Dry Cleaning

When Does Your Suit Need To Be Dry Cleaned?

Suits are often the most expensive piece of clothing a person owns. It’s also something businessmen and women wear frequently, requiring attention and care to keep it fresh and clean. It’s important to keep suits looking and smelling clean, but it may not require dry cleaning all the time.

Dry cleaning too frequently can wear down the fibers of the suit so make sure you clean only when necessary. Learn the best ways to care for your suit jacket and pants and recognize when it is time to take it to the cleaning professionals.

Daily Care For Your Suit

There are things you can do to keep your suit clean enough between dry cleanings.

  • Brush the suit after wearing it to remove dust, dirt and hair (shaking it out works, too).
  • Hang it up and keep away from dirt, dust and food (this should be somewhat obvious).
  • Spot clean it with water (or another solvent) if food or liquid spills onto the suit (but then get it cleaned if you can).
  • Air it out between uses to remove light wrinkles or odors.

It’s Time for the Dry Cleaners

When any of the above options aren’t enough, it’s time to take it to the cleaners. Everyone wears their suits differently and for different jobs or occasions, so there’s no set time or schedule for cleaning a suit. However, if there are spots, smells or other signs of dirt, get it dry cleaned.

When there is a stain, treat it quickly and get it to the dry cleaners as soon as possible. Learn more about stain removal in our previous post (link to earlier blog).

If you’re worried about getting to the cleaners or finding time to pick it up, rely on DriveCleaning.com to pickup and deliver your freshly dry cleaned suits.

Stain Removal Tips

Clothing Stain Removal Tips

As if cleaning and caring for clothing isn’t hard enough, occasionally you’ll experience a mishap that results in a stain. It’s important to understand the type of stain and the material it’s threatening in order to safely remove it and avoid permanent damage to the clothing.

Prevent Setting

For any type of stain on any clothing, you must act quickly. As soon as the spill occurs, remove the offending substance from the material with water. Depending on the stain and material, there are other solvents you can use to treat the stain before washing or dry cleaning. Water is universal, though be sure to use cold or lukewarm water, especially on wool. Never use hot water or salt on wool. For silk, rinse the whole article after you remove the stain to prevent water spotting.

Do not apply pressure to stains. When you rinse or apply different solvents, dab or pat the material with a white cloth. Allow the solvent time to soak in on its own. If you scrub, you’ll work the stain further into the fabric, permanently damaging the clothing.

Avoid heat until the clothing is completely clean. If you attempt to wash in the machine but the stain is still visible, do not put it in the dryer or iron it.

Dirt and Coffee

For most dirt or grass stains, vinegar or lemon juice is effective. It also removes coffee and tea or tape and glue residue. Once you’ve treated the stain, wash cotton or polyester in cold with detergent. For other synthetic fabrics, take it to the dry cleaners to finish treatment and cleaning. Remember: never use hot water or acids on wool.

Blood and Wine

Salt is very effective for blood and sweat stains. It also works for spilled red wine. Plus, it’s relatively cheap and you likely have some on hand when a spill occurs. Sprinkle salt on a wetted stain to give it something to soak into. Dab or pat the stain; never scrub.

Grease

Often times a harsher dish detergent will break down tough greases or sauces. If you’re not seeing results, mineral spirits also work, but not on delicate fabrics. Wash the clothing thoroughly after treatment or take it to the dry cleaners for expert care.

When it doubt, seek professional cleaning services. Once you’ve rinsed with water, find a dry cleaner and leave it to the pros. Do not risk ruining your clothes because you’re unsure or don’t have the right products on hand.

10 Tips for Storing Clothes

Proper long term clothing storage can be a tricky task for many people. Whether in the process of moving or facing the challenge of very little room for storing clothes, there are ways to keep your stuff clean, moth-free and organized.

Here are 10 tips to help protect your clothes from damage while in storage and hacks to keeping your closet organized.

How to Store Clothing

How to Store Clothing

1. Wash everything first

Dry clean or wash everything before storage. This is probably obvious, but you don’t want your clothes getting smelly in storage. More importantly, it’ll remove or insect eggs that may already be on the clothing. Any stains or dirt can do more damage while in storage. Avoid starching clothes before storing and empty your pockets. You might find cash or candy so why wait until next season?

2. Hang it or fold it?

Fold sweaters, shirts and pants (neatly) to reduce pulling and wrinkling. Hang heavier garments like winter coats. Wire hangers are bad for storage and may stretch the clothing and ruin the shape. Trust us on this. Now, hang these items in cotton or heavy-duty vinyl garment bags. For sweaters and folded clothing, enclose in a sweater or blanket bag. For easy storing and moving, put the folded items inside a plastic storage bin (not cardboard).

3. Storage materials & location

There are a number of ways to store items, depending on the space available. Sweater boxes, under-the-bed storage bins and hanging garment bags are great if you have room inside your home or apartment. This is also useful if you need to access the items more frequently.

No matter where you store clothing, it should be cool, dry and well, as in, not a hot attic or damp basement. Any sunlight or humidity can stain or fade clothing. If you’re fancy enough to have leather, suede or fur, use a breathable bag. Avoid cardboard boxes for any type of clothing because the glues and dyes can ruin them.

4. Make it moth-free

Mothballs prevent moths from eating stored clothing, which is important. When using mothballs, do not put them directly on the clothing and use only in sealed containers. The chemical used to repel moths can be hazardous to humans so wash all clothing that is stored with mothballs. We realize that’s redundant since you washed them before storing, but it’s for your own good.

For a less toxic and better smelling option, try cedar blocks, shavings or oil. Again, store in sealed container to deter bugs and protect clothing.

5. Plan ahead

Be sure that the clothing you want to use for the next season is available when you want them. Store clothing according to what you’ll want first and then give yourself time to wash the items after retrieving them. Don’t wait until the bitter cold to dig out your sweaters. Beat the dry cleaning rush as the weather cools and be prepared. Likewise, if you’ve stored your summer clothes but are taking a midwinter trip to the tropics, keep a few items under your bed or in the back of your closet instead of sending them all to the storage unit.

Organize Your Closet Year Round

6. Store seasonally

If you’re tight on space, store your seasonal items somewhere other than your closet. You will not need your down parka in July (we hope) so dry clean it and pack it away once the weather is consistently warm. This will free up closet space for new summer dresses (you’re welcome). In the same way, pack up your bathing suits and sandals when you dig out your sweaters and boots. You don’t want to deal with a cluttered closet; it only makes getting ready in the morning a bigger hassle than it already is.

7. Accessory hangers

If you’ve got tons of scarves, purses or necklaces, consider getting hangers to de-clutter your space and make them easily accessible. You’ll feel better when they’re organized and find what you want faster. Again, store items seasonably if appropriate. Put away wool or knit scarves during the summer and likewise for pastel or paisley scarves in the winter.

8. In-closet storage

Try using storage boxes and shelves within your closet. Building shelves along the bottom for shoes and boots will make the floor less cluttered. Small baskets or bins are great for socks, gloves, and hair accessories. A linen closet can also benefit from a few storage bins. Sort and store sheets by size and/or season instead of piling them all on the shelves together.

9. Door-mounted shoe or scarf rack

There are many ways to use the back of your closet or bedroom door for additional storage. Mount hooks for scarves and belts or get a shoe rack for sandals and flats. This will free up floor space in your closet for bins or boxes if necessary.

10. Purge frequently

Most importantly, don’t keep stuff you don’t need. Purge your closet of clothing that doesn’t fit or you no longer wear. Keep only what’s appropriate for the season. Donate what you don’t like anymore and feel good about yourself for a few days.

Dry Cleaning Benefits

Benefits of Professional Dry Cleaning

While it may not be necessary to dry clean all of your clothing all the time, as discussed previously on the blog, there are several benefits to getting professional care for your clothes.

Delicate Items & Tough Stains

Even if you have a great washing machine and lots of time on your hands, you still may not know the best methods or have the right tools to care for all types of fabrics. Professional dry cleaners are trained experts on stain removal, and offer expertise in handling delicate materials.  Silk and wool items should always be brought to a professional dry cleaner so they do not shrink and the color does not bleed.

Many other materials like rayon, linen, velvet, and some cotton blends are also best cared for with dry cleaning, even if the care label allows for washing.

Likewise, stains and odors can be tough to tackle.  For items that are safely washed at home, inspect the item after washing – if the stain has not been removed, do not dry it!  You’ll likely set in the stain with the heat of the drying cycle and make that stain permanent.  Instead, hang these items to dry, and take them to the dry cleaners that you haven’t been able to successfully clean at home. Otherwise, you run the risk of permanently damaging the item. If a stain looks particularly tough, or has sat in the fabric for a long time, it’s best not to attempt cleaning it at home.

Leather and Suede Cleaning

Leather and suede cleaning is a service that is offered by most professional dry cleaners.  Typically, your local dry cleaner will not clean the leather and suede items in-house, and will send your leather and suede items out to a cleaner who specializes in leather and suede cleaning.  These cleaners use specialized techniques to clean the leather and suede properly.

Restoration & Preservation

Even with top-of-the-line appliances, there are still some things a dry cleaning professional can do better. When it’s time to clean larger items like rugs or drapes, a professional is the right person for the job. Restoring priceless garments and preserving wedding gowns are also best handled by an expert.

Convenience

Last but not least, dry cleaning saves time. When an item is dry cleaned, it is crisp, wrinkle-free and ready to wear. Don’t waste time ironing, folding and fighting the ever-growing pile of laundry when you have better things to do. Leave it to the experts and feel good knowing your clothing is in the right hands.

From expertise to preservation, there are many benefits to getting your clothes dry cleaned professionally rather than risking damaging these items at home. Drive Cleaning also adds the benefit of convenience by offering to pick-up and drop off your dry cleaning items.

5 overlooked household items and how to clean them

We regularly clean our bathrooms, clothes, and dishes but dirt can still find its way into other areas of our home. Did you know mattresses and comforters can double in weight from dust, mold, bacteria, allergens, and dead skin that accumulate when we sleep on them? After reading this, you might be totally grossed out by what you’re not cleaning in your home. Don’t worry; we’ll also offer ways to clean them regularly.

Mattress

Unfortunately, you can’t just take your mattress to the laundromat or dry-cleaners and expect it to fit (you’ve seen the Febreze commercials). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or can’t, clean it regularly to remove germs and dust. Though it may not be appealing, it is possible to clean stains from the mattress with a little elbow grease.

First, vacuum your mattress. This removes a lot of dust and dirt that can keep you from getting sick and protects it from future stains should any liquid be spilled on the mattress.

Upholstery cleaner and a sponge or cloth work for spot cleaning. For most stains, you can try an enzyme cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Often times even a citrus spray or mild dish detergent will work. For odors, try disinfectant and odor sprays to start.

You can also use a mattress pad to serve as an additional layer of protection between you and the mattress. It will absorb moisture and other dirt and can be easily thrown in the washing machine with bedding. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to clean your mattress, but it will make it easier to clean.

Comforter or bedspread

Just as the case with mattresses, it’s easy to forget your comforter gets as dirty as your sheets. In some cases, you can throw a comforter or duvet in the washing machine, according to the directions on the tag. Treat stains and problem areas with a pre-wash before washing.

However, it may be worth taking your bedspread to the dry cleaners. Most washing machines aren’t large enough to accommodate a comforter and you don’t want it to overflow or vibrate loudly when the load becomes uneven. Drying at home is tricky, too, because you’d want to hang it on a clothesline and no one has the room for that.

If it’s made of wool or you have concerns about the color bleeding, do not attempt to clean at home. Dry clean it every time.

In between washings, you can vacuum or air out blankets on a clothesline to remove dust and keep them fresh.

Shower Curtain

Shower curtains can generally be taken care of with a little all-purpose cleaner, but don’t hesitate to throw it in the washing machine every once in a while. Just use the gentle cycle and wash in cold water. Hang it up to dry, but don’t return it to the shower until it’s fully dry or you’ll just get it moldy again.

Rugs

Of course rugs and carpets can be vacuumed regularly but stains do happen occasionally. Instead of rearranging the furniture to cover them up (we know that’s tempting), tackle the stain with some shaving cream. With an old shaving brush or clean paintbrush, work the shaving cream into the stained area. Then, use a damp rag to wipe away the cream and stain. Blot dry with a fresh cloth, preferably a white one, so the color doesn’t transfer into a new stain.

Dry cleaning is also a great idea for small or area rugs that are hard to clean or have a lasting odor. It’s so much easier, too.

Pillows

Fluffing a pillow isn’t just for looks; this removes most dirt and dust, keeping the pillow light and clean. Many times, pillows can be thrown into the wash for a gentle cycle. Foam or polyester pillows can be hand washed, but never put the foam pillows in the dryer. Hang these to dry, rotating regularly.

For decorative and throw pillows, spot clean with mild soap or read the directions for hand washing in cold water. No matter the type or use of pillow, be sure to check for stains, tears and holes before washing.

As you can see, there are ways to clean many of these things yourself, but why waste the time and cleaning products when you DriveCleaning.com will pick up and drop off your freshly cleaned pillows, rugs and comforters?

What should or shouldn’t be dry cleaned?

Sometimes it feels as if dry cleaners and clothing manufacturers are in cahoots. You’ve just bought a gorgeous new outfit, maybe even on sale! However, once you’re home and take a look at the tag, it says “Dry Clean Only”. What? That’s so much work! Does it really need to be dry cleaned?

what should and shouldn’t be dry cleaned
Instead of relying on the washing instructions take a look at the fabric
Instead of relying solely on the washing instructions, take a look at the fabric the item is made from. The type of fabric matters a lot more than what the manufacturer may suggest. In some cases, the quality of your washing machine and your hand washing skills make a difference, too.

Fabrics that don’t need dry cleaning

  • More often than not, cotton does not need to be dry cleaned. However, you’ll want to machine wash cold or warm with similar colors. Most cotton clothing has been preshrunk, too, so drying in a machine is safe.
  • Synthetic fabrics. These include polyester, nylon, spandex, acrylic and acetate. These won’t shrink, so it’s safe to wash in warm water. However, go gentle or low on drying because they can permanently wrinkle in a hot dryer. They also produce a lot of static in the dryer so use a dryer sheet or hang dry.

Fabrics that should be dry cleaned

  • With linen, you have a few options. You can hand wash in cold and air dry but it often requires ironing. Linen is made from flax fibers and is known for being cool and fresh in hot weather. If washed incorrectly, it can lose its crispness and clean finishing. Dry cleaning is often best for linen clothing.
  • Rayon is a tricky fabric because it’s considered semisynthetic. It is made from purified cellulose fiber. Dyes may bleed when washed and rayon can shrink or lose its shape when washed in warm water. Hand washing in cold water with mild detergent is an option, but it is generally safer to dry clean this fabric.
  • Silk is a natural material and thus is durable. Known to be a more luxurious fabric, it takes proper care to keep it soft and, yes, silky. The dyes in silk tend to bleed and that is why it should be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water. You should also use a mild-detergent. Dry cleaning silk tends to be easier at this point, especially if it’s an article of clothing you really care about.
  • Wool is a sturdy fabric and should be dry cleaned whenever possible. When it’s not possible, hand wash in cold because it will shrink in any warm or hot water. It’s a durable fabric and will last a long time when cared for properly.

When it depends

As mentioned above, many nature fabrics can be hand washed and then air dried. However, this takes time and talent and you still run the risk of harming your clothes. If you’re particularly attached to certain articles or use them for work or dressy occasions, go ahead and dry clean. In some cases, items may be for household only like linen napkins, bed sheets or an apron. You may still prefer to use a dry cleaner but you can likely get away with hand washing them yourself.

If you have a really old washing machine, or rely on a laundromat to wash your clothes, opt to dry clean more often. You wouldn’t want a nice shirt or dress ruined because the machine is faulty.

Dry cleaning doesn’t have to be a lot of work

Lastly, dry cleaning does not have to be a lot of work. Professional cleaning will certainly save you from having to replace quality items in your wardrobe. Plan a certain time of the week or month that you can send off all necessary items to be cleaned. This will save you time and money when you’re not rushing off last minute to get a shirt cleaned for the next day. Don’t have time to make it to the cleaners yourself? No problem. DriveCleaning.com offers free dry cleaning pick-up and delivery right to your home!