- “I love dressing up for the holidays, but always seem to mess up the outfit while dressing. What can I do?”
A. A few simple steps can help avoid stains and snags on holiday clothing. If you use make-up, hairspray, perfume, nail polish or cologne, remember that they contain such ingredients as alcohol, dyes, oils, etc. that can damage fabrics. To help avoid stains, put these on before getting dressed and let them dry for at least five minutes before putting on your clothes. If that’s not feasible, take a moment to cover up your clothes with a towel before you spray, spritz or apply. Put on jewelry, including earrings, after you’ve dressed and remove them before undressing. This will help prevent irritating snags. Also, remove all pins and brooches before putting away the clothes for the season.
- “Can you please provide some tips for common holiday mishaps – like spilling a drink or gravy on my suit or candle wax on my tablecloth?”
A. They happen to all of us. A spilled drink at a party, candle wax on the tablecloth, or gravy on a new suit. Here are a few helpful tips:
- The spilled drink: Never rub a stain. Blot gently with a dry cloth to absorb the spill. Do not apply water or liquid. If the stain is oily, this will set it and if it is water-based, you may spread it. The sooner you have your garment cleaned, the more likely the stain can be removed. Be sure to tell your drycleaner the source of the stain.
- Candle wax on the tablecloth: Place a bag of ice on the wax to freeze it; then remove as much as you. Place the area stained with wax between paper towels or pieces of brown paper and press with a warm iron to absorb the wax, shifting the bag as it absorbs the wax.
- Gravy: Scoop off as much as you can to contain the spill. Follow the clothing care instructions and always test the color-fastness of the fabric before attempting any type of stain removal. If the garment is dry-cleanable, it should be handled professionally. If not, blot the stain with cold water and mild detergent, then rinse. If the stain persists, take a small amount of powdered detergent and mix with one ounce of non-sudsing household ammonia to form a paste and apply to the stained area for 5 to 10 minutes, then launder as usual. Caution: DO NOT USE this procedure on silk or wool garments. For these fabrics, use a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly.
- “After wearing my white formal shirt, I noticed that there was a black streak on the collar? Could this be from my silk bow tie?”
A. Yes, moisture or perspiration on your tie can cause the dye to run onto the collar of your shirt. The good news is that most dyes that have run onto white garments can be corrected or improved by the drycleaner.
- “I’m a devotee of bohemian chic and found a great velvet top with a lace insert last year. I had it cleaned and thought I stored it correctly, but it is quite wrinkled. Can I press it?”
A. Pressing velvet can be tricky. First and foremost, read and follow the clothing care label instructions. You may be able to steam from the underside of the garment at home, but be careful. The steam can saturate the garment quickly and humidity and moisture can flatten the standing fibers of velvet. You, or anything else, should not touch it until it is totally dry. Another option is to have it professionally pressed by your drycleaner.
- “The lace trim on my party dress became frayed and began to unravel after cleaning. What can I do?”
A. This type of damage usually occurs on relatively new garments when the trim is not properly secured during manufacturing. Professional drycleaners place trimmed garments in nylon net bags and shorten the cleaning cycle to minimize the agitation of cleaning. However, if the manufacturer has not properly secured the trim, even these precautions will not prevent damage. As long as you have followed the care label instructions, you can seek payment or a replacement garment from the manufacturer. Quality drycleaners usually have a care letter that they will submit on your behalf.
- “I’m a bit of a klutz. Can you remind me what I should do if I spill a drink at a party so I don’t ruin my clothes?”
A. It happens to all of us. Never rub a stain. Blot gently with a dry cloth to absorb the spill. Do not apply water or liquid. If the stain is oily this will set it and if it is water-based, you may spread it. The sooner you have your garment cleaned, the more likely the stain can be removed. Be sure to tell your drycleaner the source of the stain.
- “I understand that velvet is a popular choice for holiday fashion. I have a great black velvet dress but the velvet is flattened in areas. What can be done?”
A. Velvet is an elegant fabric, but it requires careful care. True velvet is usually made from rayon, silk, acetate or a blend of these fibers. Moisture and pressure can cause shine and permanently flatten the raised fibers of velvet. Hangers and clips will flatten velvets as will folds and creases and in many cases, they cannot be restored. Bring your dress into the drycleaner and ask for their opinion.
- “My boss is hosting an evening cocktail holiday party for our top clients at his home. I just bought an elegant black velvet dress that I hope to keep for years to come. What should I do?”
A. Velvet is a rich and luxurious fabric that is perfect for the holidays. There are different types of velvet and some wear better than others. True velvet is typically made of rayon, acetate, silk or a blend of these fibers, whereas velveteen is usually made of cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. Velvet is tricky to care for and can flatten, mat, shrink or lose its pile. Crushed velvet can lose its shape simply from normal wear.
So the life of your dress will depend upon the quality of the velvet and how you care for it.
Here are some care tips:
- If your dress gets wet, don’t apply pressure, as this will flatten the pile. Shake spills from the garment and allow to dry.
- Read and follow the clothing care label instructions.
- Do not press velvets. You may be able to steam from the underside of the garment at home or hang in the bathroom, but be careful. The steam can saturate the garment quickly and humidity and moisture can flatten the standing fibers of velvet.
- Clean the dress immediately after wearing.
- Hang the dress in a well-ventilated closet after wearing.
- “I have a deep burgundy long satin skirt that I dearly love to wear to special holiday events. I noticed that parts of the waistband seem to have changed color – from red to purple. Why did this happen?”
A. Satin is a beautiful fabric with a fabulous drape that is elegant for holiday wear. Common causes of color changes are perspiration and perfume that contain alkaline chemicals. Deluster occurs from rubbing and breaking the fibers, causing a change in sheen and possible loss of color. Satin is very fragile so it is best to get your drycleaner’s opinion as to whether the color change can be corrected.