It’s crucial to clean your clothes before storing them for the season so stains, food, and other issues aren’t compounded over time. Caring for wool garments doesn’t seem to be a spring cleaning task but the steps you take now can make all the difference in what you find when you bring out your things next fall: wonderful woolens, or ones peppered with holes.
Your dry cleaner can also pack your sweaters in acid-free tissue so you can store them flat in your closet which will help prevent wrinkles. Make sure to ask about a tissue paper pack when you drop off your garments and tell them that you’re storing garments for the season.
Wash and press is the “normal” way to clean dress shirts when you take them to the cleaners. (Don’t be too confused by this. Even though you take your shirt to the “dry-cleaners”, they are most likely doing wash and press unless you are expressly asking them to dry clean ). This is our first choice. At around $1.50/shirt, this cleaning method is relatively cheap and easy and it keeps the shirts looking great. At most cleaners, here’s what the process involves:
Shirts are made to be worn, not worshiped. This means they get dirty. However, with proper care, a high quality dress shirt can last for several years and continue to look great. In this post, we’re going to break down three of the most popular washing methods and detail how you can keep your dress shirts looking great for years to come. We’ll also outline how to deal with special emergencies as well as provide some other cleaning tips.
They wash your shirt in a normal washing machine using water and detergent.
They remove most of the water from the shirt with the spin cycle in the washing machine.
They pull the damp shirt onto an industrial shirt press that closes over the shirt and simultaneously irons the garment while removing all of the moisture.
Pros: Convenient, (relatively) inexpensive.
Cons: Some cleaners will be too hard on the shirts. The slamming of the press over the front of the shirt can cause buttons to chip or shatter. If the shirt torso or sleeve is stretched over the press when it is steamed dry it can cause this part of the shirt to become wider in these areas. Finally, in the process of bringing the shirts from the cleaners to your closet collars will often be smashed in some way, requiring additional ironing for optimal appearance.
Method 2: Wash the shirt yourself at home
If you don’t trust your dry cleaner, or if you’d just like a little more control over how your shirts are washed, you may want to wash your dress shirts at home. We really like this option, but to do so properly requires a bit of time and care on your part. Follow these steps for optimal results:
Start by preparing the dress shirt. Unbutton all of the buttons, including cuff buttons and any collar buttons. Remove any collar stays if it has them and put them in a safe place.
Pre-treat any stains by carefully working a little detergent into them, or better yet spot-cleaning them with a stain remover pen.
Set up your washing machine: To minimize wear on a fine or lightweight dress shirt, use the Delicate cycle. If the shirt is made from a heavier duty fabric, or is particularly dirty you may opt for the Normal cycle. Whites and light colors can use hot water. Dark colored shirts that you don’t want to fade should be washed with cold water. Take care not to include other laundry items with bold colors that may bleed into your shirts.
Use a high quality detergent, like Woolite Complete, that is appropriate to the color of the shirt. Be sure not to use any detergents or cleaners that are chlorine based as these will cause discoloration to many shirt fabrics.
Wash the shirts in the washing machine, and then let the spin cycle wring most of the water out of the garment.
The shirts will be tightly crumpled in the washing machine so you’ll want to remove them promptly before these intense wrinkles will dry into the shirt. Hang the shirts up or lay them out so that they can air dry. Be careful about hanging the shirts on a sharp hanger or with tight clothespins as this can distort the fabric or leave a mark on the shirt.
Next you’ll want to iron the shirts. You don’t need to wait for the shirts to be completely dry to begin this step, but they should be mostly dry.
Pros: Gives you the most control to treat stains, protect buttons, and iron collars carefully.
Cons: Takes time and attention.
Method 3: “Dry clean” at the cleaners
While we don’t really recommend dry cleaning cotton dress shirts, some folks like to take their shirts to the cleaners and have them dry cleaned. While this cleaning method will certainly not damage the shirt and minimize shrinkage, it does have some downsides. The first is that it can be expensive – usually over $5/shirt. Another is that water soluble stains such as perspiration are not removed. Dry cleaning solvents contain very little to no water so perspiration based dirt can be left untouched. Washing dress shirts in water is better for removing water soluble dirt and stains from sweat. That said, if your dress shirt has an oil based stain on it you may have better luck getting it cleaned by a dry cleaner than in a washing machine.
Pros: Convenient. Minimizes wear of the shirts. Removes oil-based stains.
Cons: Won’t always remove water soluble dirt or stains. Expensive. Your shirts are at the mercy of a potentially abusive shirt cleaner.
Question: Is it ok to dry shirts in the dryer?
We recommend avoiding the dryer and letting the shirt air dry on a hanger, although (depending on the size of your house) this is not always practical. If you must put the shirt in a dryer, avoid high heat or over-drying the shirt. Use the dryer to get most of the moisture out of the shirt, and then iron the shirt immediately to remove the rest of the moisture and any wrinkles at the same time. If you dry your shirts completely in the dryer you’ll find the shirt a bit harder to iron perfectly, and they will likely shrink beyond Proper Cloth’s calculated shrinkage allowances.
Question: How to remove a stain from a white shirt?
In the unfortunate event that you get spill some wine or spaghetti sauce on your shirt, some quick action could minimize any stains that result.
With a brush or comb, carefully swipe or lift away any large pieces such that you don’t smear them worse into the garment.
Immediately treat the stain with water or stain remover solvent. The sooner the better. If you can’t get your hands on a stain remover pen, we recommend a Tide Pen, try dishwashing detergent, lemon juice, vinegar, or seltzer water.
Dab solvents on the stain with a light touch. Pressure can force the stain deeper into the fibers of the garment.
Rinse and repeat.
Question: Should I use starch when the shirt is pressed?
While many people do like to have their shirts starched, our suggestion is to avoid starch completely. While starch can help a broadcloth or oxford shirt appear more crisp it can also cause shirts to wear out prematurely. When the starch material gets embedded in the shirt fibers it acts like a million little knives that break down the fibers over time.
Three tips to maximize dress shirt life
Don’t leave dirty white shirts in the hamper for too long before washing. This can lead to premature yellowing of the collar band as any sweat and oils will have more time to set into the fabric of the shirt.
Always remove the collar stays from the collar before washing and ironing. If you don’t they will become warped causing the dress shirt collar points to curve awkwardly.
Don’t count on your cleaner to find and remove stains. If you know there’s a spot on your placket or sleeve, point it out so that they know to spot clean it.
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The most common reason to visit an alteration shop is to have hems and sleeves adjusted on skirts, dresses, jeans, slacks, shirts, blouses and blazers.
Other popular services include mending and resizing garments. Mending services include repairing holes and tears and replacing broken zippers. Size changes can be achieved by adjusting or adding darts to blouses, dresses, and blazers. Seams can be taken in or let out to improve fit. The waistlines of pants, skirts, and dresses can also be adjusted.
Best fit for pants, dresses, and jackets
Here are best-fit guidelines for men and women:
Ideally, the pant leg falls to the top of the shoe and fabric does not touch the floor.
Jacket and blazer sleeves should fall to the bottom of the wrist bone on the thumb side when arms are resting at both sides. For men, shirt cuffs ideally fall one-fourth to one-half of an inch lower than the blazer sleeve to show a show minimal cuff.
An empire waist flatters women with fuller hips and a smaller torso by bringing attention to the waist. An empire waist also flatters straight female silhouettes by creating the impression of a curvy figure.
Custom, or bespoke, tailoring
Custom tailoring is the process of making clothing to fit an individual and differs considerably from alterations made to a ready-made piece of clothing.
Custom tailors, also known as bespoke, or made-to-order tailors or dressmakers, are highly knowledgeable about how to get a good fit, and about sewing and clothing construction methods. They often work in specialty clothing boutiques and family-owned businesses, or as independent tailors.
Costs depend on the type of item, type of fabric and embellishments, amount of detail requested and prices of the specific tailor. Shirts generally cost at least $100, pants cost at least $250 and the jackets are at least $350.
Custom tailoring takes between one to six months, depending on the amount of detail and garment type.
Tips for finding a tailor:
Research and get recommendations
In addition to consulting Angie’s List, ask friends and family for recommendations for dressmakers or tailors. Ask your favorite dry cleaners if they have an alternation or tailoring staff or could make recommendations since they often work with expensive, custom-made clothing.
Ask whether a sewing professional has to experience creating the kind of garment you want. Ask to see photos or examples of the dressmaker’s or tailor’s work.
Ask for quotes
As noted above, custom-made clothing can be very expensive. However, the price depends on several things, including the type of garment you want, the complexity of the pattern, whether you need a pattern made for you, and the fabric used. If you have to undergo numerous fittings, that will increase the cost. Ask for an estimate before commissioning any work.
You’ll be called in at least once or twice for fittings. Fittings take time, so you may want to look for a seamstress or tailor who works close to where you live or work.
Cost-saving tip: If you can’t afford custom-made clothing, having store bought-clothes professionally altered can be a good compromise. The secret of many well-dressed people is that they take their moderately priced clothing into a dry cleaner, seamstress or tailor for alterations for a close to custom fit.
Sewing experts can provide additional services, including restyling clothes and repairing fine leather. Restyling keeps clothes current. Sewing experts who provide this service can convert necklines to accent the chest or elongate the neck. They can turn a dress into a skirt or alter the style of the sleeves to create a fresh look.
Minor fine leather repairs involve carefully weaving new stitches to blend into the fabric. Extensive damage to a leather garment may require new material to replace the original leather.
Work with a reputable fur salon before deciding to buy a fur coat. It’s best to hire a professional to repair, clean and store your precious fur.
DIY tailoring is not as simple or easy as it sounds. Sewing a hem or stitching a seam is not tailoring. To get the fit and lay you want for your clothes to fit right usually requires a sewing machine, serger, seam breaker, sewing mannequin, irons, and various other seamtress tools. Tailors even use specific type of sissors called shears.
For most consumers, it’s not worth an investment in tools or material. Not the mention the damage that can be done by incorrectly cutting a piece of fabric or finished garment. If you’re not willing to learn or don’t have the patience to apart seam, leave it to the professionals.
Kreussler Inc. Earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Label Kreussler Inc.’s SOLVONK4 dry cleaning solvent, part of the SYSTEMK4 process, is now a USDA Certified Biobased Product and is BioPreferred. Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum-derived products. SOLVONK4 is 88% biobased.
TAMPA, Fla. – June 12, 2018 – PRLog — Kreussler Inc. announced today that it has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label. The product, SOLVONK4, is now able to display a unique USDA label that highlights its percentage of biobased content.
Third-party verification for a product’s biobased content is administered through the USDA BioPreferred Program, an initiative created by the 2002 Farm Bill (and most recently expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill). One of the goals of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.
The USDA Certified Biobased Product label displays a product’s biobased content, which is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. Utilizing renewable, biobased materials displaces the need for non-renewable petroleum-based chemicals.
Biobased products, through petroleum displacement, have played an increasingly important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate global climate change.
Biobased products are cost-comparative, readily available, and perform as well as or better than their conventional counterparts.
Richard Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Kreussler Inc., said, “Being the first and only dry cleaning solvent on the market with the USDA BioPreferred label provides credibility and visibility to Kreussler’s commitment to our client’s needs and the environment. This new BioPreferred label indicates that SOLVONK4 has been independently certified to meet the USDA BioPreferred program standards for biobased content. Having the BioPreferred label from the USDA is an important distinction for SOLVONK4 and the SYSTEMK4 dry cleaning process and Kreussler is proud of this achievement.”
“We applaud Kreussler Inc. for earning the USDA Certified Biobased Product label,” said Kate Lewis, USDA BioPreferred Program. “Products from Kreussler Inc. are contributing to an ever-expanding marketplace that adds value to renewable agriculture commodities, creates jobs in rural communities, and decreases our reliance on petroleum.”
According to a report that the USDA released in 2016, biobased products contributed $393 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014 and support, directly and indirectly, 4.2 million jobs. In this report, the research team estimated petroleum displacement of up to 6.8 million barrels in 2014.
The increased production of renewable chemicals and biobased products contributes to the development and expansion of the U.S. bioeconomy – where society looks to agriculture for sustainable sources of fuel, energy, chemicals, and products.
About Kreussler Inc.
Kreussler Textile Chemistry is a leading international provider of professional textile care since 1912, specializing in commercial laundry, wet cleaning, and textile cleaning. The ground-breaking innovations of the last decades include the development of Miele System Kreussler wet cleaning, the Ecosan process, the liquid detergent system Derval Power, and SYSTEMK4 for textile cleaning.
Kreussler Textile Chemistry concentrates on manufacturing environmentally-friendly and market-oriented solutions that present economic advantages for our customers.
Kreussler produces highly effective products, which we combine with successful application technology. Our research and development, together with our product and process optimization, guarantees the most sustainable and efficient use of raw materials possible. We are also committed to avoiding hazardous substances and minimizing waste.
For more information, visit www.kreussler.com, check out our blog KreusslerInc.com/blog/ and follow on Twitter at Kreusslerinc.
About the USDA BioPreferred Program and Certified Biobased Product label
The BioPreferred Program is a USDA-led initiative that assists in the development and expansion of markets for biobased products. The BioPreferred Program is transforming the marketplace for biobased products through two initiatives: mandatory purchasing requirements for Federal Agencies and Federal contractors and voluntary product certification and labeling.
Biobased products span a diverse range of applications, such as lubricants, cleaning products, chemicals, and bioplastics. The USDA Certified Biobased Product label communicates a product’s biobased content. Expressed as a percentage, biobased content is the ratio of non-fossil organic carbon (new organic carbon) to total organic carbon in a product. New organic carbon is derived from recently-created materials. The total organic carbon in a product consists of new organic carbon and old organic carbon that originates from fossil carbon materials, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas. More than 3,000 products have earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product label. To learn more about the USDA Certified Biobased Product label please visit www.biopreferred.gov, and follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BioPreferred.