Category Archives: Blog
Spring Cleaning Household Items – Have You Done It?
Open those windows and let the sun shine in! But be careful where those rays go because they could fade some of the more integral parts of your home environment.
Sometimes we forget about some of the household items that blend into our homes so well that they become a part of the scenery. These items collect dust and dirt and become damaged, faded or discolored in their relative inactivity. Since we see them everyday, gradual changes happen without our noticing. Then, one day, the realization sets in and our perception of the item’s value sinks.
Guest room items are often overlooked, as many comforters on guest room beds become sun faded from being in direct sunlight. Draperies, upholstery, rugs, and pillows all fade into the background. While these items brighten our homes, they are collecting dust, grime, food crumbs, and stains.
We’re a professionally-trained fabric care business with the knowledge and equipment to help you care for your household items so you can enjoy them even longer. Here are some tips you can use to get the most out of home items that are such an important part of our daily lives.
Comforters rarely become soiled as they rest atop the other blankets and coverings on a bed, but sooner or later they will acquire some kind of staining or collect enough dust to warrant a cleaning. Comforters left in direct sunlight can become discolored or faded due to the direct light on the dye. It is best to keep comforters and heirloom quilts out of direct light to prevent
We can process your comforters and quilts and get the dust and grime out of them safely. Many comforters will not fit into a home washer and dryer, and therefore won’t be cleaned properly.
Handmade quilts are especially susceptible to dye bleeding since the fabric components of the quilt may vary. We test each part of the quilt to ensure no bleeding will ruin it.
Blankets are available in many fibers and construction types. These include wool, cotton, acrylic, polyester, and polyurethane. A blanket’s construction plays a direct role in its thermal qualities and should be cleaned in a way that will protect its ability to contain heat. We are skilled in the methods of cleaning blankets to preserve their heat retaining qualities and appearance.
Upholstery fabrics used for furniture are usually used to cover decorative pillows. Occasionally, pillows are also made to match draperies or other home furnishings. Most of these items are not supposed to be cleaned unless the manufacturer recommends a procedure. This is a task best left to us as we can help you get them clean without destroying them. Ask us for help when you find your items may require cleaning.
The fabric covering for stuffed furniture and cushions is known as upholstery. Upholstery cannot readily be removed for cleaning, as the fabric is usually nailed onto the frame of the furniture. Furniture covers on cushions usually contain a zipper, but the zipper is there for the convenience of the manufacturer, not for cleaning purposes. Most manufacturers never expect the cover to be removed from the cushion during use of cleaning.
Upholstery is made from numerous fibers or fiber blends, and many include latex or similar coating on the reverse side. This coating gives the fabric extra body, stabilizes the weave, and prevents shallow seams from unraveling during use. Do not remove the stuffing from cushions for cleaning.
Draperies are often left hanging for years before they are taken in for cleaning. Often, exposure to sunlight and changing temperatures lead to fabric damage in the drapes. In time, soil and dust in the room, as well as outside atmospheric dirt and gasses from industry, automobile, and construction, may soil the drapes. Many of these soils can be removed through careful cleaning practices.
Water stains are caused when moisture from condensation on the window, humidity or spilled liquids causes the soils to disperse, leaving a stained area.
Moisture may also be responsible for displacing drapery sizing. After the moisture evaporates, a ring or streak may be noticeable because any solvent-soluble soils will be removed. You may notice discoloration due to light combining with oxygen, which tears down certain chemicals in fibers.
Professional cleaners like us can get water stains out of drapes, but only if the drapes can withstand the process. Ask us about your drapes before you decide to have them cleaned.
Probably the main complaint we hear is that the drapes have yellowed in general or possibly yellowed more noticeably in certain areas of drapes. Most fibers have a natural tendency toward slow oxidation and yellowing both from aging and from atmospheric exposure. Any drapery material used to cover a window is exposed to both direct and indirect lighting. Some fabrics are treated with sizing or finishes to impart body. Some of these sizings oxidize and yellow with age. In some cases this yellowing is more pronounced on the leading edge or fold of the drape. This indicates a greater exposure to atmospheric gases, smoke fumes, and cooking oils.
Together, we can get the most out of your household items just by remembering they’re there. The best way to prevent excessive damage or fading is to rotate a few different sets of drapes, blankets or comforters periodically, or with the seasons. Keep furniture out of direct light to minimize fading. This will not only brighten the look of your home, but it will ensure that you get the most mileage out of your household items.
We appreciate the opportunity to make your clothes (and you!) look and feel their very best. We look forward to working with you to keep your wardrobe at its finest.
March RICKstar – Employee of the Month!
Congratulations to Taylor for winning this month’s RICKstar! Pam works at our Jollyville Road location and exemplifies what it means to be a team player! She brings a smile to her customers (and us!) and always gives her best.
If you see Taylor at our Parmer Lane location make sure to give her a well deserved “Great Job!”
January RickSTAR – Employee of the Month
Congratulations to Pam for winning this month’s RickSTAR! Pam works at our Jollyville Road location and exemplifies what it means to be a team player! She brings a smile to her customers (and us!) and always gives her best.
If you are a customer at our Jollyville location please give Pam a high-five for a much deserved award!
Ways to Take Care of Your Clothes and Make Them Last Longer
You’re someone who cares about your clothing and how you look, so we thought we should share some tips to help better take care of your clothes and make them last longer!
1. Pay Attention to Laundering
That tag found on the neck or down the side seam of your shirt is not for decoration: It gives you a garment’s laundering instructions, which are designed to ensure that it stays in great shape.
These are some general techniques to keep in mind as you hang out in the laundromat or laundry room.
- Wash Dark Clothing Inside-Out. Dark-wash jeans, black blouses, and other darker material can become faded in the wash, particularly as it rubs up against other garments. Always launder your washer-safe dark clothes inside-out to ensure they hold their color.
- Invest in a Clothesline or Drying Rack. If you don’t have a place to line-dry your clothes, they usually end up in the dryer – a death knell for line-dry-only garments. A clothesline only costs a few dollars and it can also help you save on energy costs. If you don’t have the yard or the climate to dry clothes outside, a drying rack for your laundry room is only about $20.
- Wash Metal Separately. Buttons and zippers often find their way into the wash, but can become seriously hot in the dryer, which can lead to scorching and melting on your other clothes. Wash clothing with metal components separately and never with delicate clothes, such as silks or knits.
- Go Color-Safe. Is there anything more frustrating than ruining clothes with bleach? While it helps make your whites whiter, it can also stain colored clothes and damage delicate fibers. Swap your regular bleach for a color-safe alternative, which is also gentler on fabric.
2. Practice Good Storage Habits
Whether you have a walk-in closet or a couple of shelves, the way you store your clothes can make them last for years or, alternatively, leave them looking misshapen and damaged in just a few months. Here’s how to store your clothes to make sure they last as long as possible:
- Fold Heavy Sweaters on a Shelf. While you might think that hanging is best for your expensive sweaters, heavier garments such as wool sweaters can actually stretch out when you hang them in your closet. Your best bet is to stack them folded on a shelf so they keep their shape – and save that precious hanger space.
- Button Buttons and Zip Zippers. I can’t count the number of times a wayward zipper on one garment has snagged or scratched the fabric on another while hanging in my closet. Sharp zipper teeth, studs, and even buttons can catch on clothes and result in damage, so make sure they’re fastened when you hang them in your closet.
- Invest in Better Hangers. Sure, you can score wire hangers from your dry cleaner for free, but they’re not made for long-term storage. Wire and plastic hangers can stretch out the shoulders of your garments, which means they won’t lay nicely on your body. Consider investing in better hangers with wood or plush arms, which help garments keep their shape.
- Give Clothes Some Breathing Room. Even if you’re short on space, resist the urge to pack your closet full of clothes. Squishing a ton of items next to each other can result in wrinkling and fading as the fabrics are constantly mashed together. If you’re having to squish hangers and garments just to squeeze in another shirt, it may be time to look into other storage solutions. For example, a standalone armoire can help reduce some of the pressure on a bulging closet.
- Think Cool and Dry. Excess moisture and heat can encourage mold growth – even on clothes. The mantra for your closet should be “cool and dry.” Never store clothes in a humid bathroom or moist basement closet.
3. Adjust Your Dryer
If you were to name the appliance in your home most damaging to clothes, it would definitely be the dryer. The heat can scorch clothes and cause shrinking, fading, and even pilling. However, it’s hard to argue with the convenience it offers – you use the appliance because it saves you time.
If you want the best of both worlds, check your dryer settings – many allow you to configure temperature, timing, and dryness. You can try lowering the overall temperature and keeping the same dry time, taking clothes out while they’re still damp. Or, if you don’t have temperature settings, you could just set the timer for 15 minutes fewer than normal, then transfer your clothes to dry on a laundry rack. Taking clothes out of the dryer before they’re done also minimizes shrinking in many fabrics such as denim – so your jeans might actually fit better.
Voted 2018 Best Dry Cleaner in Austin
Thank You Austin! We are honored to be voted Austin’s Best Dry Cleaner by the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll! Our staff and our customers are amazing!
Removing Fabric Pills From Your Garments
Fabric pilling is frustrating, but it can be fixed most of the time! If you’re at home and looking for a way to fix it, start with your razor! Razors do a great job of removing fabric pills, but you have to be very careful when doing so to protect the integrity material and prevent from “shaving too thin.” Click here for more.
Shoutout: City Of Austin Small Business Lighting Rebate
We’d like to thank the City of Austin for supporting small business and allowing us to participate in their Small Business Lighting Program. The program is simple, effortless, best of all, you receive heavily discounted lighting upgrades to your facility. The ROI is quick and measurable without a 3rd party. The bright new lights helped us fight more stains! Check out Rick’s on South Lamar in a promo video that was featured at the 2018 Armadillo Awards for the Austin Independent Business Alliance! #buylocal #austin #flashinglights #austinbiz
Protect Your Clothes While Soaking Up the Sun
Protect Your Clothes While Soaking Up the Sun
Sometimes even the most innocent-looking products can bring worry to your relaxation wardrobe. Ward off unnecessary stress with these quick tips.
Potential Problem: Build-up from deodorant and antiperspirant products can cause fiber damage and yellowing. Blue and green on silk and wool are particularly prone. Aluminum chloride can weaken fibers in cotton, linen, rayon, and some synthetic blends, leaving holes during cleaning.
Clothing Care: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Avoid overuse and allow antiperspirant/deodorant to dry before dressing. Soiled garments should be washed or dry cleaned as soon as possible.
Sunblock and Suntan Lotions
Potential Problem: Dyes and oils in suntan/sunblock lotions can stain clothing. This color loss or change may not appear until after you clean your clothes.
Clothing Care: Avoid many stains by following the directions on the bottle, allow the lotions to dry before dressing, and wash your hands before handling clothes.
Potential Problem: Chlorine in pools, spas, and hot tubs can damage spandex used in swimwear.
Clothing Care: Rinse your suit after wearing and follow the care label’s instructions.
Potential Problem: Self-tanners may discolor anything they touch! Light tan, brown, or yellow staining on the cuffs, collar fold, and neckband, and upper button areas, are typical.
Clothing Care: Follow the instructions carefully, being sure to wash your hands immediately and allow your skin time to dry before dressing. If the product gets on your clothes, wash them as soon as possible, as these stains can be difficult to remove.
Potential Problem: Repellents usually will not damage most fibers; however, some products contain alcohol and can cause color loss or color change on fabrics such as acetate and rayon.
Clothing Care: Read the label carefully, especially if applying directly to clothing.
Rick’s Cleaners is a Top 3 Finalist for 2018 Austin American Statesman Best of the Best!
Preliminary results are in, and Rick’s was voted one of the top 3 finalists for the 2018 Best Dry Cleaners in Austin by the Austin American Statesman! This contest features all kinds of businesses, and allows them a chance to showcase themselves in their respective category. Winners are announced next month! Good luck to other local Austin businesses in the running! #bestofthebest #localdrycleaner #statesman
Recycle Your Hangers at Rick’s!
Do you have wire hangers taking up too much closet space? Load them up and bring them to Rick’s! A new customer of ours called this week to see if we would recycle her wire hangers because it was crowding her closet space. We’re happy to recycle them for you! We have convenient hanger stands in each of our lobbies, and have been recycling hangers and plastics (poly bags used to cover your clothing) for years!
Did You Know? You cannot recycle wire hangers in your at-home recycle bins. In fact, the City of Austin endorses dry cleaners as the best place to take them.
Sad Fact: Huffington Post says on average, Americans throw away 81 pounds per year in clothing and textiles. That amounts to 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes ending up in landfills, but it doesn’t have to be like that =(. Donating unwanted clothes helps people and stimulates the economy at the same time! The article states that “contributing to the secondhand industry helps to infuse money into the economy. By extending the life cycle of secondhand clothing, the reuse industry employs nearly 100,000 workers and creates $1 billion in wages in the U.S. alone.”
Closed July 4th in Honor of Independence Day
We are closed July 4th in honor of Independence Day and re-open Thursday at 7am.
Dry Clean Schedule Change:
Dry clean dropped Tuesday is available for pickup on Thursday after 5pm
Laundry Schedule Change:
Laundry dropped Monday is available for pickup on Thursday after 5pm
Laundry dropped Tuesday is available for pickup on Friday after 5pm
Closed Monday May 28th in observance of Memorial Day
We are closed Monday, May 28th, in observance of Memorial Day!
A modified schedule of dry cleaning and laundry due dates is shown below:
Items dropped Saturday are due Tuesday after 5pm
Items dropped Tuesday are due Wednesday after 5pm
Items dropped Saturday are due Wednesday after 5pm
Items dropped Tuesday are due Thursday after 5pm
Have a great weekend!
It’s National Small Business Week!
Thanks for supporting small businesses in our community! Rick’s Cleaners owes our 31 years in business to you!
Home Remedies for Lipstick, Gum, and Chocolate
We get questions all of the time about home stain removal tips. Here are three home stain remedies we can share. You should know that trained professionals with specialized equipment can give their garments the best chance of a full restoration, BUT its fun to give it shot!
One home remedy for removing lipstick is to rub the stain with white bread. This may help, but it will leave behind some bread crumbs which may get embedded in the fibers of a soft fabric. A better technique is to use cleaning fluid. Place the stain face down on clean white paper towels. Apply cleaning fluid to the back of the stain and blot. Replace towels frequently. Dry thoroughly. If the stain is still visible, use a synthetic detergent and water.
To remove gum, harden the area with an ice cube and gently lift off any large pieces. Do not scrape with sharp objects that may damage fabric. Wet with cleaning fluid over a clean, white paper towel to remove the final traces. Another method is to use peanut butter. The oils will help “unstick” the gum. After a few minutes, the gum can be lifted off the fabric with a napkin or paper towel. Then wash the item using normal washing procedures. However, we caution you that oil from the peanut butter may leave stains (which can be removed with drycleaning).
Chocolate contains oils and sugars, both of which are difficult to remove. Blot with cold water. Apply an enzyme detergent and rinse with water. If the stain persists after this process, apply a household ammonia and rinse thoroughly. Do not apply ammonia to silk or wool fabrics. If the garment can be safely bleached, your customer’s final resort at home may be to bleach the area.
Irony – The Opposite of Wrinkly
We couldn't resist!