Author Topic: My Dirty Laundry  (Read 11166 times)

Bank

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My Dirty Laundry
« on: May 19, 2012, 06:17:27 PM »
My job requires that I wear a nice suit and tie when meeting with clients.  I've already splashed out money to buy quality suits, and they hold up well.  However, my dress shirts (Brooks Brothers non-iron button downs in white, dark solids and checks, in case if makes a difference) get filthy around the collar long before they wear out.

Any ideas how I can get that staining out in a way that won't distress the fabric?  Dirty is bad, but I also can't attend meetings in anything that looks worn or distressed.  If I got the right solution, I feel like the shirts I have now could last almost forever, as they seem to be solidly made.

Thanks in advance for the help.  I hate to get rid of stuff that's still good, even if it's going to Goodwill and not a landfill.



James

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 06:44:58 PM »
I'm sure there are a million home remedies that someone will point out.  I don't have that issue anymore since I don't wear dress shirts much, but back when I did I would just use a stain stick about every other time I washed it.  Just take the shirt off, swipe collar with stain stick, and then throw in the wash.

2handband

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2012, 07:08:37 PM »
Nightmare. I play the occasional jazz show (actually it's not so occasional anymore) that I have to dress up for, and even when I'm playing jazz playing jazz I'm a very physical performer. Between the showmanship and the lights I sweat like a pig, and I quickly discovered that a light-colored dress shirt is good for exactly one gig. Solution: wear a black shirt and a light-colored tie.

Dicey

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 01:46:01 AM »
In the olden days, people would turn their collars and cuffs over when their shirts started to show wear. It's tricky to do and if you don't own a sewing machine, not at all cost effective. When I sold Men's Furnishings at Nordstrom, I often made the case that ironing one's own shirts was not all that frugal. Not nearly so effective as, say, brown bagging one's own lunch.

In conservative business settings, there is an advantage to presenting oneself in a crisp, professionally laundered shirt. Home washed and ironed shirts do not look or feel quite the same. Find a reputable laundry that offers good pricing and become a regular customer. Go easy on the starch, as heavy starch stiffens the fibers to the point that they break, causing fraying. Wear t-shirts, shower regularly and change as soon as you get home to maximize the possibility of wearing shirts twice. Shave your neck well to avoid sandpapering your shirt collars. Rotate your inventory so your shirts wear evenly.
Once you know your size and style preference, look for them at GW, consignment/thrift stores and estate/garage sales. If you know a bargain hunter with a good eye, give them a clear, concise description of your preferred shirt size, type, color and have them keep an eye out for them. If you set a really low target price, you won't be out much if they don't get it 100% right the first try or two.
Men's classic button downs haven't changed all that much over the years since the advent of no-iron cotton. Try not to buy poly blends. They tend to pill/yellow and generally look cheaper faster. Light colors are somewhat less fashionable, but tend to last longer, particularly if your skin is oily.  Learn how to replace your own buttons and keep a sewing kit in your desk or briefcase for emergencies.
Final thoughts on cleaning business shirts at home, if you must: I have had good luck with a l-o-o-o-o-ng soak in "Biz", which seems to be tough to find these days. Oxyclean would be an alternative if you can't find Biz.  Another trick is to spot treat with Zout and gently work it into the stained areas with an old, soft toothbrush.

Daley

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 08:19:15 AM »
Two words: Detachable Collars.

Find a good source of collars (and possibly cuffs as well), and have a tailor convert your existing shirts for the things. Fortunately, they're making a bit of a comeback due to the resurgence of custom tailoring, so finding a source for them or getting them laundered shouldn't be near as difficult as it was about a decade ago. Your local priest or minister who still wears a traditional clerical collar would actually be a good resource to start your research into local shops that handle manufacture and care of the things.

velocistar237

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Bank

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 07:12:51 AM »
Thanks to everyone for chiming in.  There are some good ideas here. 

Overall, I like my job, but I am definitely looking forward to the day I can leave collared shirts and "business special" haircuts behind for good.

warped

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 11:32:51 AM »
Two words: fels naptha.

Ask your grandmother about it; she'll talk about how wonderful it is.

Comes in a big bar, just get the shirt collar wet, spend a minute or two scrubbing it with the fels, and wash.

Also works great for getting grass stains off football pants.

http://www.felsnaptha.com/

tooqk4u22

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 02:01:52 PM »
I use a spray bottle with a mixture of water/detergent (cheap spot/stain remover), leave it on a few minutes then wash with detergent and some bleach.  Not perfect but it seems to do the job.

Bank

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Re: My Dirty Laundry
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 01:10:53 PM »
There are enough good ideas here that I'm going to set up an experiment and see which stain remover works best.  I'll post results later in the summer.  Thanks again for the help!