Posts tagged second life

Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning

Green energy. Green initiatives. Green companies.

Green this. Green that. Green me with an eco-friendly whiffle ball bat.

That’s right. Everyone – and everything – is going green. In fact, chances are YOU have already “gone green” (go ahead, look in the mirror…if you dare). Or if you haven’t, your neighbor has (and is probably chastising you for lagging behind the times). But what does it all mean, really? Would you necessarily even know it if you’ve already gone green? And once you go green, can you ever go back?

Simply put, it means living a more environmentally friendly and conscious lifestyle. By choosing to do things – both big and little – a little bit differently than the ways most of us have done them in the past. You know, like recycling bottles and cans. Printing out fewer emails. Purchasing more fuel-efficient automobiles. Biking and walking to local spots. These are all ways we can work to reduce our individual “carbon footprint” on the planet. At a time when it needs all the help it can get.  

Individuals like you aren’t the only ones taking further steps toward establishing and maintaining a more eco-friendly world, however. Businesses are also getting in on the action, perhaps motivated by consumers and their increasingly healthy and conscious choices. Companies both large and small alike are researching and implementing more environmentally sound practices, and often listening closely to consumer feedback and suggestions in doing so.

Examples range from Enterprise Rent-A-Car offering “carbon offsets” (allowing consumers to fund green energy projects to compensate for polluting behavior) to New Belgium Brewery manufacturing and bottling craft beer entirely via alternative energy sources to Clif Bar eliminating shrink-wrap packaging and shipping its organic energy bars via biodiesel-powered trucks. And more and more, such examples are becoming the norm.

You can get more insight into the “greening of mainstream business,” including news, podcasts, videos and job listings, by visiting <>  – the Business Voice of the Green Economy.

The professional dry cleaning industry has also seen a surge in eco-friendly practices and businesses. More progressive dry cleaners, such as Sudsies, employ an “environmental wet cleaning” process that utilizes specially treated and conditioned water, in addition to more traditional solvents. Other environmentally friendly dry cleaner practices include instituting systemic recycling programs, conserving more energy and water, investing in technology or services that exceed regulatory requirements and educating and training staff in environmental regulations and issues.

There’s even a Green Cleaners Council working to promote and reward genuine environmental sustainability efforts and expose “greenwashing.” The council has established a set of benchmarks to rate dry cleaners on their eco-friendly practices, and also provides them with a forum to share their successes and discuss strategies for future growth. The scores achieved on the “blind review” also help customers determine how green their cleaner really is.

You can see how your favorite dry cleaner rates on the Green Scale by visiting the Green Cleaners Council online at <>.


Drycleaning Storage Tips

So you’ve picked up your favorite garments from your favorite dry cleaner. They’re wrapped snugly and safely in their fresh new plastic bags. You hang them carefully in your car, close the door gently and head back to be reunited with them at home.
But what comes next for them – especially if you won’t be donning them for awhile? How best to show them the love and protection they so clearly deserve (and quietly desire)?
For starters, don’t let them linger in those plastic bags for too long. In fact, it’s best to free them as soon as you get home. Why? Because if left in these bags for any length of time, the plastic will actually cause humidity to condense inside, weakening the fibers.  So bag the bags as soon as you can. But don’t just throw them away – recycle if at all possible.
Once you’ve removed your garments from their temporary plastic shells, you’ll want to hang them up if at all possible. Use plastic, wood or padded hangers, never metal. Place acid-free tissue paper over the top to prevent dust from settling on the shoulder area. Or use a traditional dust cover.

If you’re storing coats or jackets, you might also consider stuffing the arms with acid-free tissue paper or washed, unbleached muslin (a type of loosely-woven Middle Eastern cotton fabric). If you have an extra special suit or dress to store, you can keep it even safer by draping a 100% cotton sheet over it. You can also use a muslin bag here.
If you must put them in a dresser or on shelves, place acid-free tissue between each garment. Washed, unbleached muslin is another option here.
When it comes to proper care and storage of your garments – and selection of an ideal storage space – it’s best to keep four words in mind:
Dark. Dry. Cool. Clean.
Storing your garments in a dark place will prevent any fading or discoloration. Housing them in a dry area guards against mold, mildew and insects. Keeping them cool takes the heat – which can break down some fibers – off them. The clean part you won’t really have to worry about. After all, that’s why you took them to the dry cleaners in the first place, right? Just make sure that the location you store them in is as clean as your garments themselves, or at least close.
When it comes to selecting a storage space for your garments, it’s best to keep them away from attics or basements. While these secret hideaways often fit the “dark” criteria, they are often home to excessive heat and moisture (the enemies of “cool” and “dry”). And we all know that “clean” doesn’t exactly accompany them very often. In addition, these places are often strongholds for moths (and sometimes even more nefarious creatures).  Instead, consider a dark closet in an area of your home that tends to stay cool – without getting too damp. Ideally, you don’t want your storage space to ever exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Having your garments cleaned prior to storage is also the most effective way to prevent moth damage – especially when it comes to clothing made of natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton. Moths feed on particles and invisible stains left by food, beverages, perfumes, sweat and body oils. And they’re also drawn to the proteins in natural fibers.
If you want to go the extra mile to guard against moths, you can use cedar in your storage area. Unlike mothballs, cedar is non-toxic to people and pets, and the cedar oil vapor kills young moth larvae. Just be sure to replace the cedar wood every few years, as the oil loses potency over time.
So there you have it. Take a little time to show a little extra care for your favorite garments, and the next time you break them out of storage, they’ll return the favor by making you look – and feel – extra special too.


Drycleaning Stains

“Out, damn spot!; out I say!” – Lady Macbeth
When your most beloved garment suffers at the cruel hands of a nasty, dirty, evil stain, it’s easy to view the event as a tragedy of Shakespearan proportions. Especially if you’re out at a late dinner or party, and there’s just no possibility of rushing to a dry cleaner to save the day (or in this case, the night).
Of course, there’s no shortage of home stain removal remedies out there, especially thanks to the magic of the Internet. From blotting out grease stains with rubbing alcohol to soaking a coffee stain in borax to rubbing toothpaste onto stray lipstick, you’ll find a variety of home-based healing methods to send that stain back to the hell from whence it came.
But when push comes to scrub, do you really want to take that chance? Sure, you might eliminate the stain, but there’s a very real chance you’ll take out some of the soul of your garment in the process. Or at least wash out a bit of its brilliance.
And nobody wants to see that happen. Well, maybe the villainous stain does…
Yes, there’s really only one way to ensure that your stains are eliminated while your garment remains illuminated – trust your wounded garment to the healing hands of a professional. Even if you have to wait until the next morning to do so.

Much like fictitious villains, stains come in all sorts of ugly shapes, sizes, colors and smells. But these evildoers are all too real, as most of us can easily attest to.

Here’s a look at some of the most common culprits we here at Sudsies are asked to exterminate with extreme prejudice.
Ink: It’s been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. And sometimes, it whoops up on the shirt too. Or the pants. Or, in really odd cases, the socks. No matter where your ink leaks, it’s best to let a pro clean up this oil spill.
Grease: Some guys prefer grease stains on their clothes. But most of the time, it’s not a word we want to hear. So let a dry cleaner mop up your mess, unless you’ve got a Fonz Fetish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Grass: The spontaneous football game was a blast. But your favorite shirt got blasted. Unless you plan on enshrining it in your personal hall of fame, you’ll want to let the pros tackle this tough stain.
Ketchup: Great on fries. Not so great on frocks. As you can imagine, we tend to see a good bit of this one. And whether you say tomato or to-mat-o, it’s best to call on a pro to squash this stain.  
Coffee/Tea: Coffee is for closers, not clothes. And this one can really leave a mark. Bring your dirty duds down to a professional dry cleaner, and they’ll brew up a solution.  
Lipstick: Passion got the best of you. And your favorite dress shirt too. So show the proper love and bring it to a professional, would ya?
Chocolate: Chocolate makes everything better. Except clothes. If you’re combining this stain with a lipstick one, maybe we should start calling you Customer Cupid.  
Deodorant: Get a whiff of this: yellow underarm shirt stains are usually caused by a combination of deodorant (aluminum salts) and perspiration. Don’t sweat it, though. Let a dry cleaner make you so fresh and clean again.
These are but many of the faces of evil that can cast a shadow across your favorite clothes if you let them. Remember, when it comes to fighting stains, time is always of the essence. The quicker you can get them into a dry cleaner for some tender loving care, the better.

And the less likely a tragedy is to occur.


Dry Cleaning. Give your clothes a second life.

seamstressWe all know that times have been tough for a while now. And with all the downsizing and belt-tightening going on across the country, shopping and consuming habits have shifted – in some cases, dramatically.

Take clothing sales, for example. In the second quarter of 2009, the TJX Companies (the parent of discounters Marshalls and T.J. Maxx) reported a rise in both sales and profits. On the other hand, Saks, the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue, slid down in both categories. So as you can see, all those belts are now getting tightened around much more affordable pants.

Of course, there’s little sense in belaboring or dwelling on all these changes (clothing and otherwise). In the words of a great anonymous American philosopher…It is what it is.

What we can do is find ways to help make what we do have go a little bit further. And share those nuggets of information with one another.

Forming a search party to scour the cluttered racks of Marshalls for fresh new arrivals is one way to do this. But there’s also another approach you can take – restoring your own damaged or discarded clothes. After all, why deal with the guilt and pressure of spending big (or medium) money on new clothes if you can spend even less money to breathe a “second life” into the clothes that already hang (often sadly) in your closet?

Clothing restoration just so happens to be one of Sudsies’ specialty services. Mildew stains on your old leather jacket. Smoke damage on that once-favorite dress of yours. Fraying around the collar of your favorite golf shirt. Damage from another dry cleaner. We can address all of these issues and more with our clothing restoration services and on-site tailor and seamstress. We even use a state-of-the-art odor treatment process to get rid of any “old” or just plain “ugly” smells that may be hanging out back there with your neglected clothing (misery loves company).

If you’ve had clothes damaged due to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or fires, we can help you itemize your clothing restoration billing in a format that’s easily accepted by insurance companies. Just remember, the longer your damaged and neglected clothes are left to wither and weather away, the more effort will need to go into reviving them from the dead.

So go ahead. Break out your forgotten old pants (just maybe not the Zubaz). You’ll be surprised how well that tight belt fits them.