The Relationship Between Shirts and Starch

Starch and sizings are laundry additives that can increase the firmness of fabrics, particularly dress shirts. A study conducted by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, the Association of Professional Drycleaners showed starch and sizings can both protect and harm shirts
at the same time.

Shirts undergo two types of abrasions. One type is called flat abrasion, and it refers to the abrasion that occurs when the shirt rubs against any other surface. The other type, flex
abrasion, refers to the stretching of the fibers when the wearer bends an elbow, or otherwise stretches the material.

Starch adds protection to shirts, enabling them to withstand higher degrees of flat abrasion. However, since starch stiffens the fibers and makes them less flexible, it reduces the degree of flex abrasion a shirt can withstand.

Tensile strength is the measure of how well fabrics and fibers resist breaking under tension. Evaluation by DLI’s Textile Testing laboratory found that shirts with medium starch and no starch had similar tensile strength. Variances in tensile strength were evident between shirts with no starch and shirts with heavy starch.

After 10 laundering cycles, the tensile strength results on the shirts with no starch was 29% higher
than the results on the shirts with heavy starch. Even after 25 and 50 cycles, there was still about a 20% difference between the two groups of shirts.

Heavy starch and sizing can decrease the tensile strength of fabrics not by degrading the material directly, but by increasing its rigidity.

The major function of starch is to add body or stiffness to a fabric which in turn will produce little flexibility. This lack of flexibility causes the fabric to snap when tested rather than stretch, which decreases the fabric’s tensile strength. Starched and sized shirts were laundered to remove the starch and tensile strength was retested. The results indicated a significant increase (30%) in tensile strength after starch removal.

The life expectancy of a shirt is shortened by the use of starches and sizings by reducing its ability to bend, stretch, and straighten during use, according to the IFI study. Balancing out those negatives are the bonuses of having better whiteness retention, a crisper look, and increased resistance to staining.

Another way to keep your shirts looking crisp and professional is by adding Million Dollar Collar plackets to your favorite shirts so that even without a tie your shirt stands up and never falls down. Ask your customer service representative about adding this to your shirt to try it out and then having it automatically installed when you bring in a new shirt.

Please visit StCroixCleaners.Com to learn about all of our available services.

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Special Care Tips For Your Summer Whites

Summer brings out the brightest colors. Reds, pinks, yellows, purples, blues, and whites. White? Yes, white is a color.

In their natural state, many fabrics have an off-white or yellowish cast and are often bleached to remove this natural color. Manufacturers often add optical brighteners to make fabrics appear whiter and brighter. Occasionally, these agents break down, causing the fabric to revert to its natural off-white or yellowish color.

Exposure to light can break down fluorescent brighteners, causing the areas not exposed to light to be unaffected. Thus, the front of a sweater laid out to dry in the sun may turn yellow while the back remains white. Once this happens, it usually can’t be corrected.

Graying of whites is another story. Dingy-looking white is most often caused by incomplete soil removal over an extended period of time despite repeated washing.

This can be caused by any or all of the following:

  • Not pre-soaking heavily stained garments
  • Too little detergent
  • Overloading the washing machine
  • Water temperature too low
  • Sorting clothes incorrectly

 

The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute has tips to keeps your whites looking bright. To remove this soil buildup and restore whiteness, take the following steps with washable items:

  1. Use the hottest temperature of water acceptable for the fabric
  2. Add 1-2 cups water conditioner
  3. Add detergent and
  4. Add clothes and run through a complete wash and rinse cycle.

As always, bringing your items into a professional dry cleaner is the easiest and most effective way to keep your items looking and feeling their best.

We hope these tips help. If you run into any trouble with any of your garments, we’ll be happy to help!

Visit StCroixCleaners.Com to learn about all of our cleaning and alteration services at our 15 locations.

 

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Summer Cleaning Tips You Can Use At Home

Summer comes with a lot of difficult stains. The Drycleaning and Laundry Institute lets you know what method you should use at home and when you need to bring it into the professionals.

Bleaching:

Bleaching is a last resort if the stain does not respond to either dry-side or wetside measures. Ordinary three percent hydrogen peroxide bleach, available at grocery and drug stores, is the easiest to use. But test the bleach first on an unexposed seam or a sample of the material. Pour some bleach on the sample piece of fabric. Wait five minutes for a reaction. Many white fabrics contain an optical brightener that will turn yellow when bleached. Very bright-colored fabrics may contain optical brightening agents as well; a bleach may cause these colors to become dull.

 

Rust Stains:

Rust stains should be approached with great care. Rust removers are sold at grocery stores. Use them only on washable garments or fabrics so they can be laundered immediately afterward. Laundering will rinse out the rust remover. If it is not removed, it can burn the skin. Do not use a rust remover on any fabric containing metallic threads.

 

Tough Stains:

Some stains don’t lend themselves to home methods. Most medicine stains, fingernail polish, adhesives, and paint are difficult to remove and should be taken to a professional cleaner.

 

Don’t Wait:

All stains should be removed before they have time to set. Time or heat can set stains. Even a professional cleaner will have trouble getting the stain out if he or she doesn’t receive the garment soon after the stain occurred.

 

Delicate Fabrics:

Do not attempt home stain removal on leather, suede, furs, vinyl, fabrics that are heavily sized like taffeta and organdy, nets, satins, and those with colors that bleed easily.

 

Invisible Stains:

Many fruit juices and drinks disappear into the fabric and leave no visible stain, though the sugars are deposited there. Drycleaning fluid doesn’t dissolve them. Heat browns them causing a stain that doesn’t come out. If you spill juice or soda on a fabric, flush it out immediately with water – even though the stain is invisible. For more specific advice, ask us, we’re always happy to help.

Visit St Croix Cleaners for information on all of your dry cleaning needs.

 

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Spring Cleaning- What You Need To Know

Put your snow blower away and kick off your boots: Spring is here!

Spring always feels like it couldn’t come soon enough- but the spring cleaning always manages to sneak up on you. Don’t rack your brain about what to clean and how often- we have the answers to your spring cleaning questions!

Bedding:

  • We all hopefully spend at least 7 hours in bed every night- which means you should be cleaning your sheets often. It’s recommended to clean your sheets and pillowcases in hot water WEEKLY. Having your items cleaned in hot water helps remove mites and bacteria that can sneak in.
  • Comforters and mattress covers don’t have as much direct contact with your skin so both should be dry cleaned MONTHLY. Let us take care of cleaning the extra bulk so you don’t have to!

Winter Wear:

  • Clean your winter wear BEFORE storing items away. Sweaters and sweatshirts should be cleaned and then stored folded in a drawer. Items like winter coats should be on a shoulder-saver hanger in a hall closet to allow room to breathe. Dry clean your winter sweaters, suits, and coats before storing them to alleviate food stains that can turn orange over the summer in your closet and attract insects who destroy fibers that lead to holes.
  • Don’t forget about your boots! Bring your boots to St Croix Cleaners so our specialty Treasured Garment Restoration team can clean salt stains to remove bacteria that cause odor. Whether your boots are fine leather or comfortable UGG boots– we’ll have them clean and smelling fresh for when you take them back out in the fall.

Winter Storage:

 

  • DO NOT store items in vacuum-sealed bags. Natural fibers (like wool) and your favorite fluffy coat need air to maintain their structure and keep the optimal shape. It can take items as long to un-compress as time stored.
  • INSTEAD store your items in closets or drawers. You can deodorize a closet naturally by storing a box of baking soda in your closet, using bamboo charcoal bags on your hangers or adding dryer sheets to closet shelves or clothing pockets. If you’re looking for a kitchen DIY you can also add dried lemon or orange peels in a bag to your closet to keep it smelling fresh.

 

Let us protect your clothing so you can store your favorite pieces properly through the warmer months. For more information on our locations and dry cleaning services visit StCroixCleaners.com.

 

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Why You Need To Clean Your Luggage

The holidays include wheeling luggage through airports, throwing them in the back of cars then putting them back in the hall closet or under the bed. Luggage takes a beating, and it’s important to keep clean after big trips. If you have soft-sided luggage, St Croix Cleaners can clean it for you starting at only $69.99 plus taxes for a carry-on size! (effective February 2019; prices subject to change). See our dramatic “before and after” below!

 

Why do you need to clean your luggage?

Not only does its look better, but cleaning your suitcase keeps the bag from deteriorating, making pricey luggage last longer. Dirt and oils you get on your soft-sided luggage can cause fabrics and technical coatings to deteriorate over time. And all the gravel and dirty streets you wheeled your luggage through? That could cause the wheels to harden and cause more issues in the future. We also clean the fine leather on your luggage and keep it shining. Get $10 off your luggage cleaning now through 2/28/19!

What are some bigger issues that can happen with luggage?

Cleaning your luggage helps fight against mold. Those crumbs or spills in your bag from travel can create tough mold and have a foul smell. We clean the suitcases both inside and out!

How often should you get luggage cleaned? 

That depends on how much you use your luggage. If you’re a frequent traveler we recommend cleaning your luggage once a year. We also offer a $10 service to waterproof your bag so it stays clean and dry! Visit any of the 16 St Croix Cleaners’ locations for more information.

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Fix Gravy Stains And Other Thanksgiving Nuisances

For most people Thanksgiving means a lot of family surrounding the table with many delicious (and stain-worthy) family recipes. When you’re finished gobbling dinner and notice some food or drink stains on your clothes- don’t worry! Here’s how to help lift the stains from your favorite family foods:

Pumpkin pie- Use an enzymatic cleaner or detergent wash with lukewarm water on the gentle cycle of your washing machine. Enzymes are a protein that cause chemical reactions to break down stains.

Cranberry Sauce- Cranberries instantly look like they leave an impossible-to-remove stain, but it’s easier than you might think! Follow the same stain removal process as pumpkin pie. Utilize an enzyme detergent and let it do the work for you. Make sure to use the gentle cycle with lukewarm water to best assist the enzyme detergent. Did some of the food make it onto the rug instead of the table? Don’t worry- we can get cranberry stains out of rugs too!

Red Wine- It’s a common misconception but do NOT use white wine on the stain- that will only further set it. Blot (never rub) the stain with a napkin. Then flush with cold water or club soda. While this will help remove some main components of the stain, bring your clothing to St Croix Cleaners as soon as possible. Learn more about removing red wine stains.

Coffee with creamer- The most difficult stain on the list! This stain is both a protein and acid stain so it can’t be cleaned just using enzymatic cleaner. It’s very difficult to remove and you should bring it in right away so the stain doesn’t lock in. Heat, time and depth of stain all play a factor.

Gravy- Here’s where you get to make your own concoction of Dawn dish soap, club soda and salt. Dab the stain and the mixture will help remove the grease!

These tips will help prevent your stain from further setting in your clothing fibers. However, bringing it to any of our 17 locations as soon as possible after following these tips is the best way to ensure your favorite clothes stay looking sharp. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family!

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Dress For Success: The Payoff

Does the way you dress affect the way you perform at work? It actually plays a bigger role than you might think.

Everyone has that “lucky shirt” to wear to an interview that makes you stand taller, appear confident and (hopefully) get the job. Why not apply that feeling to everyday life? Wearing nice clothes in a work environment affects how confident you feel, how others can perceive you and your ability to think abstractly.

If those attributes don’t peak your attention, maybe money will. A 2014 study at Yale put men in sweatpants and plastic sandals, neutral business casual attire, and suits, and asked them to buy and sell in mock negotiations. Those dressed poorly earned the least of the theoretical profit and those dressed in suits earned the most. While you wouldn’t wear sweatpants to work, unless you’re a personal trainer, the extra money you spend in nicer clothes for work could come back ten-fold.

There’s a psychological effect to what you choose to wear every day. Just like putting on sneakers puts your mind in a mood to exercise, putting on a suit and tie will thrust you into work mode and give you the push to perform your best. You’re able to think more creatively and see the big picture and be less likely to “sweat the small stuff.”

Even the meaning or brand behind the clothes you wear can impact how you hold yourself. Northwestern did a study on the power of a lab coat. Not only did wearing a lab coat affect how others perceived the wearer but the person wearing the lab coat had increased attention and higher performance. But, when the study gave participants the same coat but said it was a “painter’s coat” there was no positive effect. That could explain why people will pay the extra money for name-brand items over generic; it really does make a difference.

Taking care of nicer clothes does require more care, but as we’ve seen above, it also pays off.  St Croix Cleaners is an eco-friendly dry cleaner, which means it’s gentler on your clothes and also makes them feel as good as they look. With extra touches like repairing buttons at no charge, stain removal and quality inspection before your clothes go home, let St Croix Cleaners be a part of your success when you dress the best!

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Common Sense Rules for Summertime Storage

Now that winter is over, it’s time to store away all those winter clothes until next season. Follow these simple rules to keep your winter fashions looking good season after season.
•Wash and dryclean everything before storage. Some stains that are now invisible may darken with age. Dirt and food are also invitations to insects.

• Make all necessary repairs—sew sagging hemlines, replace missing buttons, and fix split seams— before cleaning and storing for the season.

•Store all items in a cool, well-ventilated area. Hot attics, damp basements, and garages are to be avoided.

•Store away from natural and artificial light. A cool, dark closet is a good location for storage. Store woolens in cedar chests or other airtight containers. Second choices for storage are cloth or canvas bags and cardboard boxes. If you store your garments in a closet, drape a cloth sheet over your clothes to protect them from dust and light. Do not store leathers, furs, and woolens in plastic. Plastic encourages moisture, which can create mildew.

•Pack airtight containers (other than cedar chests) with mothballs suspended above or separate from the clothes—never place mothballs directly on the clothes. Cedar blocks or chips also discourage moths.

•To decrease wrinkles in sweaters, fold them and wrap in white tissue paper before storing. If you hang your sweaters, fold over the cross bar to avoid shoulder stretches. Down, like all winter clothing, should be cleaned (either washed or drycleaned according to the care label) before storage. Down should be stored loosely to allow for air circulation.

•Furs should be stored on a wellpadded hanger in a cool, dark place, ideally with a professional fur storage company or a St Croix Cleaners with fur storage capacity.

•If you do not have proper storage space, ask us about box storage. You can get your clothes cleaned and properly stored all at the same time.

 

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The History and Style of Golf Fashion

Have you ever wondered why golfers dress the way they do? What makes each golfers look stand out from the rest? Let’s dive into the fashion of the past and some of the crazy styles currently!

In the early 19th and 20th centuries golfers would wear knickers or short pants that ended below the knee and heavy tweed jackets. Their ensembles would also include starch shirts, neckties and matching tweed caps. Golf wear was meant to show authority and wealth, and the more formal the outfit the more money you had. Sometimes these jackets were brightly colored to warn passersby of flying golf balls. As the years went on the tweed jacket switched to a cotton single-breasted jacket because of the heat, and the knickers moved on to flannel trousers. They were often white or gray since men usually went golfing after a day at the office. Around the 1930s, Neckties were no longer worn. By the 1940s the heat was becoming unbearable and the styles of today’s golf wear were introduced. Men wore short-sleeved knitted shirts and lightweight slacks similar to today’s age.

Women’s fashion back in the day was the opposite of light and comfortable. Women in the 19th and 20th century were not allowed to play golf as a competitive sport but only as a leisure activity. Victorian golf dresses included crinolines, bustles, and multiple petticoats not to mention heels. With all those layers it was not easy to get a swing in! It wasn’t until the 1920s that woman could have fewer layers while golfing. They were allowed to wear a single layer skirt cut below the knee and stocking with a suit style jacket. Golf shoes for women were still not invented, and in many photographs, they were still shown wearing heels. 1933, was the first time women were seen wearing trousers on the course. It was considered incredibly scandalous and didn’t become common dress until the 1960s.

In today’s age, most golf courses require men to wear a collared shirt, and women must wear a similar style, but they are not required to have a collar. Pants should long and made out of a cotton or polyester or shorts with a pleated or flat front. Traditional workout clothes are not permitted on most golf courses for both men and woman. Footwear is an essential part of the game; the shoes should have spikes on the sole. Many courses require a soft spike made out of plastic or rubber to not damage the course. Hats are not required, but are worn by most golfers to protect them from the sun! Baseball caps and visors are the most popular on the course, but there are no formal rules on golf headwear.

Now a day’s golf fashion is trendier than ever! With major fashion houses designing stylish options, and companies like Loud Mouth Golf making funky alternatives to the traditional look, you can style your look on the course in some many different ways! Regardless of what you wear on the course let us take care of the cleaning afterward!

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What’s up with Dryer Sheets?

Dryer Sheets: How they’re Made and Why we use them.

You use them every laundry day, but do you really know why? Are dryer sheets doing anything to your clothes or just a force of habit? Let St Croix Cleaners break it down from the beginning.

Dryer Sheers were invented in the late 1960s, by Conrad Gaiser and his wife Audrey.  They lived on the top floor of an apartment duplex with the laundry all the way on the ground floor.  Audrey would have to run at the last minute to get the fabric softener in the load before it dried completely! Conrad, who worked in the cleaning industry for quite some time wanted to make things easier on his wife.  He applied fabric softer to a piece of scrap fabric and named his creation the Tumble Puff.  (Source: C&EN)  He sold his invention to Proctor & Gamble in 1969 and after a few changes, it became known as the Bounce dryer sheet we see in stores today!

Now, what are they really doing to your clothing?  For the most part, dryer sheets break down the static electricity in clothes.  When two materials rub together like a sweater & a top they can build up an electrical charge.  This can cause the loss of electrons from one fabric to another.  With too few electrons the items get a positive charge, and with too many, the garment gets a negative charge.  As the saying goes  “Opposites Attract” therefore the two garments stick together.  Dryer Sheets prevent this process from happening by balancing the electrons with positive ions.  They also reduce the soap residue that may be left on the garments from washing.  When soap residue is left on the garments, soap eventually breaks down the fibers, giving your clothes a shorter lifespan.

How are dryer sheets made? They start off as a non-woven polyester material coated with a softening agent and fragrance.  There is very little difference between brands, usually only the surfactant that is used is different.  A surfactant is a compound of fatty acids that contains a positive charge.  (Source: ACS) Some dryer sheets may also contain a calcium clay, this just protects your clothing from getting any stains from the fabric softener on the dryer sheet if it releases the surfactant to early!

If you don’t want to use a dryer sheet, the best way to reduce the electricity is take your clothes out of the dryer before they dry completely.  Water is an excellent conductor so it gets rid of the charge before it can build up.  There are also lots of recipes online for homemade dryer sheets that are a bit softer on your clothes and the environment for those not wanting to use the store bought dryer sheet.

Whether you use a dryer sheet for just the laundry, for everything from the kitchen sink, or not at all, the dryer sheet has a long and interesting history! The laundry world is always coming up with new things, we can’t wait to see where the future of dryer sheets will take us!

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