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Friday, October 28, 2011

Leather & Suede Cleaning Tips

Leather and suede garments are very expensive, and they require special care to keep them clean and looking like new. Proper leather cleaning begins at home, with these tips on preventing damage to your leather garments:

  • With leather jackets and coats, wearing a scarf will protect the neck area from absorbing body oils and perspiration. This area is usually the first to become discolored from these contaminants.

  • Avoid spraying hair care products or perfumes and colognes while wearing a leather piece, as these will spot or stain the leather and can remove or change colors in dyed leathers. If necessary, cover your shoulders with a towel to prevent contact by these products, and allow sufficient time for them to dry before removing the protective towel.

  • Never attach adhesive name tags or tape, or use pins on a leather garment. The adhesive will probably stain the leather and a pin hole will not "repair itself" like it will on a cotton shirt or other garments.

  • If leather gets wet, allow it to air dry thoroughly at room temperature and away from any heat sources to avoid excessive drying or shrinkage.

  • Remove just-cleaned leathers from the poly bag as soon as you arrive home. The bag is intended to protect the garment during transport, but is not for storage. Storing leather in plastic prevents it from "breathing", and may result in mildewing or drying and cracking.

  • Store leather garments in a cool, dry place and allow room for the garment to "breathe".

  • If staining occurs, do not attempt any means of stain removal yourself, as you could cause more damage than you think. Remove any large amounts of the stain by blotting with a white towel, then get the piece to your professional dry cleaner as soon as possible. The longer a stain remains untreated, the more difficult it will be to remove.

  • Bring in all pieces of multi-piece outfits at the same time. The cleaning process will alter the appearance somewhat, but cleaning them together lessens the likelihood of there being a visible difference. 
 Railroad Cleaners specializes in leather and suede cleaning, bring us your leather or suede garments to keep them looking new.
    Another aspect of leather care begins at the time of purchase of a new leather garment. Some things to keep in mind when buying leather are:

    • Purchase from a reputable retailer who will stand behind their products.
    • While shopping for multi-piece garments, pay extra attention to the "match" of the pieces, not only in color, but in the texture of the garments. These are natural skins, so no two can ever be identical; but careful manufacturing processing, tanning & coloring, and matching similar skins will show in a quality product.
    • Select a slightly larger garment than you normally wear, since the first cleaning will shrink the tension applied during manufacturing, as will normal aging during wear.
    • Locate the care label on the garment. All leather and suede will refer to a "leather care process". But be aware of any special care instructions, such as removal of trim or ornamentation, that may make the price of cleaning substantially higher. 

    The Cleaning Lady
      Railroad Cleaners
      2195 Railroad Ave 
      Pittsburg, CA 94565

        Monday, October 17, 2011

        Storing garments for the Off-Season

        Here in California our seasons don't change that drastically, but they do change, and people's wardrobes change according to the weather and temperature. This means that, for an extended part of each year, groups of garments must be put away until their season arrives. Improper storage of your off-season wardrobe, though, can cause irreparable damage. Following are some typical problems you may encounter, and advice on preventing the damage. 

        Yellow Stains: Stains that are invisible when they occur, left on a garment during storage, will oxidize with age and appear as yellow, orange, or even brown. Juices, soft drinks, beer, white wine, tea or coffee, and other beverages or foods containing sugars can cause stains to develop during storage. The longer the stain is allowed to age, the more difficult it will be to remove. Natural fibers tend to retain stains more tenaciously, too, like cotton, wool, and silk. Prevention is the best "cure". When you get a stain, take the garment to us as soon as possible, and point out and identify the stained area. We have special stain removal agents that may remove, or at least minimize, the stain. 

        Mildew: Mildew will develop on garments that are stored in damp or humid conditions. It has a musty odor and appears as black, grey, purple, or yellow specks with an irregular pattern. Mildew not only stains, it actually deteriorates the fibers of your garments, especially natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, and leather. Once established, mildew growth can only be completely stopped by washing in chlorine bleach. Unfortunately, this is not safe on many fabrics and can remove color. The odor associated with mildew can be removed using an ozone treatment. To prevent mildew, store your clean, dry garments in a well-ventilated, climate controlled, dehumidified area. 

        Insect Damage: When stains are left on garments, especially food, beverage, perspiration, and body oils, insects like clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae, and silverfish are attracted to the stain. Consequently, their efforts to eat the staining material will cause damage to the garment's fibers. Sometimes, a hole is apparent immediately; sometimes damaged fibers are flushed away during a subsequent cleaning, causing the hole to appear. There is no way to repair this type damage, but you can help prevent it by having your garments cleaned before storing them in a cool, dry place. Cedar chests and moth balls are effective, too. While there is an odor associated with cedar and moth balls, it can be eliminated by airing out or washing. 

        Light Fading: Many dyes are sensitive to prolonged exposure to sunlight, and even to a light left on in a closet. Silks are especially susceptible, and fading can occur in a relatively short time. Light fading is typically evident on only one side of the fabric, and also only where an edge is exposed to the light source. Fading cannot be corrected, so do not store items in direct sunlight, and remember to turn off closet lights. 

        The Cleaning Lady

        Railroad Cleaners
        2195 Railroad Ave 
        Pittsburg, CA 94565

        Thursday, October 13, 2011

        FRESH Stains Make the Best EX-Stains

        Time waits for nothing--including your stained garments.  Studies by the International Fabricare Institute (IFI) prove that the sooner you bring your stained garment to a professional dry cleaner, the more likely it can be removed.

         Age of Stain:        Probability of Removal:

        Within 24 Hours      90% or better
        Within 7 Days       79.8%
        Within 21 Days     53.1% 

        Something else you might not know: By attempting to remove a stain with a household stain removal remedy on certain fabrics and substances, you could be unknowingly setting the stain, making it difficult or even impossible for your professional dry cleaner to remove.
        At Railroad Cleaners, we have chemical agents, equipment and experience superior to any household solution you might try.  Don't take chances with your garments-- take them to us instead.

        The Cleaning Lady

        Railroad Cleaners
        2195 Railroad Ave 
        Pittsburg, CA 94565

        The Myth of Frequent Cleanings

        The myth that too-frequent cleaning can damage garments has been around for many years. Perhaps this thought comes from people who have washed and dried items at home, especially brightly colored garments, and after several washings noticed a color loss, shrinkage or other distortion. While this may be true for garments cleaned in a domestic washer and drier, it is certainly not true of garments that are processed at your dry cleaner. Here are some points to remember when comparing washing to dry cleaning:

        • Dry cleaning is gentle on your clothes. The special chemistry involved in dry cleaning, a process that uses virtually no moisture, has no swelling or shrinking effect on garment fibers. 

        • The "chemistry" of dry cleaning is extremely gentle on the dyes and other finishes of your garments, such as embossing, polishing, waterproofing, and wrinkle-resistance. 

        • Dry cleaning's lower cleaning and drying temperatures are substantially gentler to your garments. The higher drying temperatures necessary for laundered items combined with tumbling and agitation can cause noticeable garment shrinkage and color fading. 

        It may sound crazy, but professional dry cleaning will actually prolong the life of a garment. Timely cleaning can remove spots and stains that would otherwise become permanent with age. Ground-in dirt acts as an abrasive, causing rapid wear of fibers. Also, insects are attracted to food particles on your clothes and can cause irreparable damage. Professional stain removal and cleaning eliminate these problems, and professional pressing will keep your garments looking as close to new as possible. A properly cared-for garment will wear out from use or go out of style before the effects of cleaning could cause any damage.

        You have a lot of money and emotions invested in your wardrobe. Trust professional garment care to extend the life and maintain the quality of your investment.

        The Cleaning Lady

        Railroad Cleaners
        2195 Railroad Ave 
        Pittsburg, CA 94565

        *-- This has been proven by studies conducted by two North Carolina universities on the effects of dry cleaning on wool fabrics. Wool was chosen because it is sensitive and costly, and is typically not able to be cleaned at home. These studies concluded that dry cleaning has no adverse effects on wool.