Dealing with the New Orleans heat is never easy—on you or your clothes. Even when wearing the lightest fabrics, it’s impossible not to sweat in the sweltering heat. Then, you have to deal with sweat stains, food stains, makeup, and anything else that normally gets on your clothes. On top of it all, most summer fabrics are notorious for being light, airy, and easily damaged. So, how can you look good and feel good without destroying your favorite clothing?
To answer this question, we talked to Chris Sander and Greg Guarino, the General Manager and On-Site Manager of OneCleaner’s, a premier drycleaner for the New Orleans area operating out of Metairie. The company is certified by the Green Cleaners Council and is regularly evaluated for its practices of environmental sustainability, which include water conservation, less air and solid waste emissions, wet cleaning capabilities, recycling, reuse, and reliance on biodegradable packaging, and a host of other eco-friendly technologies. They are also affiliated with the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, a national organization that prides itself on cleaning and preserving wedding gowns. One Cleaners is an expert in the restoration and preservation of wedding gowns, meaning that they are exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to light, easily damaged fabrics.
The advice the experts at One Cleaners gave us about keeping your clothes in shape was surprisingly straightforward. First off, we asked how to keep the light, breathable, but easily damaged fabrics safe from harm. “Don’t try to keep them safe, just try to take care of them,” advised Chris Sander, “You can’t ask people not to sweat, and that’s where the real damage is done. It’s just too hard to try to keep things clean while you’re wearing them. Proper cleaning will extend the life of your valued garments, and that’s what we do best.”
Apparently, the reason that sweat stains are so hard to remove lies in the fact that sweat is comprised primarily of water and salt. “Water stains are the hardest things to get out, generally. You get water, and you put it on a garment, a towel, a drape, anything, and it sits in the sun, it bakes or cooks in,” said Greg Guarino, “That’s the hardest thing to get out—literally water, as innocent at you’d think water would be. The salinity with the moisture of the water is why sweat stains are so hard to remove.”
Sweat is not the only type of stain that plagues nice clothing during the summer months. Sander informed me that food stains are also very common during the summer, no doubt thanks to barbecues and outdoor celebrations. The problem with food stains is that often they are oil-based instead of water-based. This means that some of the traditional stain removers that work perfectly well on water will actually cause the oil stains to “set in” after washing. They’ll become more attached to the clothing and will be harder to remove, even for professionals. “If you have something that you really like, you always want to be careful and take it to the professionals,” noted Guarino.
For clothes that you’re less attached to, like t-shirts, blue jeans, and other casual items, there are some home remedies that you can try. Guarino explained to us that One Cleaners uses a hydrogen peroxide solution to do a lot of stain fighting. “It’s safer [than bleach] for the environment, and for us, and it evaporates.”
Even though the readily available hydrogen peroxide is weaker than what One Cleaners uses, it is nonetheless effective against many common stains. “One of the best things to mention is using hydrogen peroxide for bloodstains. You can use the hydrogen peroxide out of your cabinet, and you don’t need anything special,” said Guarino. He also mentioned that using soda water and citrus juice right after a spill will help keep stains from setting in, though it will not help to remove stains if they’re already dry. The great part about both of these remedies is that they require everyday items and work on both water-based and oil-based stain varieties.
Throughout our conversation, Guarino stressed that if you have clothing that you’re really attached to or that was expensive, it’s best to take it straight to the professionals as soon as possible. Though home remedies are great for low-cost or casual items, no one wants to risk their higher-ticket garments. Finally, Guarino said that there are few if any fabrics that don’t make the trade-off between sturdy and breezy. “You’re always going to have to sacrifice durability for lightness.” He mentioned that getting a piece of clothing to stand the test of time is more about taking care of the clothing than choosing the fabric itself—much like a car, the better you take care of it, the longer it will last you.
To find out about Free Pickup/Delivery Service, or more information about how to care for your clothes, visit the One Cleaners website.