May 7, 2013
We’re all busy and multi-tasking helps us cram much into our packed schedules. Who hasn’t left for work after throwing the laundry in the dryer? Or, programed the dishwasher to run after everyone has gone to bed? What about starting a load of laundry while you run to the store so it’s ready for the dryer when you return?
Well, you’re not going to like the answer to our above question.
The fact is, it’s BAD to leave your house while an appliance is still on.
Faulty appliances cause about 9,600 residential house fires a year! FEMA states it also causes an estimated 25 deaths, 525 injuries and $211 million in property loss. If you’re not home during the first few seconds of an emergency, your house can go up in flames.
Here’s a list of the household appliances that can cause substantial damage if they are left on when no one is home:
Stoves and Ranges
Careless cooking fires are one of the leading causes of household fires in the United States. According to reports from the United States Fire Administration, nearly one-third of all home fires begin in the kitchen area. Cooking is also the leading cause of injuries from home fires. Always turn off the oven and the stove top, even if just running down the street for “a few minutes”.
Portable Electric Heaters
These can cause fires or electric shock if not used properly. Many factors can cause an electric heater to catch fire. If combustible materials, such as furniture, pillows, bedding, papers, clothes and curtains are less than three feet from the front, sides and rear of the heater or if the heater’s air intake or outlet is blocked, a fire can start. (For more info, see AHAM’s complete brochure).
WOW – These are the cause of about 500 fires in the country each year according to The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. During the heat/drying cycle the heating element could fail and cause a fire. As with many appliances, it won’t hurt to make sure the dishwasher is off when leaving the house. Or, at the very least, cancel the heat or dry cycle before leaving.
A dryer should never run when you are not home or while you are sleeping in case of a fire. More than 15,000 dryer fires break out each year. For more dryer tips consult our blog on how failure to clean your dryer could cause a house fire.
Aside from fires, leaky washing machine hoses can flood your laundry room if left unchecked for hours.
We know it will be tough but try not to utilize the above appliances if you are not going to be home to monitor them. Even if you have a newer appliance, accidents can happen. Major brands have recalled units in the past due to faulty mechanical pieces as a result of reported fires. It’s best to be safe than sorry!
April 2, 2013
It’s such a nice feeling when we no longer need to bundle up before leaving the house each day. Spring in the Midwest is so unpredictable, we never know when it will be the last day we’ll need our outerwear. We may hang them in the closet one day and then it’s months before we see them again. If we don’t hang them, store them and clean them correctly before storing them, they may not be in good condition when we reach for them again in the fall.
The biggest mistake once its too warm to wear your outerwear is to store them without having them cleaned. Whether it be down, wool, or leather, you risk long term damage if you store your coat dirty. Any stain will set permanently and be difficult to impossible to remove months later. Even clear stains such as perspiration, body oils, perfume, lotions, hair products, clear food & beverage spills can set permanently into the fibers and cause discoloration.
- We recommend having each coat dry cleaned before you put it away for the warmer season. Dry cleaning is the safest way to ensure that it will remain wearable for years to come.
- When you bring your coat to the dry cleaner, be sure to point out unusual or fragile trim, buttons that may discolor or crack, stains that need special treatment, and anything else that concerns you about cleaning your coat.
- Button up all buttons, check the snaps, and zip the zippers in case any repairs are needed. Also check that all the pockets are empty.
- Once clean you can store your coats on a wooden or padded hanger or folded in a plastic tote with a lid. DO NOT store Leather, however, folded in a plastic tote. Leather coats should be hung on a strong wooden, cedar or padded hanger.
- Store leather coats away from heat. They will expand when exposed to high heat. Once a leather coat expands, you cannot shrink the coat or restore it back to its original shape.
- To repel insects, look for cedar rings, blocks and sachets to place over your hangers and in the boxes. Cedar can lose their power after a while, so rub the cedar blocks or chips with sandpaper periodically to release new oils. Do not use moth balls as they are not as safe and their odor will linger on your clothing.
- Never store any coat in the dry cleaner plastic bags. To ward off dust if hanging coats in closet, you may use a cloth garment bag or one constructed with netting.
- Store in a clean, dry, well ventilated space. Don’t store in storage areas that are bug-addled or dirty (such as attics, garages and basements)—unless you want to throw the coats out next year.
Do you have any storage solutions to share? Any favorite storage products on the market that have helped you store your items safely? We’d love to share it with our customers.
From now until April 20, 2013 we’re offering $3.00 off each outerwear item. Bring them in to any of our 18 locations or simply leave them in the bag we provided you if you’re a customer on our free pick up and delivery route.
February 19, 2013
Sweaters are a winter time wardrobe staple but they need special care. They get a lot of use this time of year and may have cost you a bit so it’s worth the effort to take special care of them. To maintain your sweaters so they last year after year, follow these 5 essential steps:
1. Store your sweaters correctly: Store your sweaters dry & folded and do not store with moth balls. Use cedar balls or mixed herbal sachets as a safe alternative. Hanging a sweater will result in a larger sweater than the last time you put it on as it will stretch. Once the fibers are stretched out, it’s difficult to regain it’s original shape.
2. Limit the wear of your sweaters: Give your favorite sweaters a break by alternating them with other sweaters or jackets. Wearing a favorite too frequently, even though you love it, will cause it to lose shape or build up hard-to-remove perspiration stains. If you wear another garment under the sweater, you can usually wear it a few times before it needs washing. If you wear it close to your body, you should expect to clean it after one to two wearings.
3. Maintain your sweaters: Give your sweater a good shake after each wearing to remove fluff & dust. Remove dandruff, hair, lint and pilling regularly. The pilling can become worse when you store them for the summer. Click here to read how to De-Pill your sweaters.
4. Protect your sweaters: Let your deodorant and perfume/cologne dry or set before putting on a sweater. The chemicals can weaken the fibers. After dry cleaning sweaters, remove the plastic bag. The plastic bag traps in moisture and can cause mildew which is a real threat to the integrity of the clothing’s fibers.
5. Clean your sweaters properly: Remove stains immediately and follow the washing care instructions on the label. If the label says “dry-clean only”, we recommend having it professionally cleaned. The manufacturer recommends dry cleaning because of a sweater’s design, bulk, trim, or fiber content and it should be entrusted to a reputable professional dry cleaner. If the label says “hand wash only”, Click here to read how to do it properly.
January 31, 2013
Super Bowl parties are as American as the game of football itself. We’ve hosted a few around here and although they are loads of fun (whether you actually watch the game or not) they come with the potential for massive messes and tough after party stains.
Let’s get out the playbook and plan our defense against the most common Super Bowl Party Food Stains:
- It isn’t a party without the wings and barbecue. Buffalo, hot, barbecue & sweet sauce are, in our opinion, the messiest and most common. The evidence of these foods can be found days later on floors and clothing. If you are serving these foods at your party, try to keep them contained in the kitchen but if there is a spill on the carpet or sofa, blot (never rub or wipe) up the excess. These stains (as well as Pizza stains) have grease and oil in them so it’s best to use a dish detergent when cleaning up greasy spills. Mix a dish detergent with cold water and continue to blot until you lift the stain. Rinse by blotting with cold water and then use a towel to soak up the moisture left behind. Use the same dish detergent method on clothing prior to laundering with the rest of your clothing items.
- With all the hooting and hollering; jumping and high fives, you’re likely to have some beverage spills. You could cover all your counters with plastic table clothes or shelf liners. Easy clean up when you just fold it all up, spills and all, and toss. And, of course, encourage your guests to use coasters. (Not enough? Make your own using tiles. You can glue the team logos on for a festive touch. Thank you Pinterest)! If you do get a beverage spill on the carpet or sofa, blot immediately and brush up on Good Housekeeping’s stain buster tips for beverages.
- Who’s up for some yummy Chips & Salsa with Guacamole? And heck, we might as well throw on some Nacho Cheese! There’s a definite recipe for some spills - most likely on your shirt as you lob it all into your mouth with eyes on the game. Here’s great advice from Stainmaster on removing Salsa from the carpet. The same method could be used for cheese spills also. Guacamole is oily and is a combination of many ingredients. Scrape up excess with a dull knife then flush with cool water and blot. Follow the steps noted for sauces and you might want to let the dish detergent & water mixture sit on the stain for about 10 minutes before flushing with cool fresh water. Repeat until the stain has lifted.
- If you’re serving tasty gooey deserts with chocolate and icing and you have a spill, gently scrape off the excess then spray area with a diluted dish-washing-soap solution. Then, you guessed it, let it sit for about 5 minutes and blot with cool fresh water. If you spill on your clothing, treat the stain with water and a laundry detergent solution after scooping up the excess and rinse with water. If the stain is still visible, use an oxygen-based bleach with warm water and let it sit over night. Launder and check before drying that the stain has been removed so as not to set it for good.
Do you have any spill prevention or removal tips? Let us know in the comments below.