Getting Yourself and Your Home Ready for the Holidays

It’s never too early to start prepping for the holidays. Preparation now will lessen the almost unavoidable avalanche of “to-do’s” leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and other cherished celebrations. We may be entering “the most wonderful time of the year,” but Harvard researchers say that 62 percent of us have elevated levels of stress just thinking about it!

One of our greatest joys at Oceanside Cleaners is to lessen the stress our customers feel leading up to the end-of-year holidays. Our focus is on cleaning tips where we can be of help. The key is to start early. Here are six essentials you can act on ahead of the holiday rush…

  1. Tablecloths and napkins. Nothing says holiday charm like family favorite holiday tablecloths and napkins (or placemats and runners). Whether handed down or a new family tradition, they’ve likely sat for a year in a drawer or closet. Check them now for stains and let us help clean them. We can handle even the most delicate fabrics and appliques.
  2. Holiday sweaters and garments. Just about everyone has a traditional piece of holiday clothing. Likely those sweaters, vests, skirts and dresses have been sitting in a drawer or hanging in a closet, maybe with an untreated gravy stain! Careful drycleaning and expert stain removal can do wonders. Don’t wait till the last minute to tend to these special clothes.
  3. Comforters and bedding. Bouncing back from the pandemic, an amazing half of all Americans are planning to travel during the holidays! If you’re expecting friends or relatives who will stay with you, treat them to fresh linens, pillowcases, comforters, bedspreads, blankets and towels that recently have been drycleaned to remove wrinkles and storage odors. It’s a real treat to experience our deluxe sheet service (try it for yourself, too). Your sheets are cleaned, sanitized, hand pressed, folded and wrapped in a luxury package.
  4. Everyday outerwear. In most parts of the country, the weather is getting chilly. Now is the time to pull out winter outerwear, sweaters, vests, and warmer fabrics. As you pull out these garments, remember that professional cleaning protects colors, reduces pilling and maintains shape and size. Note that wool in particular requires special cleaning.
  5. Special stain removal. In the event of a mishap, dry cleaning can attack common holiday stains from chocolate, candle wax, wine, cranberries and lipstick. Professional cleaners have the solvents and techniques to remove stains without harming fabrics, so remember to take things in stride.
  6. Emergency cleaning kit. Our last tip involves triage. When a stain disaster occurs during the holidays, you’ll need to stabilize it until you can get professional cleaning help. Have a special cleaning kit ready and include common stain fighters like white vinegar, Dawn dish soap, disinfecting wipes, cleaning cloths and stain sticks.

With attention to these details now, you’ll set yourself up to get a jump on the dozens of other holiday chores on your list. Every step now that lessens stress will make more room for joy and excitement. Happy Holidays! And remember, at Oceanside Cleaners, we offer free pick-up and delivery.

2023 Casual Beach Looks for Women and Men

Did you know that Florida has 825 miles of beaches? Our nearby Ponte Vedra beach is among the most beautiful and famous, reportedly being the spot where Ponce de Leon landed when he “discovered” Florida. In a state like ours, where beach life is a big part of living here, we pay special attention to beach wear. Clothing must work in the water, on shore and in beachside restaurants. But equally important, beachwear takes a beating with the sun and salt, and we at Oceanside Cleaners are experts at cleaning and maintaining beachwear so you can enjoy using it over and over.

Fashions come and go, and each year has its trends. Here’s our quick recap of what’s “in” in 2023 beachwear for both women and men.

For Women

Swimwear in 2023 is marked by vibrant colors. We’re seeing everything: red, green, cerulean blue, brown, pink in all its variations, blue in all shades, green pistachio, orange, yellow and some cool, light colors like lavender and mint green. Both one and two-piece suits are popular. Fine straps with cleaner lines are more common. Solids are the trend, but paisley and check prints remain popular.

Many customers are asking us to clean beach coverups in fluorescent colors! They pick cover-ups that work both on a beach lounge chair and at a beachside dinner spot. We’re seeing gauzy dresses, kimonos, boardwalk shorts and sarongs. Variety is in, from oversize shirts to crochet dress cover-ups to tunics and rompers. Many cover-ups need our special cleaning attention to maintain their shape.

For Men

Believe it or not, many men pay close attention to how they look on the beach, if our male customers are any indication.

Swim shorts
Men are bringing in swim shorts this year with seven-inch inseams, shorter than inseams worn casually around town. Wild patterns and stripes are popular, but so are pinstripes and solids. Our male customers trust us to thoroughly remove salt and sunscreen stains, prolonging the life of their beach shorts.

Classic beachwear
It’s fun for us to see fashions cycle back, and they have cycled back for our male customers. Polo shirts, cargo shorts and loafers were popular 20 years ago and are equally popular today. Printed shirts, tailored slacks, and chino shorts remain forever “in.”

Dress-up beach clothes
Men come in for professional cleaning of their dress-up beach clothes to make sure the clothes get a thorough cleaning to last longer. We’re seeing a lot of long sleeve linen shirts. Of course, linen is ideal for the beach because it is cool and fast drying, as are Tencel fabrics. But we always recommend professional cleaning for linen. Here’s a new one: for ultra-high fashion beachwear, men have begun dressing in clothes made of eucalyptus sap, which feels like silk and is extremely breathable. We know how to clean it.

Keeping beachwear clean

As we’ve said, salt water and suntan lotion are hard on fabrics and dyes, so immediately after swimming, rinse swimwear and beachwear in cold water and hang it to dry. Then bring them into our cleaners for a more thorough cleaning treatment.

At Oceanside Cleaners, we offer laundry services for delicate fabrics and promise thorough cleaning with mild detergents that protect and prolong the fabric life. This approach is ideal for beachwear.

Designer Garments Require Special Cleaning

When a customer invests in a piece of clothing, it’s essentially a work of art that deserves special treatment to ensure it looks as good as new. That’s why at Oceanside Cleaners, we offer extra special cleaning services for high-end designer or couture garments.

What to look for in designer garment cleaning services

We are pleased to offer the following high-end dry-cleaning services, which most other professional cleaners are not equipped for:

Onsite cleaning
All our work is done in our facility, so we have full control over quality.
Concierge treatment
We protect hardware such as buttons, tassels, buckles and leather logos. Where necessary, we’ll do pre-spotting, wet cleaning or hand washing to complement the dry-cleaning process, including odor remediation.
Trims and embellishments
We pay special attention to sequins, beads, rhinestones, glitter, feathers, etc. to preserve them in their original state.

We follow strict cleaning protocols with your designer garments

At Oceanside Cleaners, designer garments receive their own cleaning process:

Once we receive customers’ approval, high-end garments are treated with the utmost attention. We establish a photographic record of the garment and its details, along with documentation of the value.
Handling by Specialists
Garments are only cleaned by specialists trained in high-end cleaning techniques that consider fabric, texture, color and shape.
Finishing Attention
After the garment is cleaned, it is pressed by a designer garment finisher and then placed into a safe garment bag for protection and transport.

You’ve made an investment to look your best in a high-end garment that is beautiful, lasting and a perfect fit. Our cleaning process will help preserve that garment so each time you wear it, it feels like the first time.

Storing Clothes in Plastic Bags Harms Them

clothes on hangers in plastic bags

Customers often ask us if it is best to store their dry-cleaning items or laundered clothes in the plastic bags we send them home in.

The answer is: No! Long term, plastic harms the clothes.

This surprises many customers, who then ask why we use the plastic. The plastic is meant to protect the clothes on the journey home. Then it should be removed and, if possible, recycled. Our plastic poly is 100% recyclable. If you’d prefer to return the used plastic to us, we’ll happily recycle it for you.

How is plastic harmful to newly cleaned clothing?

Dry cleaner plastic bags are meant to protect items during the trip home. Remove and recycle them to prevent damage to fabric. 

Plastic prevents fabric from breathing, as it naturally is made to do, and leads to yellowing, weakening of fibers and mildew. Yes, mildew! Even though our process is called dry cleaning, there is a little moisture involved, which is why a plastic covering can cause mildew.

The discoloring culprit is a chemical called BHT, which is used in the manufacture of the plastic. BHT breaks down over time, causing yellow pigments that attach to the cloth.

We have other concerns about leaving the plastic in your closet, and that is printed right on the plastic. Thin plastic is a risk to children. If children play in the closet, the plastic can be dangerous.

Cotton is a better clothing protector than plastic

With the season changing, you may have items you want to store until next year. We do recommend covering newly cleaned clothing, table linens and other keepsakes that are stored for any length of time. Covering keeps off dust, especially on the shoulders of garments or the folds over hangers.

What should you use instead of plastic? The ideal covering is a white cotton sheet. Just fold the sheet and cut a hole for the hanger. You can sew the covering into a pouch, but it’s not necessary. Cotton lets the cleaned items breathe while keeping out dirt or stains from items nearby.

How to clean garments stained by plastic coverings

If your yellowed item was originally dry cleaned, and you’re ready to use it again, bring it into us and we’ll dry clean it again. This often removes the yellowing. In general, we’re always happy to give you advice on removing specific stains. Stop by any time with the stained item, and we’ll share our experience as to what should be effective.

Five Top 2022 Wedding Dress Trends

From May through October, wedding season is in full bloom. While most people think June is the top wedding month (with 15% of all weddings), September actually takes first place, with 16% of all weddings. Every year in the U.S., about 2.4 million weddings are performed.

Notice Grace Kelly’s high neckline in her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier in Monaco. High necklines are back in 2022.

What are brides wearing this year?
This year, brides are selecting corset bodices, voluminous skirts, square or high necklines, and bridal hoods. Here’s a look at the top five trends.

  1. A mix of old and new. 2022 brides are combining traditional and unconventionalbridal dress elements. For example, brides are mixing minidresses, blazer dresses and colorful gowns with classic accessories, such as birdcage veils and gloves. The high neckline, popular in the 1950s, is back.
  2. Exposed corsets. This peek-a-boo into how the dress is structured gives a nod to the craft of the dress as well as being sexy.
  3. Oversized ruffles and skirts. Just as there is a trend for larger weddings, there is a trend for bride skirts and shoulders to be oversized, with huge, ruffled and textured fabrics.
  4. Color. While 82% of brides wear white, the recent trend toward colored gowns is gaining steam, as are patterns with colorful flowers. Pastels are favored, but so are stark black and white patterns.
  5. Personality. More and more, brides want their dresses to reflect their personality, whether it be modern or romantic, dramatic or traditional.

    Pastels and oversized ruffles are gaining in popularity. This short dress with a long train mixes old and new.

These styles and trends cost money
The average wedding dress in 2022 costs $1,251, plus $227 for accessories.

While tradition says the bride’s family covers the majority of the wedding costs, including the gown, times have changed. Today’s customs vary and support comes from multiple sources. Sometimes the bride and groom pay for the wedding costs. One study found that, on average, parents of both the bride and groom contribute a combined 51% of the wedding budget, while the wedding couple covers the remaining 49%. The bridal party tends to pay for their own dresses and suits.

The average cost of a 2022 wedding, including the gown, is $28,000.

Protecting that investment
Most brides want to preserve their wedding gown. Some brides hope to share their gown with their daughters when the daughters get married. Others save their gown for sentimental reasons. To best preserve a wedding gown, brides should select a cleaner that specializes in wedding gown cleaning and preservation. The best cleaners mend repairs, use cleaning processes that preserve the material and shape, and provide a storage box that maintains the gown’s integrity over time.

Dry Cleaning or Washing? The Answer: It Depends

There are arguments to be made for both dry cleaning and washing a clothing item. Which process is best depends on the item and how you use it.

Dry cleaning and washing are different and yet similar. Dry cleaning uses solvents (and sometimes detergents) removed during the drying phase. Washing uses a combination of water and detergents. Aside from that, the process is similar since both dry cleaning and washing are done in a tumbling drum of some sort.

When is dry cleaning the best choice?
For absolute cleanliness and minimal (to no) damage to the fabric or clothing item, dry cleaning is tops.

Dry cleaning (as its name indicates) doesn’t use water. Water can be harmful, as it alters certain fabrics. For instance, it shrinks wool fibers and fades wool colors. Water is also rough on silk, bleeding silk colors and shrinking and wrinkling silk fibers that often are coated with an anti-wrinkle treatment that water removes.

What’s more, dry cleaning uses less agitation than washing. During the wash cycle, sloshing and spinning twists and tears at fabric, wearing it out. In addition, washing doesn’t always remove all the detergent. When detergent remains in clothes, it attracts rather than repels stains and odors. It’s ironic, but true.

On the other hand, the dry cleaning process removes the solvent as well as the dirt.

When is washing the best choice?
It sometimes makes sense to wash items instead of dry cleaning them. Some everyday clothes and certain fabrics that aren’t harmed by washing can be cleaned at home or at Oceanside by our “wash and fold” service. Fabrics most appropriate for washing are some every-day cotton, cotton-blend and polyester clothes where longevity of the fabric, fading and the “look” of the item are not as important.

In fact, certain fabrics cannot be dry cleaned. These include fabrics containing or made up of plastic, PVC, or polyurethane. Fabrics composed of these materials deteriorate during the dry-cleaning process.

Always check the care label on your clothes. That label will give an accurate description of the type of fabric and the ideal care instructions.

Oceanside will help you decide on dry cleaning vs. washing
If you aren’t sure whether to dry clean or wash an item, bring it into Oceanside. We’ll look it over and help you decide the best course of action.

Stain Removal Tips from the Professionals

All of us have to deal with stains on our clothes: grass stains, grease stains, tomato stains, coffee stains, ink stains…the list is never-ending.

There is no avoiding occasional stains, no matter how careful we are. In fact, simple spaghetti dinners are the most searched stain on the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) website! More research by ACI found that:

  • Men are more likely to have sports, wine and food-related stains
  • Women are more likely to have food incidents and bloodstains
  • Kids are more likely to have grass stains and marker and paint stains

Thankfully, Oceanside Cleaners has 30-plus years of experience successfully removing stains from every type of garment, from work clothes to wedding dresses. And, because stains are so common, we’d like to share a few professional tips you can use at home to either remove common stains or keep them from setting before you get garments to the cleaners.

  1. Use detergent sparingly. Many customers think the more detergent they use on a stain, the better the removal. It’s the most common error we see. When it comes to detergent, more is not better. Too much detergent can linger in a garment for a long time and even attract dirt and dust. We advise our customers to do the opposite: use just a teaspoon or two of detergent on a stain and then soak the garment in a bucket of water. Pre-soaking can keep the stain from setting before bringing it to us. The more rinsing, the better the stain removal.
  2. Some special cleaning compounds work on specific types of stains. We recommend Dawn dish soap for grease and oil. Hydrogen peroxide often removes yellowing stains on whites. Neutral detergents help prevent color fade when soaking out everyday dirt. Sometimes, vinegar works on tomato stains. At Oceanside, we also have several professional-grade and targeted stain removers that have proven successful over time.
  3. Sometimes it’s better to remove stains by laundry; other times dry cleaning is best. Whether to choose the laundry or dry cleaning for stain removal depends on the stain. Because dry cleaning uses solvents, it can attack petroleum and oil stains. Dry cleaning is the best way to prevent or remove color bleeding stains. Dry cleaning also works on sweat stains. The laundry process works on most of the other stains. We have a complete line of professional-grade laundry stain removers that often work better than any home remedy. We’ve even found a way to remove a red Gatorade stain, known as one of the most stubborn stains.
  4. Know when to use hot water and when to use cold water. This is a complex question we often get from a customer trying to remove a stain at home. What makes it complex is that the answer is sometimes to use both water temperatures! Many stains respond to a cold-water soak followed by a warm or hot water wash! However, in general, our rule of thumb is to use cold water to remove stains on natural fabrics like wool, satin and silk and to use cold water on food stains. But for coffee, chocolate and wine stains, hot water works best.

As we remove stains, Oceanside Cleaners is committed to green cleaning as recommended by the Green Cleaners Council. On a side note, we were recently awarded “Best of Weddings” from The Knot for the fifth year running. If we can successfully clean something as complex and important as a wedding dress, we can tackle the more common stains you experience in your life.

So, the next time you or your family has a fabric stain, do what you can to stabilize it and then bring in the garment so we can do our best to restore it to like new!

High-End Workout Clothes Require Special Laundry Care

In the past, throwing a pair of $15 cotton sweatpants into the washer and dryer was low risk. If cleaning at home shrunk them or permanently set the sweat stains, people just bought another pair.

In recent years, though, athletic clothes have increased in quality and price, as fabric, design and fit have improved. For example, Lululemon and Athleta workout pants start at about $70. Vuori leggings cost up to $100 each. Tanks, crops and hoodies can cost another $100. As a result, workout outfits range from $200 to upwards of $400, making them an investment worth preserving.

“When you put on new fitness gear, you begin to get into character like an actor putting on a costume for a performance. As a result, you expect to have a better performance, making you more mentally prepared for the task.”
– Dr. Jonathan Fader, Sports Psychologist

Regardless of price, high-end workout clothes have become extremely popular for many sports, including biking, yoga, spinning, dance classes and weights. This is due to the fact that well-made workout clothes look good, offer more support and make longer duration workouts more comfortable. What’s more, the fabric breathes better and wicks sweat. These fabrics also often offer UV protection for outdoor wear.

An important consideration, though, is that cleaning these fabrics between workouts requires dedication. More fabric care is required to ensure the fabrics remain long-lasting and so the clothes retain their shape and color.

Cleaning high-end workout clothes at home can cause problems

For do-it-yourselfers, washing workout clothes at home unfortunately results in common mistakes, such as presoaking in the wrong chemicals, using fabric softeners (a no-no) or using the wrong temperature water. In just one wash cycle, even the most careful person can unwittingly destroy expensive workout clothes.

Because high-end workout clothes are often made of Lycra, spandex and polyester, the wrong home cleaning approach can result in some damage that may not always meet the eye:

  • Damage to stretch
  • Coatings that attract and trap smells
  • Increased static cling
  • Trapped bacteria that can harm your skin
  • A fungi smell from too much soap

Some people try to save cleaning costs or extend wear by using workout clothes several times between cleanings. There are downfalls to this approach, though, which range from the faster growth of potentially harmful bacteria to skin irritations.

Cleaning high-end workout clothes at home can cause problems

For do-it-yourselfers, washing workout clothes at home unfortunately results in common mistakes, such as presoaking in the wrong chemicals, using fabric softeners (a no-no) or using the wrong temperature water. In just one wash cycle, even the most careful person can unwittingly destroy expensive workout clothes.

Because high-end workout clothes are often made of Lycra, spandex and polyester, the wrong home cleaning approach can result in some damage that may not always meet the eye:

  • Damage to stretch
  • Coatings that attract and trap smells
  • Increased static cling
  • Trapped bacteria that can harm your skin
  • A fungi smell from too much soap

Some people try to save cleaning costs or extend wear by using workout clothes several times between cleanings. There are downfalls to this approach, though, which range from the faster growth of potentially harmful bacteria to skin irritations.

Why a professional cleaner is the best choice

Careful cleaning of expensive activewear prolongs its life. Professional launderers know the best combination of cleaning agents and the right types of detergents to use on expensive workout clothes. At Oceanside Cleaners, we use temperature-controlled laundry detergents and delicate wash cycles based on the fabric type and color.

If you work out every day, Oceanside Cleaners can set up a regular cleaning pick-up and delivery, so you always have professionally cleaned activewear ready for the day’s workout.

We also pre-spot sweat and odor areas and launder in ways that prolong the life of the garment, so you get maximum use for your investment. We never wash workout clothes with other clothes such as jeans, jackets or zippers that can snag your workout clothes.

Oceanside Enters the Hall of Fame!

the knot Best of Wedding Hall of Fame

Oceanside Enters the Hall of Fame!

After a trying 2020, we begin 2021 completely blown away that Oceanside has won The Knot Best of Weddings for the fourth year in a row, earning its spot in The Knot Hall of Fame!

“We are delighted to have won The Knot Best of Weddings and join the Hall of Fame,” said Clare Harris, bridal services manager and certified wedding gown specialist at Oceanside Cleaners. “This recognition is especially meaningful because it’s a direct reflection of our customers’ reviews, so it speaks to their satisfaction with our services.”

Both of these awards recognize local wedding vendors across the country as rated by couples on The Knot. Each year, The Knot analyzes its millions of user reviews to determine the top-rated vendors. Fewer than five percent of vendors on The Knot are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Harris added, “We take great care to ensure our brides understand each step of the process before and after their big day and we treat each dress as if it were our own. They trust us with one of their most important garments. It’s an honor to receive that trust and a pleasure to see that our attention to detail does not go unnoticed.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be recognized for the outstanding care we take of our brides, but know we couldn’t do it without you! Yes you, our real brides, clients, family and friends! Thank you for spreading the word about Oceanside’s bridal services and for taking the time to share your Oceanside experiences through reviews and testimonials. Thank to our brides for trusting us to alter, finish and preserve their most cherished clothing item—we are honored to be part of your big day and after!

To learn more about alternations, finishing services, and preserving your gown schedule a free consultation—we’d love to help!

The Oceanside Difference: Creating a Culture of CARE

Oceanside Facility

The Oceanside Difference: Creating a Culture of CARE

Recently, we’ve had a run of good news at Oceanside Cleaners. In November, CINET, a global textile care association, honored Oceanside Cleaners as the best retail cleaner globally among small and medium-sized businesses. The next week America’s Best Cleaners included us in the 2020 Leadership Forum, where our owner, Mike Harris, served on a panel of five industry leaders to discuss how we’ve managed and adapted in the current business environment. And only a few weeks later, we learned that The Knot was inducting Oceanside Cleaners into its Best of Weddings Hall of Fame.

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