Monthly Archives: November 2010

Garment Care Tip – Protect Your Wardrobe Against Moths.

Moth Hole

It’s that time of year. You go into your closet to take out those warm snuggly wool sweaters, jackets & socks and what are you greeted with? Ugly little moth larvae and holes in your designer kitwear, that’s what. How many years has this happened to you? In the following article I am going to help you kick the biting little bugs out once and for all and protect your designer knitwear for years to come.

To understand how best to combat moths, you have to understand their habits and what they eat. There is a huge variety of genus of moth. The most common of moth is the Tineola bisselliella, aka the Common Clothes Moth, Webbing Clothes Moth, or simply Clothing Moth. These are a type of “Fungus Moth”.

Moth Habits

This moth prefers moist conditions, although low humidity will merely slow development. Webbing Clothes Moths are small moths whose adults grow to between 1 and 2 cm in length. Their eggs are tiny, most being under 1 mm long and barely visible. A female will lay several hundred during her lifetime; egg placement is carefully chosen in locations where they will have the best chance for survival.

The eggs are attached with a glue-like substance and can be quite difficult to remove. After the egg hatches, the larva will immediately look for food. Larvae can obtain their required food in less than two months, but if conditions are not favorable they will feed on and off for a long time. Whether it takes two months or two years, each larva will eventually spin a cocoon in which it will pupate and change into an adult. Larvae stay in these cocoons for between one and two months and then emerge as adults ready to mate and to lay eggs.

This species is notorious for feeding on clothing and natural fibers; they have the ability to turn keratin a protein of which hair and wool mainly consist into food. The moths prefer dirty fabric for laying eggs and are particularly attracted to carpeting and clothing that contains human sweat or other liquids which have been spilled onto them. They are attracted to these areas not for the food but for the moisture: the caterpillars do not drink water; consequently their food must contain moisture.

These moths thrive in low light areas and love to feed on fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, wool, fur, feathers, flour, wheat, salt, sugar and bran.


Control

Now that you know a little something about the moth it should be easier to understand how to get rid of them. Moths peak time of year to feed is during the spring and summer months so it’s a  good time to start and think about this now.

Step one : Clean Everything

Before you store your fall/winter knitwear for the season, be sure to have everything washed and dry cleaned. Even if you think your items are clean, be sure to clean them anyway, there are many different kinds of stains that you may not see that will leave a layer of organic material that moth larvae love to feed on. You will want to also thoroughly vacuum and clean your hand made area rugs and carpets. A good carpet cleaning is necessary because it will help kill unseen larvae that may lay dormant when the cold weather comes. You will want to make sure you use a good steam carpet cleaner. This will help kill all the larvae and soften any stains that you may not see that will make it easier for extraction. I know from my personal experience and thousands of dollars in oriental rugs later, that moths will thrive and destroy your wool and oriental rug. I cannot tell you the nightmares I have personally gone through to replace my own damaged rugs. You will also want to clean the areas you have stored your garments. Clean and vacuum all drawer and closet spaces. Another great way to clean your closet is to use an insect fogger. This will poision any of the left over larvae that are hard to find. You will want to remove your clothing before hand to ensure that you dont contaminate your garments. Make sure you find one that says it will kill the egg or all this work will be pointless. Be sure NOT to use insect fogger in your pantry or around animals, as it could pose a danger and be toxic if ingested.

Step Two: Throw It Out

Make sure to check your pantry for moths in your grain based foods such as oatmeal, pasta, cereals ect. Moths love to hatch in there and will often eat holes in the plastic packaging to get into it. Check the bags or boxes to see if there is webby sand or dust like deposits. If there are toss it out, that is a sure sign of moth infestation. Throw it all out and buy new stuff. When you package your new food, be sure to store it in air tight plastic containers.

Step Three: Store Away.

Enclose your cleaned garments to protect them from damage.  Use blanket and sweater storage bags and hanging garments bags available in cotton or heavy duty vinyl.  You can also use sweater boxes, under-bed boxes, large storage containers and show boxes in a variety of materials and sizes.  You can use breathable bags for your leather, suede and fur storage.  As a rule of thumb, NEVER HANG KNITS! Hanging knits on a hanger will promote stretching around the neck and shoulders, distorting the shape of the garment and possibly leaving holes around the shoulder areas.

Step Four: Moth Repellant

A great moth repellant is to make sure your closet is lined with cedar panels. Moths hate the smell of cedar and this will help defend against moth infestation. If you don’t want to spend money on actually  adding cedar panels to the walls of your closet, you can simply go and purchase blocks of cedar attached to hangers and hang them amongst your clothes. Cedar, which comes in hangers, boxes, blocks and drawer liners, should be sanded with fine-grade sandpaper after each season because otherwise the surface oxidizes, eliminating the moth-repelling scent. You can also purchase moth balls, pellets, or powdered crystals to put in your droors and closets.

cedar blocks

How To Wash Wool

  1. Make sure you always use COLD water to wash wool. Never use hot water because hot water will promote shrinking.
  2. Wash on a gentle cycle only and never allow the garment to go through the agitation cycle, fill the washer up and use wool wash, add garment and allow soaking for 30 minutes. Then put the machine on spin cycle.
  3. After it has finished in the spin cycle, place in dryer for 10 minutes on its lowest setting to allow it to fluff. Take it out and then lay the garment on a flat surface with a towel underneath to complete drying. Remember, do not hang on a hanger, this will stretch the garment.

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A Picture Collection Of Antique Washers

With all the technology these days, sometimes we forget what brought us to this point of comfort in our lives. A perfect case is our washing machines. We use them every day but take for granted just how hard it was for technology to bring us to our modern luxurious units we have today. I have scoured the Garment Care Archives to bring you some interesting photos of the past. Enjoy.

Meurice Garment Care Prices

NYC-Print

Vera Wang Bridal Gown Brought Back To Life

Recently, we saw a very unhappy women who spent a small fortune to have her gorgeous Vera Wang bridal gown preserved after her wedding 2 years ago. She brought us her gown for a proper wedding gown restoration.

Have a look at the images below – it’s a dramatic difference.

BEFORE

Vera Wang Dress Stained

As you can see, there was extensive staines from “Oxidized” wine that had spilled on the dress and was never properly cleaned. When the dress was put away in its box, over the past 2 years it caramelized to what you see here.

Vera Wang Dirty 2

As you can see, there is extensive yellowing all over the lace

AFTER

The dress truly is a work of art. When you see it up close, its hard to believe you’re looking at the same gown.

A Brief History And Care Instructions For A Necktie

Your tie reveals a lot about you: It can indicate your profession, your position within the field, your sense of style… or what you had for lunch.  One of the most commonly stained articles of clothing, neckties can also be one of the most difficult garments to properly clean.

The phrase “tie cleaning” in a Google search produces over 6 million results. Sources range from established tie manufactures to homemakers, with recommendations for stain removal ranging from professional dry cleaning to DIY remedies. While some of these methods are harmless, others run the risk of causing further damage to your favorite tie.

In this article, I set out to debunk home cleaning myths, and advocate the safest and most effective method for tie cleaning and care is through a dry cleaning process.

How is it made?

To understand which methods are the best for your tie, you must first understand how a tie is made.

Although the necktie has a lineage over 400 years old, the majority of ties are produced the same way they were 85 years ago. The modern tie acquired its distinctive shape by tailor-turned-manufacturer Jesse Langford in 1924. Before the early 1920’s, ties were made of strips of fabric with a finished edge. Langford is the first to patent a necktie that utilized a three-fold construction and made from fabric cut on a bias.

What does this mean? To cut the fabric on a bias means to cut the shape on a diagonal, in opposition to the grain, either horizontally or vertically. Not only does this method add to the durability of the garment (as the pressure of gravity is distributed over the linking fibers), but it also produces the distinctive diamond edge.  The shape of the modern tie is further attributed to the construction, where two side panels of fabric are folded in on themselves to create a flat front and diptych back. The three-fold construction gives the tie form and longevity.

Bias Cut Tie Fabric

The majority of neckties are comprised of a silk exterior and a silk or silk-blend lining—though other common materials include cotton, linen, and polyester.  Ties are generally cut from a single piece of fabric that will give a flat, unaltered, front. Interfacing made of wool, cotton, or a wool blend is added to provide structure.

Cleaning Recommendation: Remove spot with rubbing alcohol.

I have come across several websites that advocate stain removal with rubbing alcohol—and I can say from personal experience, this is not a good method to try.

Think of it this way: Rubbing alcohol is a solvent. Its basic function is to dissolve weaker compositions. The chemically, isopropyl or ethyl alcohol is similar to other household solvents: like glue solvent, paint thinner and nail polish remover.  Cited among its common uses, rubbing alcohol is great for cleaning the grease off of metal surfaces or stripping away the caulk in your bathroom. In terms of stain removal: something that dissolves caulk sounds a little intense for your silks.

The truth is that most isopropyl or ethyl alcohol compositions will take out a stain—along with the color in the fabric.  The result would be a permanently lightened or white area where the stain used to be. Additionally, most rubbing alcohol solutions are diluted with water… So, even if you do manage to keep the color in your tie, you now run the risk of producing water rings.

Cleaning Recommendation: Take away grease and oil stains with cornstarch or talc.

Sawdust is great for liquid and salt works well on snow.

Talc is widely used for its ability to absorb oil, and this is accomplished as the powder stores any grease or oil it within its fibrous cells. This explains why it is a staple ingredient in cosmetics and personal hygiene products. But, talc also has industrial applications in paper and pharmaceutical production, the manufacturing of ceramics, and as a way of bleaching cottons in the textile industry.

Cornstarch works in a similar manner as its molecular chain unravels and links with a liquid or oil, forming a gooey hybrid.

Like the rubbing alcohol, this method of stain removal is based on a solid principle. Theoretically, any grease will be absorbed by the talc or cornstarch, resulting in a semi-gelatinous substance that one would just wipe away.  The reality is this: instead of grease or oil spots, you now have spots of greasy powder that will only become embedded in other areas of the tie as you apply pressure or wipe. Furthermore, using either one of these powder concentrates may remove the top layer of grease or oil, but neither have the ability to remove set stains or staining from the wool interfacing.

Cleaning Recommendation: Soak tie in water and detergent and lie on a towel to dry.

If we re-examine the construction of the tie, we are reminded that ties are mainly comprised of wool and silk; and both of these fabrics are notorious for their propensity to be damaged by wet cleaning. Even the gentlest detergents may be too harsh and will eventually contribute to the breakdown and weakening of the fabric’s composition.

Both wool and silk are protein fibers—similar to the construction of human hair. When soaked with water, the fibers weaken and soften their shape and break from their spun form (…the same reason why we have split ends). As the water is removed and the material becomes dry, it retains the shape it is currently in. This results in a warped or deformed tie. Additionally, as these fabrics are not recommended for washing, there is a tendency for dyes to bleed or shift.

 

Cleaning Recommendation: Dry Cleaning.

With a few reservations, this is the only way to properly clean a tie.

The dry cleaning method was developed to safely remove grease and oil from delicate fabrics, such as silk and wool. Professional cleaning not only ensures the highest probability for stain removal, but is also the best option to prevent color bleeding or loss, the best way to retain the tie’s shape, and is the most sanitary as it thoroughly cleans the entire tie.

Most sources cite the dry cleaning as problematic due to the pressing of the tie. Putting too much heat will result in damage to the silk—this usually manifests in a shiny surface. If too much pressure is added during the pressing phase, the wool interfacing will loose its form, and the result will be a loss in the thickness of the tie.

Still, if one were to evaluate all of the different recommendations and the associated risks, dry cleaning is clearly the best option for stain removal.

Meurice’s Guide to Tie a Tie

To Tie a Tie. Its a simple enough task but so many people don’t know how to do it. How many of you have had help to tie a tie, left the tie tied in the closet with your suit so the next time you wear it you dont have to tie it again? We feel your pain. To help out, I decided to post up this great tutorial I found on how to tie  a tie.

Meurice Guide To Tie a Tie

Ladies Black Moldy Leather Jacket Brought Back To Life with Garment Care

A couple weeks ago a customer cleared out her storage unit and found her items had become very moldy and disgusting. She loved this black leather jacket so much but thought it was destroyed. She was ready to throw it away before her friend suggested she bring it to us. Not only did the jacket have extensive mold all over but the water and humidity had caused shrinking and discoloration in the leather. We promised her we could restore it and get it back to its original condition.  She was incredibly happy after she received the leather jacket.

From the first set of images you can see the jacket had extensive mold all over.  In fact these pictures really dont do the damage justice. In person you could see a lot more mold, especially oll over the inside lining.

BEFORE

moldy shoulder

moldy leather jacket shoulder 2

moldy front

AFTER

clean 2

Leather Jacket Cleaned 2

Black Leather Collar

Black Leather side

Leather Jacket Cleaned Back

As you can see, this jack is ready to wear at any hot & sexy spot in the city.

How To Clean MoldFor this jacket, to properly remove the mold we had to put it through a “wet” clean process. This means that it had to be washed on a particular cycle with special cleaning agents with water. The rule of thumb in the cleaning business is whatever way the stain got into the garment is usually the way you get it out. For stains that are oil based, they usually need to be “dry” cleaned using a solvent. Mold’s origins are from water, moisture and organic spores. Dry cleaning this alone would not work and just hand washing it would most likely not get all the mold out, leaving the jacket susceptible to another mold growth outbreak. This jacket was then fitted back to is original shape, dried, colorized and moisturized to get it supple and smooth again.

Health Note – If you have any items that have been exposed to mold, it is essential that you get them cleaned thoroughly. Exposure to mold can cause varying degrees of sickness. Some symptoms appear to be allergic reactions like Sneezing, Itching, Watery Eyes, Itching Eyes, and Headaches.

More serious symptoms can rage to Constant Headache, Nose Bleeds, Feelings of Constant Fatigue, Breathing Disorders, Coughing up Blood or Black looking Debris, Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Loss of Appetite, Weight Loss, Hair loss, Skin Rashes, Open Sores on the Skin, Memory Loss Short and Long term, Sexual Dysfunction, Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit, Sudden Asthma Attacks or Breathing Disorders, Ear Infections, Chronic Sinus Infections, Chronic Bronchitis

Meurice’s Guide to the Care Label

meurice guide to garment care

Has this ever happened to you? You’re staring at the care label on your new cashmere sweater, trying to determine how to get it clean and fresh for the fall. All you see is a bunch of shapes, triangles, blocks, circles, circles with more circles, blocks with triangles, triangles with blocks, circles and some other weird thing. You feel like you’re being asked to read hieroglyphs!

We feel your pain. To make your life a little easier we’ve decided to post this chart to help you with you problem. Remember you always want to read the care label thoroughly and do a little research on the fabric of your garment. Sometimes the labels have clear instructions on what to do, other times not so much. This chart details all the garment care icons so there should be no excuse  for shrunken, color bled pieces or bald spots on your head.

Wash Guide