Slipcover strategies.

To refresh linen, cotton or synthetic fabric that’s been preshrunk and colorfast, you can machine-wash slipcovers.  Launder separate from other articles on gentle in color water with an all-purpose detergent. Air dry or tumble on low, then reposition on the furniture while slightly damp to minimize wrinkles and help with fit if there’s any shrinkage. Drycleaning is almost always a preferred way to clean slipcovers and cushion covers – we can spot stubborn stains and make sure there’s no shrinkage.

A little softener goes a long way.

Soap-like fabric softeners coat laundry with a waxy lubricant that lets the fibers slide past each other, reducing wrinkling and smoothing scratchiness. They also make napped fibers stand on end for fluffiness and reduce static cling caused by tumbling in the dryer.  Over time, the waxy coating can create a dingy look and reduce absorbency in towels and sports fabrics designed to wick moisture. For whiter whites and brighter colors, use a high-performance laundry detergent (like we use every day) and skip the softener.

Laundry myths.

Add more detergent for cleaner clothes?  Wrong, when there’s too much to rinse out you get dingy results and may damage your machine. Hotter water is better?  In fact, today’s laundry products are formulate to work as well with cold water. Hot water can actually set stains, and always costs more.

Pet laundry?

You can safely home launder pet bed covers, collars and leashes using the gentle cycle, cold water and an all-purpose laundry detergent. Throw in grimy washable toys. Use small loads with large-load settings to flush out hair and dirt. Tumble dry on lowest setting or air dry.

Chocolate stains.

Chocolate contains cocoa’s dark tannins and cocoa butter’s oiliness. On washable items, remove the grease with undiluted laundry detergent dabbed on the stain, let sit 5 minutes and rinse with warm water. Now apply color-safe bleach to the remaining water-soluble tannin stains. We can help with washable and with dry-clean only items, our stain experts can get the chocolate out of almost everything.

Grandma’s laundry secret.

Good old-fashioned vinegar’s back! This inexpensive miracle worker gives brighter, cleaner, fresher laundry. For instance, it removes sweat and deodorant stains, replaces fabric softener to reduce static, and boosts detergent power while eliminating buildup from powdered cleaners. Add a half cup distilled white vinegar to your next load and see the difference.

Work off that extra slice.

Get ready for the post-turkey workout. According to Men’s Fitness, the easiest way to keep your gym clothes fresh is presoaking. Most workout garments are made with fibers that repel water, like Spandex and Lycra, so you need to presoak in a half-gallon warm water mixed with 1 ounce laundry detergent and the juice of a lemon. The lemon’s citric acid helps break down oily buildup. Gently scrub armpits, neckline and any other stained or odorific areas before soaking overnight. Then launder regularly in warm water with a white vinegar finishing rinse instead of fabric softener. Or bring the whole pile to us for professional stain removal and laundering. We know how to get the stank out, that’s our job.

Thanksgiving leftovers?

If candles dripped on the tablecloth, let everything cool and peel the wax off with your fingers. If it’s stubborn, freeze the tablecloth, then scrape off the wax with a credit card. Wash in hot water to remove remaining embedded wax. Better yet, and a lot easier, bring your table linens to us for expert stain removal, professional laundering or dry cleaning. They’ll come back clean and wrinkle-free, ready for the next celebration.

Corduroy classic.

Autumn favorite, corduroy needs special cleaning care to preserve the rich velvety pile and prevent shrinking. If your corduroy garment is washable, check the label before throwing it in the wash. Never wash with lint producers like fleece, felt or terry. Use the right water temperature, wash like colors together and turn the garment inside out. Then air dry until barely damp, tumble dry for ten minutes at lowest temperature to fluff the nap. Pull from dryer and shake out, turn back right side out and brush nap to remove any lint or surface wrinkles. Or skip all that and let us clean your corduroy for like-new results.

Pet hair management.

Consumer Reports cautions that pet hair can clog a washing machine, preventing proper drainage, clumping in drains or sticking to the side of the machine. They recommend you remove the hair from clothes with a lint roller or masking tape. For bedding, put on a rubber glove, dampen it with water, and run your hand over the sheet or blanket. The hair will cling to the glove, so you’ll need to wash it off from time to time. Then run everything through a ten-minute no-heat dryer cycle – most of the hair will be in the lint trap. Throw into the washer, adding 1/2-cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Clean the washer by running an empty cycle, then wipe down the tub with a damp cloth.