View Items
Adding to cart
(0)
 888-445-3368

Laundering & Laundry Storage Tips

We’ve gathered tips and information from all kinds of sources; the internet, our fabric suppliers, spa directors, trade journals and our own experience to create this guide for you. 

Please test your fabric before trying anything, and remember that all suggestions should be used at your own risk. If you have a tip to share, we’d love to add it. The information is fairly lengthy, but broken down into the following subjects:
    Organization
    Choosing Fabrics
    Prepping, Stain Removal, Washing & Drying Tips
    Common Spa Stain Removal Tips
Organize it!
If possible, store linens away from high humidity areas like the laundry room – because even folded spa wear will absorb moisture and smells like a sponge.

Whether you hang or fold items, be sure that any wood that fabric touches is either finished or painted. Unfinished wood can impart a light yellowish stain. Also avoid exposed iron in hangers and hooks that could rub on fabrics. Heat and storage can give iron a chance to oxidize, leaving dark rust stains.

Make your storage area work for you. Get rid of any items which you don’t use or are too worn, stained or damaged. Keep items that are most frequently used at arm’s reach and store rarely used items on higher shelves.

Set up your storage area with a “take from” side and a “restock” side, so that you rotate through all your garments equally. No one wants to wear a worn looking robe or gown if someone else is wearing a “new” looking one. You can add freshly laundered items to the bottom of a stack and pull from the top.

Choose Robes, Gowns and Accessories Wisely
Choose spa wear that you can live with. We all set our priorities differently. If you choose wisely, in the long run you’ll save money and prevent frustration for yourself and your staff.

Part of your choices will involve esthetics, but you should consider practicalities as well.  How will you launder spa wear? If you know you’ll be sending items out to a commercial laundry, avoid delicate fabrics that cannot withstand high heat.
If you will be laundering items in-house and you plan to have staff available to iron, you can manage items made of more exotic or fragile fabrics.
If you want luxuriously thick, thirsty terry or terry velour robes, get the biggest dryer you can. Alternatively, get two dryers. Heavy robes will take longer to dry and you must clean lint traps frequently.

If possible, avoid Velcro, as open Velcro can be extremely damaging to fabrics, as well as picking up lint and hair. If you have textiles with Velcro always close Velcro before laundering!
A Cotton/Poly blend often launders best, as long as it doesn’t feel slippery or look shiny, and a flat weave, such as waffle weave, or French Velour will dry more quickly with less lint.

Be extremely careful with dark colors - as dye may bleed into other items. Always wash darks separately. All dark colors fade a little if frequently washed, so obtain a sample before you buy a full stock. After laundering an item for a couple of weeks or a month, you’ll know whether it’ll work for you.

Regarding towels - always buy the best towels you can afford, and be sure they are 100% cotton. In our opinion, good towels are an absolute necessity, as ragged or worn towel leave a very negative impression.  Also, cheaper cotton/poly blend towels which are not absorbent may mean using two towels where one would have done.

Hints in Choosing Fabric:

Acrylic
Acrylic garments may be washed or dry-cleaned. Gently squeeze out water, smooth or shake out garment and let dry on a non-rust hanger. If ironing is required, use moderately warm iron.

Cotton
Cotton can be easily laundered and can withstand hot temperatures. Chlorine bleach can be used safely on 100% cotton whites. Use color safe bleach on dyed 100% cottons. A higher heat setting is needed in the dryer to dry cotton. Thicker cotton, like terry cloth and terry velour will take much longer to dry. Cotton can be ironed with a hot iron and does not scorch easily.

Micro fibers
Acrylic, nylon and polyester micro fibers can be machine-washed and dried or dry-cleaned. Avoid over-drying to reduce setting wrinkles. If ironing is needed, use a moderately warm iron.

Polyester
Most items made from polyester can be machine washed and dried. They can also be dry-cleaned. Use warm water and add fabric softener to the final rinse cycle. Machine dry at a low temperature setting. If ironing is needed, use a moderately warm iron.

Laundering Tips
Prepping & Sorting

Sort articles by color. Wash whites together, darks together and mediums together to prevent inadvertent color transfer.

Separate man-made fabrics, like polyester from natural fibers such as cotton. Man-made fibers can attract the oils that are released from natural fibers during washing. These oils can build up and make spots more noticeable.

Wash heavily soiled, dirty, items separately from slightly soiled items. This will help prevent fading and keep colors brighter.

Sort delicate fabrics and loose knits from "tougher" fabrics.

Garments which generate lint, such as fleece sweat shirts and towels, should be washed separately.

Wash very dark clothes separately and watch for dye “bleeding” into the water. Keep these items separate until they stop bleeding.

Close all Velcro and hooks to prevent damage - the hook side of the Velcro can tear a garment apart during washing.

Always be sure to check the pockets of all garments before washing and drying. The stains and damage which can result from one hidden lipstick or lip balm are considerable.

Stain Removal - Please see the list of stains below for help with common spa stain problems.

Deal with the stain as soon as possible. Once dried and soaked in, it’s more difficult to remove.

Lift and scrape off visible dirt on fabrics, or blot liquids with a cloth. Do not rub, as you can make the stain deeper and wider.
Identify what caused the stain, so you can treat it specifically.

Follow the instructions on any presoak, prewash or stain removers, and test a small, unseen area of the fabric first.

If stains aren't entirely removed after washing, try treating the stain again and rewashing the item immediately, without letting it dry. Once dried, many stains are set for good.

Washing

Follow label instructions for water temperature and wash cycle to use.

Don't overload the washer. A too full washer may not get clothes clean and detergent may not dissolve, leaving globs of detergent paste on fabric. Also, overloading is hard on the washer and dryer’s motor.

Don’t add more detergent than recommended - it doesn’t help get clothes cleaner, and may cause graying and stiffness.

Drying

Lightly shake out items taken from the washer, before placing them in the dryer, to speed drying and prevent wrinkles.

Don't overload the dryer for the same reason.

Keep like garments together. Don’t mix terry cloth towels with more delicate garments.

All clothes should be left in the dryer just long enough to remove wrinkles and moisture. Any longer and the heat can actually "set" wrinkles, increase static cling, and cause shrinkage. This can be true for both natural and man-made fibers.

Use the proper heat setting and time cycle. Don't use a high or regular setting for all clothes. Read the label! Fabrics made from fibers which have low moisture absorbency are fast drying and should be dried using a low temperature setting. This includes:

Acrylic
Nylon
Polyester
Polyolefin
Micro fibers

After removing garments from the dryer, immediately hang them up or fold them. Don't let them lie in a heap. This can cause them to wrinkle.
Permanent press items should be taken out slightly damp and hung on a non-rust hanger. Close clasps and button buttons. Straighten fabric lines and creases, and gently brush out any wrinkles.

Keep the lint filter clean. A clogged filter increases drying time and costs more money in electricity/gas usage.
White items will become whiter when dried in the sun.

Special Instructions for Towels:

When laundering towels, machines wash in warm water with similar colors. Be sure to wash brand new towels before use, to remove any excess dye from deep and brilliant colors. Always wash dark colors separately, and avoid chlorine bleach. Tumble drying will enhance the softness of your towels. Remove dry towels promptly from your dryer, shake them out, and fold. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. The fibers will be coated with silicones and will make towels less absorbent. Add ½ cup vinegar to the wash water instead. To freshen towels, add ½ cup baking soda to the wash cycle.

Common Spa Stains

Paraffin:
To remove paraffin, first crumble off the excess. You can harden it by rubbing it with ice. Put the stained area between white blotters (many paper towels) and press with a warm iron, changing blotters often. Sponge the area with Simple Green or a grease solvent and launder.

Lipstick:
A lipstick stain will usually respond well to a dab of petroleum jelly. Then wash the item in hot suds. If the stain remains, bleach it with hydrogen peroxide. Do not use soap first, as it may set the stain.

Coffee or Tea:
If it's safe for the fabric, pour boiling water through the spot. Or soak it in a solution of warm water and bleach and launder. (Pretest)

Makeup (water-based):
Launder with detergent in hottest water safe for the fabric. Do not use soap (bar, flake, or detergents containing natural soap), since soap could make stain permanent or at least more difficult to remove.

Soak tough stains for 30 minutes in 1 quart of warm water and 1 teaspoon of enzyme presoak product, like Axiom or Biz Bleach.
To remove old or set stains may require washing with bleach that is safe for the fabric. Always check for color fastness first.

Hand Lotion, Makeup (oil-based), Ointment/Salve:
Saturate light stains with an OxiClean paste and wait several minutes for it to penetrate. Rub with a heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent. Launder
If color stain remains, launder with chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or use an all-fabric bleach. Always test for colorfastness before using bleach.

Place heavy stains face down on folded paper towels. Apply dry cleaning fluid, such as Carbona, Energine, or Goddard's to the back of stain. (Carefully read and follow instructions on the product package.) Replace towels frequently. Let air dry; rinse. Launder in hottest water safe for the fabric.

Massage Oil: (See below for severe oil problems)
Treat light stains with an OxiClean paste and wait a couple minutes for it to penetrate. Rub with a heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent. Launder
If color stain remains, launder with chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or use an all-fabric bleach. Always test for colorfastness before using bleach.
Place heavy stains face down on clean paper towels. Apply dry cleaning fluid to the back of stain. Replace towels frequently. (Carefully read and follow instructions on the product package.) Let air dry; rinse. Launder in hottest water safe for the fabric.

Massage Oil - Severe Oil Stains
We’ve seen some robes with severe, smelly oil stains, and have developed a protocol for dealing with them that is time-consuming, but that ultimately saves the robe.

In a strong “OxiClean” solution, let the robes soak at least 48 hours.

Spray all spots, especially oil spots with “Simple Green” (from Sunshine Makers Inc.) a spray cleaning solution, and let it soak in for 4 hours. 
Thoroughly wet fabric with water. Pull out Foaming Spray Tip and spray a 1:1 solution of Simple Green and water on the stain. Heavy soil or grease may require scrubbing.

On all rust (or very dark) spots, spread a mixture of lemon juice and salt, and put the robe out in direct sunlight for 4 hours.

Wash with Era or any detergent and OxiClean.

Final rinse with a fabric softener.

Dye Stains, Dye Transfer:
Soak the entire garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powered bleach. Check the garment care label and check for color fastness first. And, be aware that during soaking all colors may be lightened.

If the stain remains and the garment is colorfast, soak the entire garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Again, test for color fastness first.

Caution: Chlorine bleach may change the color of the garment or cause irreversible damage. Therefore, it is important to check for color fastness before using. If the stain does not come out within 15 minutes of bleaching, it cannot be removed by bleaching, and any further exposure to bleach will weaken the fabric.
Note: To check for color fastness to liquid chlorine bleach, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1/4 cup of water. Use an eyedropper to put a drop of this solution on a hidden seam or pocket edge inside the garment. Let it stand two minute, then blot dry. If there is no color change it is safe to use the product. Powered bleaches have directions for doing colorfastness tests.

There are also a number of dye removers/strippers, such as one from Rit, which are available in drug and grocery stores. However, color removers will also take out fabric colors as well as the stain.

Mud
Scrape off whatever you can.
Soak and agitate in water before washing to further remove material.
Soak tough stains using a detergent or enzyme presoak product like for about 30 minutes. Soak old stains for at least several hours.
Launder normally, rinse, and inspect. If stain remains, soak an additional 30 minutes, then rewash.

Nail Polish:
For stains from nail polish, apply nail polish remover to the back of the stain while laying the fabric on white absorbent towels. Replace towels frequently.
Then rinse and launder.  Never use nail polish remover on acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, as they will dissolve. Take these fabrics to the dry cleaner.

Chocolate:
For chocolate stains on washable fabrics, first scrape off the excess. Wash the item in warm soapsuds and rinse. If the stain persists, sponge it with hydrogen peroxide rinse thoroughly. (Pretest.)
Treat the stain with a prewash spray or pretreat with a product containing enzymes. Rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent. Launder.
If stain remains, relaunder with bleach that is safe for the fabric.

Fruit stains (for fruit-based treatments):
Launder with detergent in hottest water safe for the fabric. Do not use soap (bar, flake, or detergents containing natural soap), since soap could make stain permanent or at least more difficult to remove.
Soak tough stains for 30 minutes in 1 quart of warm water and 1 teaspoon of enzyme presoak product.
To remove old or set stains may require washing with bleach that is safe for the fabric.
If all the sugars are not removed a brown stain will appear when the fabric is heated in the dryer or is ironed, as the sugar is caramelized.

Yellowing
Some fabrics which are white or pastel colored contain optical brighteners or fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) which were applied during manufacturing. These agents can decompose when exposed to light and atmospheric conditions, or prolonged storage conditions. In some cases the entire fabric becomes dingy or develops a yellow cast. In other cases the yellowing develops only where exposed to light.
This problem cannot be prevented and unfortunately the whitening agents can't be reapplied to the fabric.
Bleaching or the use of specialty products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit's "White Wash" may help whiten white fabric. But, be aware that other colors on the garment will also be affected. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label, and check for colorfastness first.

Dinginess, Yellowing, Graying
There are several reasons why fabrics gray, yellow, and become dingy, including not using the right amount of detergent (i.e., using too much or too little detergent), insufficient rinsing, and/or the wash water temperature is too low. 

To refurbish clothing from these discolorations:
Wash with a permanent press cycle in hot water, use a cool-down rinse on permanent press and use one cup of water conditioner instead of detergent.
If the discoloration remains, either repeat this procedure or wash with the correct amount of detergent and either all-fabric bleach or chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric. (Always check for color fastness first.)

If the fabric is white, consider specialty products available in grocery or drug stores, such as Rit's "Whitener and Brightener" to whiten the fabric.
Always separate and wash your whites separate from colors. And, don't put heavily soil garments with lightly soiled items.

Rust spots:

Check washing machine to see if the wash basket is damaged and fabric is coming into contact with metal. The spots may not appear until drying or storage has given the iron a chance to oxidize. Treat the spots with oxygen bleach - not chlorine bleach, which actually makes the situation worse.
On all rust (or very dark) spots, spread a mixture of lemon juice and salt, and put the robe out in direct sunlight for 4 hours.
In very severe cases, there are rust removing cleaning products but they must be used with great care.

Unknown Stains
Try one step at a time, until the stain comes out. Do not dry between steps.
Soak the stain in cold water for 20 minutes. Work liquid laundry detergent into the area and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse. Launder with hottest water safe for fabric.
Soak the stain for several hours or overnight in enzyme presoak. Launder.
Sponge stain with dry cleaning fluid (such as Carbona, Energine, Goddard's). Let stand for 20 minutes. Rub with liquid detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Launder. Dry cleaning fluid is toxic, and must be used with care. Read and follow all instructions.
If the fabric can be bleached, launder with chlorine bleach if safe, or all fabric bleach. Always be sure the garment is colorfast by testing an inside seam first. Launder immediately.
If the stain still remains after all these steps, nothing can be done to remove it.