Champion Cleaners Dry Cleaning Blog - With Birmingham Area Happenings

How Do I Clean A Designer Dress That Says "Spot Clean Only?" This is the #1 question we are asked about all the time.

Posted by David Whitehurst

We received a question about a designer dress with a care label that says to "Spot Clean Only."  This is a common problem that consumers encounter, and not just on designer dresses.

Here is the question we received from Elaine:

"I purchased a lovely Adrianna Papell dress that can be neither laundered nor dry Adrianna Papell Dress that allows Spot Clean Only resized 600cleaned. It has a beaded decorative pin at the neck that would crumble I'm sure. Could you suggest what I might use to freshen it. Just needs something for under the arms (I wore it on a warm evening)."

Why Does The Care Label Specify "Spot Clean Only?"

Elaine probably had it right when she identified the beaded decorative pin.  Pins like this often prevent an otherwise dry cleanable dress from being cleaned (other than through Spot Cleaning).  Subjecting the dress to normal dry cleaning agitation can damage the pin and the pin can damage the dress.  Sometimes the pin can be removed and the dress otherwise cleaned with a normal dry cleaning process.

But sometimes, the dyes in the garment may not withstand a normal dry cleaning process with any dry cleaning formula available to the dry cleaning industry.  I'm not sure why any manufacturer would design a garment that cannot be dry cleaned or wet cleaned, but it happens often.

Ric Pevey, our General Manager at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama and a Certified Garment Care Specialist, gave Elaine our response.  This is an approach DIY Cleaning Solution for Spot Clean Only garments, especially for garments that aren't really dirty...when they just need a little freshening up:

If No Stain Is Present

If the fabric has no apparent stains, manipulate the fibers using a fabric sheet (such as Bounce).DIY Solution for Spot Clean Only Garments  This should help freshen the dress.  This method does not remove stains but it does help absorb the odor and will give you at least another opportunity to wear the dress again.

If Stain Is Present

If the dress has stains, test an inconspicuous area with water and woolite mix to see if the dye in the dress can retain it's color with this mix.  If successful, use the mix on the area needing freshening.  Then let the dress air dry.  Once dry, use the dryer sheet to manipulate the fabric needing freshening.

If you have a garment needing cleaning and the care label allows Spot Clean Only, take it to your professional dry cleaner and discuss the best way to clean the garment.  Many dry cleaners will not clean the garment without a waiver of liability.  But it the garment cannot be worn again without a proper cleaning, you don't have much at risk.

Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaning, DIY Cleaning Solutions, Spot Clean Only

Clothing Care - The Single Biggest Mistake

Posted by David Whitehurst

Well, I did it.  I own a dry cleaner and I made the single biggest mistake possible in clothing care.

I have a light weight white jacket for my morning walks with Champ.  When the temperatures dropped a couple of weeks ago, I pulled it out of the closet only to find a big yellow spot right on the front that looked a lot like mustard. On my white jacket!

I’m sure you know to always put your clothes away clean when the seasons change.  I didn’t do that soRic Pevey, Champion Cleaners Birmingham Alabama I was at the mercy of the fabric, the stain and the knowledge of my dry cleaner...who happens to be Ric Pevey (luckily Ric and our Plant Managers, Craig Ledwon at Greystone and Terry Hal at Calera, are “Certified Garment Care Professionals” and know all about spot removal, fabrics and cleaning techniques).  They can’t guarantee that they can get out every stain, but if anyone can, Ric, Craig and Terry can do it.

Fortunately for me, Ric removed the spot from my jacket without fading the color of the jacket in the area of the stain.

So the biggest mistake you can make in caring for your clothes is to not keep them clean.  And while this may sound a bit self-serving since I’m in the dry cleaning’s just the truth about clothing care. 

Here are my suggestions for protecting the investment in your clothes:

1. Clean your clothes soon after wearing them.  Don’t wait several weeks between visits to your laundry room or to Champion Cleaners.  And when the season changes, don’t put your clothes away dirty.  Stains have a better chance to set in and they won’t be ready to wear when the season changes again.

2. Clean your clothes often enough.  Trying to get an extra time wearing a dress shirt, your favorite blouse, or even those dress pants might seem like a frugal thing to do.  But food spills, perspiration and even deodorant can cause stains.  The sooner you tend to the problem, the better chance you have of not having to replace the garment early.

3. Don’t try to treat those spots yourself unless you really know what you’re doing.  Magic formulas of hairspray or Windex to remove ink on a dress shirt rarely work and most often compound the problem. If you find a spot, blot it off and let us help with it...right away.

We have a regular customer in Boston who ships any garment with a stain to Ric to handle.  Ric does his magic and ships it back...because Ric really knows what he’s doing!


Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaners, dry cleaning, stain removal

Clothing Care - Don't Put Them Away Wet

Posted by David Whitehurst

Whether you get caught out in the rain, perspire a lot in our heat and humidity, or decide to run through the sprinkler, it’s important to let your clothes dry before you put them away.  You might put your suit in the closet, your shirt in Champion Cleaners laundry bag or your sweaty work out clothes in the hamper.  Just be sure they are dry first.

We recently received a bag full of soiled clothes to be cleaned.  Inside were pants, a red sweater and a couple of white dress shirts.  One of the white dress shirts was wet and when we opened the bag, the red sweater had faded on the wet white shits.

We were able to get the fade out after a little soaking and special handling.  But if you have something wet to go in your laundry bag, let it dry out if possible.  If not, I suggest you place the wet item in a separate plastic bag and then put it in your Champion Cleaners laundry bag.


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Schedule your delivery service and get $10 off your first order in the Birmingham, Alabama area, including Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Hoover and neighboring areas.

Topics: dry cleaners, dry cleaning, Champion Cleaners

Be Photogenic with Proper Dry Cleaning and Garment Selection

Posted by Brandi Kane


It's inevitable that someone will at some point snap a picture of you. Sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised by the resulting photo, but more often than not, you will find it repulsive. While the world is sprinkled with folks who always seem to take a great picture, most of us struggle and often require multiple takes before finding a photo that is suitable to be seen.

Being Photogenic is not about being a beauty queen or king. It refers more to being able to highlight your attractive attributes in photos. Knowing what angles complement your face, knowing what you look like when you smile, and wearing the right outfit all play a part in the making of the perfect photo. Even when not under the scrutiny of a camera, knowing how to highlight your best attributes can be a huge benefit. As a Dry Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama, our forte is clothing of all kinds. Posing for pictures can be learned through trial and error, or by a professional photographer, but we can give you the rundown on clothes!

Selecting the right clothing can be difficult. Color and clothing style are two of the most important factors for a great photo.

stripes phixr 

Stay away from patterns that are overly busy. They can really distract from the main focus- you! It's best to also avoid stripes, vertical or horizontal.

Since we are three dimensional, placing our image in a two dimensional format is already going to give bizarre illusions. Any kind of stripe will only enhance that illusion. For example, horizontal stripes tend to make something appear wider while vertical stripes can give the illusion of elongation. You may think that is a good thing, and there are always exceptions to the rule, but you'll just have to see what works for you. For those of us who prefer to present ourselves with their natural attributes, vertical stripes can minimize the bust or elongate the torso leading to an undesired unproportional effect.

It's also best to avoid a single color, especially one that may match the background. This can make you appear bland and washed out. Get to know your skin tone and pick colors that complement you and your surroundings. Hair color can also play a part in selecting the best colors on you. Again, trial and error may be your best bet.

Digital cameras have difficulty properly displaying closely spaced stripes, small patterns, and the colors black, white, and red. Such bold colors can throw off the contrast making you appear strangely colored. Pay careful attention to the condition of your clothes. Worn or faded clothing can give the wrong impression. For photo-worthy clothes, be sure to always have them properly cared for by a Professional Dry Cleaners.

Style of clothing is an equally important factor to consider. Avoid trendy clothing that can date the photo. The last thing you'd want is someone looking at this picture in a few years from now gawking over your huge sleeves or pronounced shoulder pads like we do over photos from the 80's. Stick with simple, classic pieces.

Following our tips can ensure the best photo experience. Though we can't guarantee you'll come out looking like a movie star, paying careful attention to what you wear is a major step in creating a great picture. Take time to find what works for you; take time to ensure your clothes look their best by bringing them to us at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama.

Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: Birmingham Dry Cleaners, dry cleaners, dry cleaner, dry cleaning, Birmingham Dry Cleaner, Fashion Trends

Get Rid of Moths In Your Clothes and Closet - Cleaning Required!

Posted by David Whitehurst

A customer recently brought us three sweaters and each had one or two holes is them. What Moth Holes in Sweatercould have caused this problem?  We don’t have equipment here that punches holes in clothes so we sent one of the sweaters to a garment testing lab to learn why this happened.

The report said moths had caused the holes and if you look carefully at the photo to the right, you can see the holes and the uneven pattern made by moths eating the wool.

When moths lay their eggs, the larvae hatch and begin to hunt for food.  The larvae won’t touch cotton, silk or synthetics.  They prefer fabrics made from animals like wool, fur and feathers, especially when they are soiled by perspiration, pet hairs and food.  The larvae tend to stay away from well-cleaned clothes (yes, this is true!)

If you find that you have a moth problem, here is what you need to do:

1. Remove all clothes from the closet and launder or dry clean all of them.

2. Vacuum the closet thoroughly, getting into all of the corners and cracks.

3. Place moth repellent, cedar blocks, lavender or tansy inside the closet.  Moth balls can be used but should not contact the fabric.  Place moth balls from a hanger on the inside or garments bags because the fumes are typically heavier then air and tend to move to the bottom of the closet.  Follow safety instructions on repellents carefully.

4. Check for signs of moths regularly and replace the repellents when the odor fades.

5. Clean the inside of closets regularly to prevent the build up of dust and debris that might attract moths.

Most dry cleaners (including all three Birmingham area Champion Cleaners locations) have moth bags available for a small charge that can help with this.

Here is a link to for their view on getting rid of moths.


Lady in Rain Wearing Rain Coat resized 600

We Can Improve Improve the Water Repellency of Your Rain Coat, Sleeping Bag, Jacket or Hat.

Champion Cleaners in Vestavia Hills, Greystone on Highway 280 and in Calera, Alabama

Topics: dry cleaners, dry cleaning, moths

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