include one or two buttons that will do in a pinch, and most people will not notice your buttons don’t match. You can also try taking a button from the part of the shirt that gets tucked in and move it to the visible location.

A good dry cleaning service will often replace your shirt buttons free of charge as part of their services. Some dry cleaners will even give you a discount on future dry cleaning services if you have to return for button replacement. Don’t be afraid to ask – reputable dry cleaners want to earn your trust and keep your business.

Why Dry Cleaning is Essential for Suits and Dress Clothes

Posted by David Whitehurst

800px-Dry_clean_rackKeeping your suits and dress clothes looking their best helps you look your best!  And the services of experienced professional dry cleaners really are the way to go.  Here’s why you shouldn’t skimp when it comes to your best clothes. 

Special clothes require special handling

Suits and dress clothes are usually made differently than your other clothes.  Specialty fabrics or trims, delicate lace, beadwork, sequins or decorative stitching all need to be handled with care or the garment can be ruined.  Certain types of buttons, buckles and decorative accents may need to be removed before cleaning.  Often the instructions are more complicated than simply “Dry Clean Only,” so finding a dry cleaner that can do it correctly is a must. 

There are many things that cause our clothing to become dirty.  Dust, dirt, air pollution and other minuscule particles can act like sandpaper against the fibers of your clothing, causing premature wear.  Delicate fabrics like silk and rayon are often easily damaged.  Taking your garments to the dry cleaners as soon as possible can help extend their life. This is not just a self-serving statement made by a dry cleaner to get more business. It is a fact of garment care that keeping your clothes clean will protect your investment.

Stains and odors

Dress clothes are often exposed to things like make-up, cologne, or food and drink.  All can create stains.  Additionally, strong odors like cigarette smoke or perspiration can leave your best clothes smelling unpleasant.  Dirt, spots, and odors that aren't dealt with properly and quickly can become permanent.  And attempting DIY stain removal on a garment that isn’t machine washable can be a disaster!  Take it to the dry cleaners immediately. 

Pressing services

No one wants to show up to work or a big event with a suit that looks like it was slept in!  After your garment has been professionally cleaned it will be pressed to make sure it looks great.  If you've ever thought of attempting this yourself, you may know suits can be difficult to press and easy to ruin with a regular iron.  And if you happen to need an extended waist size or extra-long jacket, it can be a downright cumbersome job.  Professional dry cleaners have the equipment and expertise necessary to make the finish of your garment look spectacular.  It will be neat and crisp and you won’t risk scorching your best suit. But don't have clothes pressed that have spills or stains as the heat will likely make the stain more difficult to remove, even by skilled, professional dry cleaners.

Most people put a lot of care into choosing their wardrobe.  High quality dress clothes can be expensive and it’s a good idea to protect your investment.  

5 Steps to Properly Caring For Your Dress Shirts

Posted by David Whitehurst

There’s no question that the best way to keep your dress shirts looking as clean and sharp as the day you bought them is to take them to your local dry cleaners to launder them. However, there may be times that you want to quickly wash them at home between cleanings. Here are the five steps that will help you when cleaning dress shirts yourself.

1.            Unbutton the shirt completely

First and foremost, make sure you unbutton everything – that includes all buttons, collars, and placket. This will ensure that your shirt is not damaged as it is washed.

2.            Pretreat any stains

If you’re washing your shirts because they’re stained, make sure you give said stains a little extra attention with detergent or use a stain removal pen.

3.            Stick to the delicate cycle in most cases

If your dress shirt is lightweight or fine, then use the delicate cycle. If it’s very dirty, or it’s made of heavy fabric, then you can use the regular cycle. Stick to hot water for cold shirts and cold water for dark shirts. Never mix colors in the same load.

4.            Promptly remove your shirts from the dryer

Once they’re pretreated you need to wash and spin dry them, and then remove them right away so any wrinkles don’t get worse. Hang them up or lay them out to air dry.

5.            Iron your shirts while they’re still damp

One of the key parts of ensuring your shirts look as close to possible as though they’ve been to the dry clean pros is to iron them. Don’t wait for them to completely air dry – do it while they’re still damp. If you can't let then air dry and you need to iron it right away, use your dryer on low heat. Just be sure not to over-dry the shirt – this will make wrinkles even harder to remove.

These five tips are a great start for cleaning dress shirts, but remember that the only way to make sure your shirts look like they’ve been to a dry clean professional is to take them there! 

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