A few weeks ago the people that rock over at Meurice Garment Care let me answer some questions for their clients. This week Wayne Edelman, aka @ClothesDr, let me ask some of my own on behalf of you, my dear readers. Meurice is the only place I trust with my clients' Valentino gowns, but they will also do a spectacular job on your more everyday garments.
Lani: How do I keep my summer whites white? Sometimes they yellow.
Wayne: It can be a challenge to keep whites white - especially on delicate summer clothing. There's no foolproof method to care for whites (and depending on manufacturing process, some garments will yellow no matter what), but there are some steps you can take to improve your odds:
1. Wash whites only with other whites, on the highest temperature you can
2. For clothing in generally bright and clean condition, toss in a capful of hydrogen peroxide in the load
3. For clothing in dingy condition, use bleach containing Sodium Perborate.
Lani: How do I know what those weird care icons on the care instruction tag mean?
Wayne: This is an easy one. We've decoded the care instruction hieroglyphs here.
Lani: What is the best way to care for wool and cashmere sweaters?
Wayne: The short answer: hand wash. Some wool and wool blend sweaters can be machine-washed and hung to dry. Consult the care label, and proceed with caution, using a gentle cycle and cold water. When washing a sweater at home for the first time, I like to measure its dimensions armpit-to-armpit and collar-to-base, just to be sure there has been no shrinking. If the sweater does shrink a touch, don't despair! Soak it thoroughly and block it back to the old size by allowing it to dry while slightly stretched.
Cashmere and garments with substantial cashmere blends should onlly be washed by hand. I like to use tepid water and just a hint of baby shampoo.
Lani:I've heard that you shouldn't touch a stain before you bring it to the dry cleaner. But what if I can't get there for a few days and I splash balsamic vinegar or olive oil on my shirt at lunch?
Wayne: Yes, this is good advice. One of our pet peeves is cleaning a garment which has been made worse by a botched stain removal attempt. If it's just a couple days, however, you don't need to do anything. Blot the stain at the scene of the crime to soak up any excess from the spill and bring it in as soon as you get the chance.
Lani: Does grease from the taxi door ever come out? Should I even bother bringing it in to you?
Wayne: Yes, grease from taxi and other car doors will absolutely come out. This is a tricky stain to handle at home since the grease is a lubricant that does not break down in water. Immersion dry-cleaning, however, is safe for most garments, and will easily remove oil-based stains.
Lani: How do you clean a garment that has just a little bit of leather in it?
Wayne: Very carefully! It is safest to have this type of garment dry cleaned to prevent shrinkage of the leather. Depending on what colors and dyes are present in the garment (for instance, a white sweater with black leather trim would be very hazardous) it may be necessary to spot clean the garment to prevent the dye in the leather from becoming soluble and transferring into the textile.
Lani: Thanks so much @ClothesDr!