Outdoor summer activities: stains & care
As cold-weather dwellers for a large part of the year, we all flock to the great outdoors once the weather finally heats up. Major bonus, there’s so much to do out there! Whether it’s a friendly afternoon game of frisbee in one of Toronto’s many parks or a full-blown hiking trip up in Algonquin, summer is the time to get outside.
As your Toronto dry cleaners, we feel compelled to tell you that outdoor summer fun often comes with summer stains and there’s really no way around it. Luckily, we’ve seen a stain or two in our 143 years as clothing care specialists, so we have a few summer stain removal tricks up our sleeves.
How to care for sleeping bags
If you’re a frequent camper, you’ve probably invested in quality camping gear and know how to treat your sleeping bag with the utmost care. Following our recommended sleeping bag tips should keep you out of the worst trouble.
Once you’re out in the wild, though, there’s only so much you can control. Hiking through woods and parks can bring on moisture issues from unexpected rain showers or stains and smells from dirt, sweat, sunscreen, or even blood (some of us are clumsier than others, okay?).
Smaller stains can be spot-cleaned as soon as you get back home by pulling the fabric away from the bag’s filling and doing some spot cleaning with a little laundry detergent and a cloth.
Bigger stains can be a little trickier, though. Sleeping bags, especially down-filled ones, don’t love being tossed in the washing machine, so consider having your prized camping equipment professionally cleaned.
Our experts can also check for any areas in need of small repairs, like loose stitching along the zipper or rips and tears from sharp twigs you encountered on your outdoor adventures. Careful treatment like that will ensure that your sleeping bag stays in tip-top shape for many summers to come.
How to care for athletic wear
Athletic wear can really bear the marks of summer over time: grass stains, red gravel pigment, greasy sunscreen smudges, and let’s not forget deodorant transfer stains. Summertime exertion also means exponential levels of sweating, which can get smelly in a hurry.
To help extend the life of your workout clothing, it’s important to keep some key care tips in mind:
- Don’t let sweat and stains sink in for too long. It’s important to get to them quickly!
- Wash in cold water to help preserve the fibers and avoid any breakdown of spandex stretch. Cold water will also prevent any stains from really setting in, giving you a second chance to spot clean in case your machine fails to tackle them completely.
- Look for a sports-specific laundry detergent. It will help break down the bacteria that cause funky smells, but don’t use too much of it! You want to make sure it will all get rinsed out.
- Wash your sports clothing inside-out. That way your machine can really get to the area that comes into contact with your skin.
- Skip the fabric softener since it can mess with moisture wicking, damage performance fabrics, and keep sweat trapped inside the garment.
- As for the dryer, definitely skip it. Athletic wear tends to dry quickly anyway, so air drying is the way to go.
Depending on your summer sport of choice and how serious you are about it, you might need to invest (and we mean seriously invest) in specialty performance wear. And we all know what that means: specialty care. Sports with a strict dress-code, like golf or tennis, or any uniformed team sports, like soccer or field hockey, require the whole look to be crisp and clean without a stain in sight. That level of care and style often calls for the help of a professional. At Parkers, we’re specialized in the dry cleaning and wet cleaning of summer sportswear so you can look your sharpest on the greens or on the court.
Grass and dirt stains
Ah, grass and dirt stains. Have you really experienced summer without a grass stain or two? You don’t even have to stray too far into the wilderness or get too active to get one — a backyard game of horseshoes or a Trinity Bellwoods picnic could even do the trick.
Grass stains are notoriously hard to treat since they’re a mix of protein, organic matter, and pigmented juices. Add a little dirt into the mix and suddenly you’re dealing with a combination stain. Yikes is exactly right. So what do you do once the damage has been done?
We generally recommend to treat grass stains with an enzyme based detergent and cool water as soon as possible, soaking for 30 minutes. For dirt, a good brush off and a normal wash should do the trick and if not, a solution of water and vinegar can help. For more common stain removal tips (we’re looking at you, BBQ sauce spill!), check out our stain removal post from last summer!