Holiday Cleaning Emergencies

Great holiday food and drinks are often accompanied by a few spills. Not to worry though, this handy stain removal guide will walk you through some of the most common dinner stains you may have encountered this holiday season.

  • 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 & Coffee Stains: 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.
  • Salad Oil: This is the worst because it 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 us 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.

And if those stains have you stumped, we're happy to take care of them for you so you won't have to deal with them. We remove stains like these every day.

Winter Garment Storage

It’s that time of year again — Fall. It is a time of change in both the seasons as well as a change of habits. With each new season we find ourselves with the desire to do things just a little bit better. We set goals, like, “I am going to do laundry three times per week,” or, “this fall I will be sure to put my summer cloths away cleaner so they last longer.”

Every penny counts these days, so making your favorite cloths last longer is a priceless commodity. Caring for those favorite clothes professionally can keep them looking their best for years.  Dry cleaning not only cleans your clothes, it restores them so they look new and fresh, even after being in a closet over the winter months.

 

Follow these seven steps via About Home for winter garment storage tips.

 

Clean all outfits thoroughly before packing.

Now is the best time to remove stains.  Any stains left on clothing will only darken and become worse during storage. Cleaning the clothes also means that insects will be less likely to take up residence in your sweaters. Most clothing just needs to be washed normally or dry cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Taking a little time to thoroughly wash laundry before you pack it will keep your clothes safe during storage.

 

Use the right storage.

Plastic storage containers can be used for storing clothes, although if any bug larvae are in the clothing, they will have a feast. Cardboard boxes can be used for temporary storage. Make sure you use new clean boxes to avoid staining and insects. Even then be aware that cardboard boxes can attract bugs. One of the best storage containers is an unused suitcase that has been thoroughly cleaned.

 

Line containers with acid free tissue. It may be possible to pack the clothes in plastic storage containers although trapped moisture can be an issue depending on the storage conditions.

 

Be careful with the use of mothballs.

Many children and pets are naturally attracted to them with deadly results. Another option would be cedar blocks or cedar lined storage. Mothballs and cedar can be effective against insects, but keep in mind that neither is a complete guarantee. Just like with other cleaning products, storage chemicals should be used with care and according to directions.

 

Don’t hang everything.

Although it may be tempting, do not hang sweaters or other knit items that can become misshapen by long term hanging. Many a good sweater has been stretched beyond repair. Instead carefully fold the items and place into the storage container. Stack your folded items from the lightest items on top to the heaviest items on bottom. Stacking items loosely will allow air to keep circulating, even during a long storage.

 

If you hang items, use caution.

If you do choose to hang items, utilize all of the extra hanging loops to keep the clothing from becoming misshapen. Wrap the clothing in something breathable (i.e. fabric). Make sure the clothing has enough room to have air circulate. This will keep down the risk of mildew and mold. It will also keep the clothing from wrinkling and creasing during storage. I do not recommend storing clothes in plastic bags. The bags do not allow the clothes to breathe enough.

 

Remember Clean, Cool, Dark, and Dry.

Your storage area must be all 4 of these in order to protect your clothing. Clean any area thoroughly before storing. Choose a place that is not likely to be exposed to heat. Avoid areas near heating sources. A dark place will prevent fading and keep the area and clothing cool. Make sure the storage area is dry because wetness will attract mildew and insects.

 

Check on your storage.

Don’t abandon your stored clothing into oblivion. Regularly check on items to make sure that there are no issues. When you are ready to pull clothing out of storage, clean all items before wearing them. Inspect your storage containers to make sure that they are free from cracks, stains, or damage as well. Before you store items again, some storage containers may need to be replaced. Be sure to buy storage containers that will work well with your storage.

Sweater Care

The care label on a sweater indicates it is hand washable. Can I wash it in a machine on a delicate cycle?

There is some risk involved in using any care process not recommended by the manufacturer. Hand washing involves manual removal of soils with water, detergent, and a gentle squeezing action. A care label that calls for machine washing, in a delicate or gentle cycle, indicates the soil can be removed with water, detergent or soap, slow agitation, and reduced time in a washing machine.

 

Hand washing is a restrictive care process that minimizes the amount of abrasion a garment receives in cleaning. If hand-washable garments are machine washed in a gentle cycle, agitation may be further minimized by putting the item in a net bag. Even this procedure is in violation of the care label instruction, however, and places responsibility for damages on the launderer rather than the manufacturer.

 

Deodorant Residue

How do you remove deodorant and antiperspirant residue?

Many people do not realize that prolonged contact with deodorants and antiperspirants may cause permanent damage. Combined with the effects of perspiration, the damage can be extensive. The most frequent damage is caused by overuse of these products, or infrequent cleanings. This leads to the buildup of a stiff, caked-up residue or to fabric damage.

 

To prevent chemical damage, do not overuse the product and allow it to dry before dressing. Wear dress shield with silk garments.

 

To remove the residue on washable garments, wash as soon as possible after wear in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Soaking in a detergent containing enzymes or an enzyme presoak may be necessary. If the stain remains, try using three percent hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach, according to fiber type or care label instructions. Before using, test for colorfastness.

 

 

Ink Stains

Should I use hairspray to remove a ballpoint ink stain?

Hairspray and water can remove ballpoint ink, but you may be trading one problem for another. That’s because hairspray could contain alcohol and oils such as resins and lanolin. The alcohol in the hairspray can cause color damage especially on silk; likewise, oils and other ingredients could lead to additional stains.

Rayon Care

How should I clean my rayon garments?

Rayon is a manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose derived from wood pulp or cotton linters. It is absorbent and comfortable to wear. There are different forms of the fiber know as rayon, viscose, cuprammonium, high-wet modulus and lyocel sold as Tencel™.

 

With the exception of lyocel, rayon is very sensitive to water. Many dyes applied to rayon are not colorfast and will bleed or migrate upon contact with moisture. In addition, manufacturers often add sizing to rayon in order to achieve a desired body or drape. Some sizings are water-soluble, and washing will distort the shape of the garment. drycleaning is recommended for most rayon garments. Although substantially similar in chemical composition to rayon, lyocel can be either drycleaned or washed. However, when caring for garments made of lyocel it is important to follow the care instructions carefully. If a garment made of lyocel is washed when should have been drycleaned, it may result in excessive shrinkage and a wrinkled appearance.

 

Drycleaning and Garment Lifespan

Does frequent drycleaning shorten the life of a garment?

On the contrary, frequent cleaning prolongs the life of a garment. Not only do stains set with age, making the garment unwearable, but ground-in dirt and soil act as an abrasive, like sandpaper, causing rapid wear of fibers. Also, insects are attracted to soiled clothes and will cause further damage.

Salt Stain Care

Salt is an abrasive substance. It is important to promptly care for salt-stained garments.  Left untreated, salt stains can damage clothing by fading, leaving rings and leaving permanent stains.  Here are a few tips for dealing with salt stains:

 

Wool or other fabrics

Wet the stained area with a small amount of warm water to break up the stains.  Blot, but don’t rub the area to dry it.  Bring it to your local All Seasons Cleaners location as soon as possible and be sure to point out the stain to us.  Don’t leave the garment near a heater or put it in the dryer.  Heat will set the stain.

 

Leather

Wipe off all salt with a damp, clean cloth as soon as possible, then blot dry. Stubborn stains should be brought to your local All Seasons Cleaners location.  Be sure to point out any stains to our customer service staff when you bring the clothes in.

Road salt makes driving and walking in winter much easier, but the damage it can do to clothes is devastating.  Bring your salt-stained clothes to us and we’ll give them the gentle care they deserve.

Down Pillows and Comforters

Pillows and comforters are delicate fabrics and essential items to keep you warm and comfortable.  With proper care, your down comforter and pillow will give you years of comfort. Here are some helpful tips for keeping those special fabrics longer:

 

Comforter Cleaning
Hand wash or machine wash your down comforter separately, in a large tumble washer. Use warm water and mild detergent on delicate. Never bleach your comforter. Make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed before drying. It may be worth running your comforter though the rinse cycle twice to make sure all detergent is removed. Once its ready for drying, place it in the dryer on a low setting. We also recommend using a dryer ball to help break up the clumps and fluff the comforter as it dries. A sock covered tennis ball also works well as a dryer ball. You may need to gently steam the fabric shell of your comforter to remove stubborn wrinkles but never iron.

NOTE: Not all washers, dryers, or comforters are the same.  Make sure to read the label carefully and consult the professionals at your neighborhood All Seasons Cleaners before washing yourself.

 

Pillow Cleaning
Dry clean only. Bring your down and feather pillows to your neighborhood All Seasons Cleaners. Do not machine wash or dry clean in a do-it-yourself cleaner.

 

Wool Care

Some of the coldest months of the year are upon us. We all have those essential garments we depend upon to keep us warm, cozy and happy, and often they are made off wool. Our favorite wool garments can often be expensive.  They are worth caring for so they stay fitting, smelling and looking like new.  When they look good, we feel our best when we wear them.

 

To Wash or Not to Wash

Washing wool garments in your home washer can be a little risky – the fibers of the wool can sometimes tighten and cause your favorite garment to look like something you wore to your first day of school. Hand washing on occasion is a great practice, and can take care of small spots and spills, but life can sometimes send more challenges our way. Spending time in the kitchen or playing with the kids outside can sometimes lead to lingering cooking or other undesirable odors and stains. Regular dry cleaning can take care of any of those undesirables that enjoying life may bring.

 

Really, one of the best things we can do is follow the care instructions on the the tag of the garment. When those favorite sweaters fit well and smell good we feel great – and with proper care they will last a lifetime.

 

The Fantastic Four in the Laundry Room

Baking Soda

Baking soda is harmless to the environment and has mild alkali qualities that help it dissolve grease and dirt. Baking soda can be especially helpful in areas served by hard water: Adding baking soda to a washing machine’s rinse cycle will result in clothes that are better rinsed, softer and more stain resistant.  Add 1/2 cup baking soda to top-loading machines or 1/4 cup for front-loading machines along with the usual amount of detergent to give the detergent a boost. Baking soda can help increase bleach’s whitening power so much that you’ll be able to use less bleach.

 

Vinegar

Like baking soda, vinegar can serve a lot of different purposes in the laundry room. When using vinegar in the laundry, use distilled white vinegar, which generally can be found in gallon jugs near the baking or laundry aisles in the grocery store.  A mixture of half water and half vinegar makes a good stain pretreatment.  Spray a little onto the stain a few minutes before washing and then wash as usual.

Vinegarcan also add a kick to regular laundry detergents. To soften a standard load of wash, add 1/2 cup vinegar during your machine’s last rinse cycle. In addition to softening, vinegar added at this time will help reduce lint buildup, and it tends to help pet owners with hair buildup on their fabrics.

 

Salt

Salt can also be a good stain remover, especially when the stain is still fresh. Salt can also help maintain and restore bright colors, reduce yellowing, and eliminate mildew in fabrics.

 

Lemon Juice

But among the Fantastic Four, lemon juice really takes the leading role for laundry tasks. Add 1/2 cup of it to a regular load of laundry during the wash cycle, and it will make the whole load smell fresher. Add it to a load of whites, and the whites become whiter. Combine lemon juice with cream of tartar and you have a very powerful stain remover.

 

 

Rust Removal

If you’re like many of us (especially many of us with children), perhaps you’ve found a few things that were left out in the rain and snow when they shouldn’t have been. Not to worry — you can clean off any lightly rusted items in an earth-friendly way by using some of the items in our Fantastic Four cleaning kit (baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and salt).

 

General cleaning

First, mix equal parts salt and cream of tartar, moistened with enough water to make a paste. Use this paste on metal outdoor furniture, for example, or rusted metal parts on an outdoor grill. Apply the paste with a soft cotton cloth and set the item in the sun to dry. Wipe off and repeat if necessary. Afterward, rinse clean. You can also try making this paste using lemon juice and salt, rather than cream of tartar. Be sure to keep the amount of lemon juice or water you use consistent with making a paste thick enough to not slide off any vertical surfaces.

DIY Air Freshener

The human sense of smell is a very sensitive thing, so much so that a clean-smelling home can play a large part in your emotional and physical health. Make your own earth-friendly freshener spray by mixing equal parts lemon juice and water and storing it in a spray bottle you’ve salvaged from some of your old cleaning products (make sure to rinse it out well first). Spray this around your home once or twice a week for odor control, or as needed when cooking or to get rid of smells that have seeped into the draperies, couch, and other fabrics.

 

Patio Furniture

Lawn furniture seems to be a magnet for all the grit and muck that nature can come up with. Outdoor chairs, tables, and loungers can be found caked with dirt, cobwebs, and grease, especially if they’ve been in storage for a while. Clean them off with a baking soda solution, using 1 cup baking soda added to some warm water. Wipe it on the furniture, then rinse thoroughly.

White wicker furniture is lovely to have for your yard and patio, but it can take a beating if out in the sun too much or left in the rain. You can help keep it from yellowing by scrubbing it periodically with a stiff brush that you have first moistened with salt water. Scrub every nook and cranny in the chairs and loungers and rinse thoroughly. Then let the pieces sit in the sun to dry, changing their position (upside-down, sideways, etc.) every so often.

Shower and Sink Drains

Just as with your kitchen sink, you should practice preventative maintenance with your bathroom sink and shower. Once a week, lift the drain cover in your tub and use a cotton swab to remove the hair that has accumulated there. Then pour 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar down the drain. Let this sit for 20 minutes, then flush the drain with very hot water. To help keep your tub drain unclogged, buy a plastic or rubber hair strainer; simply place it over your drain and let it do the icky work for you.

If your sink or shower has developed hard-water or mineral deposits, you can get rid of them by soaking paper towels in undiluted vinegar and placing the towels over the stained areas. Let them sit for one hour and then wipe the areas with a damp sponge.

The Green Outdoors

If you and your family are campers – whether rugged backpackers or vacationers in an environmentally friendly RV – baking soda is a great multipurpose tool to take along with you. You’ll be saving valuable space by packing something that can clean just about anything you’ll need to clean on your trip (pots, pans, hands, teeth). 

Start out by using it to deodorize your sleeping bags. Sprinkle them with baking soda and let the sit for a day, then shake out the begs and let them sit in the sun as long as possible. Baking soda is also quite handy for putting out campfires. You can even put an open box of it in an outhouse to deodorize the air.

Cleaning Grills

You’ll find all kinds of fancy sprays and specialized formulas in a store for cleaning the burned-on gunk off your outdoor grill racks, but good old elbow grease and a stiff brush are all you really need. It’ll help if you can tackle this project when the grill is still a little warm (though not hot!), but it will work regardless.

If you have stubborn charred remains on the racks, try treating those areas with a vinegar and baking soda mix. First apply baking soda and then dab with vinegar to get the foamy action started. Both vinegar and baking soda are safe to use around food, of course, but you’ll still want to rinse your grill racks thoroughly before using them again.

On the Deck

You know, your garage floor isn’t the only place in your home that can be stained by grease and oil — your deck or patio may also be prone to these stains. And as with most cleaning projects, it’s best to tackle any stains as soon after the accident as possible.


If your wooden deck has become stained with suntan lotion or grease from an outdoor grill, sprinkle baking soda on it immediately and let it sit an hour. After brushing away the baking soda with a broom, check to see if any of the stain remains. If so, repeat the procedure.

Screens

The screens on your home are where the elements — pollution, auto exhaust, tree leaves — stubbornly grab hold. Cleaning them will help you have a brighter outlook onto the outside world from inside your home. Clean your screens by dipping a damp wire brush into baking soda and scrubbing. Then rinse the screens thoroughly with a damp rag or sponge. If you have removed the screens from the windows, use a hose to rinse them.

Tubs and Shower Walls

If your tub or shower is made of fiberglass, clean it by wiping on a paste of baking soda and dishwashing liquid with a sponge. Also, the same paste will attack hard-water and rust stains on ceramic tile. Use a nylon scrubber to clean it, then rinse.

Spraying the corners of your tub or your shower doors and walls with vinegar can loosen built-up soap scum. After spraying, allow it to dry. Then simply spray it down again and wipe clean.

Porcelain tubs and sinks can be among the trickiest for stain removal. Have you ever accidentally spilled an entire bottle of shampoo into your white tub and unwittingly let the mess sit there all day? That can certainly clean things up, but it’s not really the recommended method. Instead, pour lemon juice over the stains, then sprinkle on alum powder (usually available in the spice aisle of the grocery store) and thoroughly work into the stain. If the stain doesn’t come out immediately, let the mixture sit on the stain as long as overnight. The next morning, add more lemon juice, scrub again, and rinse.

Non-skid strips or appliques on your shower or tub floor can easily get stained and are often hard to remove. To clean, dampen the applique­s and sprinkle baking soda directly onto them. Let this sit for 20 minutes and then scrub and rinse. You can remove the appliques completely by saturating each decal with vinegar to loosen the glue. (For even better results, warm the vinegar in a microwave or on the stove for about three minutes.) Let the vinegar sit for a few minutes, then peel off the decals. You should be able to remove any leftover glue with a damp sponge.

A bathtub ring requires a strong solvent. Try soaking paper towels or your reusable cleaning cloths with undiluted vinegar and placing them on the ring. Let the paper towels or cloths dry out. Afterward, spray the areas again with vinegar, then scrub with a sponge.