Show your clothes some love this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is shockingly close (admit it, you’d forgotten, right?) and it is time to start thinking about all that comes with this expensive and amorous holiday. If you are planning a date night, don’t forget to make your reservations early. When it comes down to the day itself, you’ll want to make sure that your fancy dress is clean and ready for whatever triste you’ve got planned for you and that someone special, so feel free to let us take the hard work of preparing those chic or sexy garments ahead of the big night.

We’ll also be here the next morning when you assess the damage to your clothing. Between wine, chocolate, candles and…lipstick, the holiday itself can be quite treacherous to your clothing. But if you decide to deal with those pesky stains yourself, we have a few wise words to help you out of a jam.

As with all stains, treating them as soon as possible is crucial for the best possible results, and you always want to read the label and consider the fabric before treating.

First, there is chocolate. A bit of an aphrodisiac, this tasty sweet is intimately tied to love’s big day. But what to do when the precious gift of sweetness ends up on that pink dress? Not to worry, chocolate is actually one of the less dastardly of the Valentine’s Day stains.

A butter knife and a strong stream of cold water are your allies here. Scrape as much chocolate as you can from the cloth, making sure not to press any of the brown stuff into the fabric and make matters worse. Then, let the cool water run through the back of the stain and hopefully dislodge a bit more of it forwards and off the fabric. Afterward, it is recommended that you soak the item in detergent and water for about a half hour before laundering it as you normally would. Of course, for delicate materials drop it off for dry cleaning as soon as possible.

Another staple of this, the season of romance, is, of course, red wine. What lovely date would be complete without a bottle of pinot noir, cabernet, or merlot, after all? Wine costs enough by itself, however, without adding on the price tag of your ruined clothes. So what can you do when you’ve got a big blotch of pinot on your dress shirt?

There are plenty of interesting theories to go around about dealing with this most annoying of stains. Many recommend adding a bit of salt to the affected area, stretching it taut over a bowl, and pouring boiling water over it.

Other people recommend club soda and laundry detergent dabbed into the stain. All sources seem to agree that dousing the stain with liquid as quickly as possible after the incident is the best way to keep it from permanently staying in your clothes. But our go-to remedy for red wine is Wine Away! We keep this on hand and can use it to treat any items you drop off to us.

Finally, although less common, there is that beautiful red lipstick stain. The oils, waxes, and pigments can make this a terrible stain to treat. The first step is to use a degreaser or solvent to pre-treat the stain in order to break up the oil and waxes, the remaining pigments will be removed during the laundering process. Similar to chocolate, you want to treat this from the back of the fabric with the stain side down onto a paper towel or something similar to absorb the color. Many people recommend using rubbing alcohol or a grease solvent, like acetone, to dab on the back until the stain is gone.  As you do this apply some pressure to force the stain to the paper towel and remember to replace the paper towel as it absorbs the lipstick.

We utilize mild, dye-free liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn often to treat a number of stains. It's grease fighting ability makes dish soap a great pre-treatment for lipstick and many other stains. Apply the dishwashing detergent to the stain and allow it to sit for 10 – 20 minutes. Some people recommend dabbing the stain and soap off or rinsing, however, this isn’t required based on our experience as long as there isn’t a large amount of soap still on the item. Dish soap is also usually safe to use on washable fabrics. Launder the garment as usual, but we recommend using color-safe oxygen bleach or regular bleach depending on the fabric type to help remove any remaining pigment.

For all of these stains, we recommend that men’s dress shirts be dropped off for laundering or dry cleaning and a good pressing done by our professional dry cleaners.

Whatever you decide to do for Valentine ’s Day, we wish you all the best in your relationships and romantic endeavors, and we hope you’ll stop by and see us on Pearl Street when all the smoke clears!