|Q: Is club
soda really an effective treatment for stains?
A: Club soda is a popular remedy suggested
by hostesses and flight attendants. There’s no magic
in those bubbles, as Club soda is just water and CO2.
There is danger in applying club soda to certain fabrics,
as water can shrink, felt or warp clothes that are made
for dry cleaning. It also can cause dies to bleed, possibly
causing an even bigger problem.
Can alcohol be used to remove stains?
A: Alcohol is a solvent, and can be
effective on certain stains, but if not used properly
can alter dyes and discolor fabrics.
Many deodorants, after-shave lotions, and colognes
contain alcohol that can cause discoloration or dye
loss in fabrics. Check the ingredients in the products
you use, as the fabric damage from alcohol in these
products is often irreversible.
Q: Can milk be used to
take out ink and blood?
A: Contrary to popular myth, ink and blood are easier
to remove than milk. Once you have introduced milk to
the stain, you have created a much more complicated
stain to remove. Don’t ever use milk as a stain
Q: Can lemon juice be
used to remove rust stains?
A: Although sometimes effective, lemon juice is acidic
and can cause oxidation and discoloration that might
not be noticeable at first, but might yellow or brown
Q: Can ice be used to
remove chewing gum?
A: This may work in limited cases (for example, removing
gum from a carpet). But it’s a lot safer to remove
the gum by having it dry cleaned. Gum dissolves easily
in the dry cleaning process with complete safety to
the fabric vs. hacking at the frozen gum.
When you chip away at the frozen gum, you are very
likely to cause damage to the fabric. So you fix one
problem (the gum) and cause another irreversible problem
(scuffs, abrasions, and holes) in the fabric.
Q: Can I use nail polish
remover to remove stains?
A: Nail polish remover can be effective for removing
make-up and other types of stains. But this is also
very dangerous! Nail polish removers often contain acetone,
which can dissolve certain types of fabrics such as
acetate or rayon.
Be sure you know what kinds of fabrics, decorations,
etc. you are applying the nail polish remover to and
use caution. Nail polish remover may also dissolve prints
or decorations on fabrics. Be sure to test before applying
to a highly visible area.
Q: Is it true that Dry
cleaning is bad for your clothes?
A: Dry cleaning is good for your clothes (especially
finer fabrics). Why?
Many stains are invisible, such as perfume, cologne,
perspiration, sugar, and even dust. Drycleaning not
only removes stains, but body salts and oils which cause
If these stains (body oils, etc.) are not removed,
they will oxidize over time and become visible and permanent.
If you really like your clothes, you must have them
cleaned before the damage becomes irreversible.
People think, “I won’t have the clothes
cleaned, because cleaning them might damage the clothes
that I love so much.” But proper care by a trained
specialist in cleaning fine/expensive garments will
avoid the damage that neglect (not cleaning the clothes)
will definitely cause.
The bottom-line is, if you love your clothes have them
cleaned. Neglecting them will cause them to virtually
self-destruct in your closet, as the stains and body
oils oxidize and become permanent.
Q: Is it ok for me to
hand wash my delicates? I’m afraid to take them
to the dry cleaners.
A: It depends. Hand washing can shrink your clothes
just like you had thrown them into your washer.
Controlling the water temperature and mechanical action
is essential to maintaining the original shape of a
garment. Good dry cleaners have the equipment and skill
to block an item to its original shape. They know which
garments and fabrics need special treatment. They have
learned through experience and can avoid the problems
you will encounter when attempting to care for your
clothes at home.
Hand washing can also set stains that your dry cleaner
might be able to remove. Soap can set certain stains
and make it harder or impossible to remove. Stains are
more likely to be removed if treated appropriately before
Q: Can hair spray be
used to remove ink stains?
A: Hair spray can contain chemicals that will dissolve
certain inks. However, hair spray also contains alcohol
and other ingredients with properties that can be dangerous
to many dyes and fabrics.
Also, the hair spray may cause the ink to spread and
then cause a larger more complex stain as the hair spray
The bottom-line is many ink stains can be effectively
removed if treated properly. It doesn’t make sense
to make the ink stain larger, more complex and risk
damaging the dyes/fabrics when the stain could be effectively
removed when treated by someone who is trained, experienced,
and has the equipment/solutions to safely remove the
Q: Is salt water an effective
treatment for wine?
A: Salt water can set a wine stain. As a matter of fact,
salt-water solutions are sometimes used to set dyes
in fabrics. Thus, a salt solution is very likely to
permanently set the stain you are attempting to remove.
Don’t rub your spots!
Don’t ever rub a spot! The fibers of many fabrics
are weaker when wet (especially silk). Rubbing abrades
the fabric leaving broken fibers and changing the appearance
of the area rubbed. Even if the stain is removed, the
fabric may have a dull or changed appearance due to
The best treatment is to gently blot any spill with
a cloth towel or handkerchief and let dry. Fine garments
should be taken to a professional dry cleaner as soon
Using pure cleaning solutions
is a lot of work
To get the best cleaning, whitest whites, and fresh
clean smell, the cleaning solutions need to be distilled
between every load. This takes extra time and effort.
Some cleaners cut corners by just filtering the dry
cleaning solutions once in a while.
Let’s put it this way, do you use fresh clean
water every time you take a bath or do you just filter
the bathwater once in a while?
Be sure you use a drycleaner that always uses freshly
distilled cleaning solutions. It’s more expensive
and more work for them, but is the only way to get the
cleaning results you expect.
You and your clothes are safe
Cleaners these days use techniques and equipment not
available just a few years ago. The latest cleaning
techniques, and solutions are highly regulated and very
safe. If your cleaner is using the latest equipment
for dry cleaning or wet cleaning, you do not need to
be concerned about exposure to chemicals or needing
to “air out” your clothes before wearing
Who put that spot there?
You are sure the stain was not there when you hung it
up in your closet. Who stained my clothes? Often stains
are invisible. Have you ever dropped a piece of salad
on your lap and been frustrated because you just stained
your clothes? Then later you are greatly relieved that
the salad dressing stain seems to have disappeared.
Over time, oil or sugar stains can oxidize and become
visible. Just like an apple turns brown when left exposed
to air. The heat from pressing your clothes can also
make the oil or sugar stains visible. Just as butter
turns brown in a heated saucepan.
The stain was there when you hung it in your closet.
It was just invisible.
Who keeps breaking my buttons?
Cleaners use pads on their pressing equipment that cushions
the garments as they are pressed. Over time, these pads
harden and need to be replaced.
The pads are expensive though, and if you are using
a discount cleaner, they may not replace the pads as
often as they should.
If your cleaner is properly training their employees
and properly maintaining their equipment, you should
not be seeing broken buttons on your clothes.
How did that hole get
Holes in fabrics can be caused by many factors. Battery
acid, insects, and household products can weaken fibers.
The damage doesn’t become visible until the garment
is cleaned and the damaged fibers are cleaned away leaving
a (now visible) hole.
The weave of certain fabrics can make them more susceptible
to these types of problems.
It seems as though someone is intentionally damaging
your clothes. This is frustrating to both you and your
cleaner because there is no indication of a problem
until the hole appears, and then it’s too late.
It’s not as though someone has been negligent
or is too blame. These kinds of problems are just unavoidable
WEDDING GOWN FACTS
Wedding gowns and related items should be stored in
acid free materials, since the acids in many packaging
materials can “scorch” the items being stored.
Acid-free material means all of the acid has been removed
from the paper or paperboard. Acid free materials can
be contaminated from the environment, but cannot re-acidify,
unlike material that is pH neutral.
Plastic storage components should be made out of a
neutral plastic such as polypropylene. Other types of
plastic may emit fumes that can yellow the fabric.
Your wedding gown needs to breathe
Shrink-wrapping is NOT OK for wedding gown preservation.
Fabric needs to breathe. Plastic creates a closed environment
that can trap moisture and allow the growth of mold.
The combination of trapped moisture and the electrostatic
charge caused by the plastic can also set wrinkles.
It is extremely difficult – if not impossible
– to press out a gown that has been shrink-wrapped.
Is satin a fabric?
Satin is a weave. Virtually every bride will tell you
her gown is satin. Actually, satin is made from rayon,
polyester, silk, or even cotton. It’s important
to know the fabric of the gown, so that it is properly
cleaned and preserved.