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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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!