How to Treat Barbecue Stains

Spring has arrived! It’s time to grill up for a barbecue. All winter you’ve been cooked up inside!

What if you find your barbecue menu on your spring outfit? Not all barbecue stains are easy to get out, but you can take quick steps to save your outfit from being permanently stained.

Here at Mulberrys & GreenStreets, our stain removal experts are prepared to tackle any stain. While these tips may help in the interim, it’s a good idea to take your clothes to a professional dry cleaner to ensure your stains don’t set.

BBQ Sauce: Are ribs your favorite food item? If yes, chances are barbecue sauce has trickled onto your shirt a few times. Remove the excess barbecue sauce and run cold water on the back of the stain. This will force the stain out of the fabric. Rub eco-friendly liquid detergent into the stain. Let sit for ten minutes then soak in lukewarm water. If the stain remains, wash as usual or bring it into Mulberrys & GreenStreets and one of our stain experts will take care of it!

Ketchup: Rinse the back of the stain with cold water. Rub with eco-friendly laundry detergent and rinse. Apply a small amount of white vinegar and rinse again. Repeat until stain disappears. If the stain persists, wash as usual or take your clothing item to your local dry cleaner.

Grease: Breaking down the grease is important when it comes to removing grease stains. Apply eco-friendly dish detergent directly to the stain. Rub it directly on the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Wash regularly. If the stain persists, take it to a professional. Grease stains can be tricky!

Beer: Rinse cold water on the back of the stain. Apply a mixture of cold water and eco-friendly laundry detergent and let sit for at least five minutes. Wash as usual, but consider taking it to a professional. Dried beer stains can stain quickly and leave an odor.

Who is ready for this weekend’s barbecue? We are! And we’re ready for the stains that come with all the fun.

Resources:

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a17571/stains-ketchup-may07/

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-remove-grease-stains-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-205496

https://www.thespruce.com/remove-beer-stains-from-clothing-1900961

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Spring Laundry and Garment Care Guide

At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we receive a lot of questions about removing stains, repairing clothes, and findings eco-friendly dry cleaning ways to care for your wardrobe. Spring is full of barbecues, outdoor celebrations, and beautiful weather, but it also brings new stains and fabric challenges.

We’ve compiled a laundry and garment care guide to highlight our top ten tips for spring.

1. Cheeseburger stains: Grilling season has arrived, but watch out for those cheeseburgers. The burger, condiments, and toppings make a cheeseburger a combination stain. You need to tackle each food individually. Dab the spot with rubbing alcohol to break down the oils. Pour on some vinegar to break down the plant-based elements. Dab hydrogen peroxide on the spot with a sponge to remove the animal-based elements of the stain. Rub a small amount of detergent on the stain, then wash normally. Consult with your dry cleaner if the fabric is delicate or brightly colored.

2. Cherry juice stains: Yum – fresh cherry pies at the family picnic! Cherry juice stains are plant-based and are best treated with lemon juice or vinegar. Pre-treat with lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse the stain with water to loosen the stain. Rub the stain with detergent and wash as usual. If all else fails, bring your clothing item to your dry cleaner.

3. Chocolate ice cream stains: A nice spring day calls for ice cream! If your chocolate ice cream cone topples over, pretreat the stain with lemon juice or vinegar and wait five minutes. Rinse with water and flush the underside of the stain with a solution of one tablespoon grease-dissolving dishwashing detergent and three cups of warm water. Wash as usual, but do not place it in the dryer if the stain persists. Drying it could set the stain.

4. Bleeding: Out with the neutral colored winter clothes and in with bright, spring colors! Certain colors will bleed when an item is washed, especially red, causing your other clothes to turn pink. Always wash the bright colored item on its own or with an old white sock for the first few times to test it.

5. Grass stains: Grass stains on your spring wardrobe? Is there anything worse than green stains on your favorite pair of paints? For whites and colors, soak the garment in cold water, and detergent and then wash them in the washer until the stain is removed. Do not place in the dryer if the stain persists. Take your item to your dry cleaner!

6. Lemons as a stain remover for white clothes: We all love a crisp white shirt in the springtime. If you find a stain on your white clothing, use a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Squeeze lemon juice directly onto the stain and sprinkle salt on top of it. Gently rub the mixture into the stain and rinse with water. Wash your shirt in the washer if needed.

7. Bonfire and grilling smells: Even the strongest perfume can’t mask the smell of smoke! After a spring bonfire or grill, air out your clothing items outside. The fresh air will help the smoke particles dissipate. You can also try soaking your clothing item in vinegar and water. Bring your smoke scented clothing item to a dry cleaner if the smoke persists.

8. Poison ivy: Spring hiking is relaxing and enjoyable unless you get attacked by poison ivy. If you find your clothes have touched by the itchy plant, wash your contaminated clothes in hot water and detergent by themselves. Be sure to wear gloves when handling your clothes! Place your clothes in the dryer. After your clothes dryer, clean the dryer and washer to avoid poison ivy oils from getting on your other clothes.

9. Spring cleaning household items: Spring cleaning time has arrived! Gently wash all your linens, rugs, curtains, and other household items according to their laundry tags. The easiest way to get rid of winter dust bunnies is to bring your household items to your dry cleaner for a refresh.

10. Update last season’s wardrobe with the help of a tailor: A tailor isn’t just there to fix your clothes. They can also redesign your clothes to fit today’s fashion trends, whether it’s redesigning sleeves on a shirt or shortening a long skirt.

Enjoy spring! Spend less time in the laundry room and more time outside with this spring garment care guide.

Visit any of our locations in San Francisco!

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The Key Elements to Making Pickup and Delivery Profitable for Your Laundry Business

Despite last year’s abrupt exit of on-demand laundry giant Washio from the industry, the residential pickup and delivery business continues to grow, with more and more existing laundry owners and newcomers to the business jumping on the bandwagon.


The momentum is clearly aided by the booming “app economy,” which in relatively short order has generated scores of new service businesses, making outsourcing just about any mundane chore available to consumers at their fingertips.

In addition to these home delivery businesses, locker-based services are another “next generation” laundry business that continues to accelerate in popularity and sophistication. These services enable customers to drop off and pick up their laundry or drycleaning at secured lockers in convenient locations, such as their own apartment buildings.

The business models are many. Some operators of these new services are processing the laundry and drycleaning at their own facilities, while others are farming it out to self-service laundries. And still others are looking to sell their business models and software systems to existing laundry owners through licensing agreements, franchise contracts and so on.

The big question: Is home delivery or a locker-based model right for your particular laundry business?

Key Considerations

The advantages of adding a pickup and delivery element to your existing wash-dry-fold service are obvious – expanding your store’s reach, boosting your turns per day and increasing your revenue.

However, laundry owners need to understand that they are signing up for a huge learning curve and essentially going way past operating as a brick-and-mortar business that primarily attracts drive-by customers, according to Susan Becker of LaunderBot, an online laundry service based in northern California.

“Laundry pickup and delivery is complex, so it’s important to have the right pieces in place before you start,” said John MacKrell, a laundry owner and founder of Springboard, which markets laundry delivery software. “Do you have the right software to manage the process and help you grow your business efficiently? Do you have the right production, delivery and customer service team in place – or have you partnered with service providers that can assist with those functions? Have you thought about a marketing budget? Do you have access to high-value customers in cities and suburbs with favorable demographics and good density?

“First and foremost, because you’re selling a service not a product, you need to provide a great customer experience – which means, at a minimum, a professional, polished and mobile-friendly website. Beyond that, you need to have adequate capacity and secure storage space, a motivated team that you can trust, a branded delivery vehicle, a modest marketing budget, a little patience and a lot of hustle.”

“Buying tech can take you a long way, but it won’t create a strong brand for your laundromat or bring in new customers,” Becker added. “And if you don’t have the budget for buying tech, you’re going to have to do it all yourself – scheduling, invoicing and payment processing, pickup and delivery logistics, marketing and retention campaigns and programs, brand creation, social media, email marketing, customer data management, financial reporting and so on. And that list is just the beginning.”

For Dan Parsons, president of Chicago-based drycleaning and laundry service Dryv, quality control is everything in the pickup and delivery sector.

“Having a system in place that mitigates logistical issues is key,” he said. “The supply chain gets more complex when you introduce pickup and delivery to your wash-dry-fold process, so having checks and controls in place before your delivery volume spikes will help ensure growth and customer retention.”

Matt Simmons of Curbside Laundries noted that advertising is a critical consideration for any pickup and delivery operator.

“In today’s world, people use their smartphones to find the services and, to be visible to these customers, you need to advertise online,” said Simmons, whose company provides laundry owners with software to manage their wash-dry-fold businesses. “Your online advertising is the sign for your wash-dry-fold delivery service.

“At the very least, you need a professional website that invokes trust,” he continued. “People willingly give their credit card information to Amazon, because the website looks professional. If your website doesn’t conform to the industry standards for an online marketplace, people may question the safety of their personal information, as well as the quality of your service.

“Of course, there are a number of variables that may change as your delivery business grows. You may expand the territories you cover, offer additional routes and delivery days, and at some point, you may want to invest in a branded delivery vehicle.”

Dan Miller, the founder and CEO of Mulberrys, a San Francisco-based drycleaner and laundry service, suggested that there are three key areas for laundry owners to consider before pulling the trigger on a pickup and delivery service.

“Number one is the density of the region you’re in and the potential customers you have,” he said. “One of the things operators tend to break their sword on is trying to serve a huge route that goes all over the place; it takes up so much in terms of gas and driver time that the profit margin gets eaten away.

“Secondly, the technology piece is huge. Whatever you think it’s going to cost with regard to development time and cost, double or triple that – because it’s substantially more complicated than it seems at first.

“And, lastly, be sure your backend systems – the way you process clothing – is really tight. The process gets so much harder when you’ve got clothes coming from all different places with different types of customers. Plus, for instance, some of them may forget to put on their bag tags, so you’ll get bags with no names on them. There’s just way more opportunity for error than when you’ve got someone walking into your store and everything is all in one place.”

For WashClub President Rick Rome, the keys to a successful pickup and delivery service include a basic knowledge of the business, a willingness to learn about wash-dry-fold, a marketing initiative and the desire to grow the business.

“Over-analysis leads to paralysis,” warned Rome, whose Brooklyn-based online laundry service is now offered in more than 30 cities and 16 states across the U.S. “Most operators have 85 percent of what they need. They have a facility. The have a staff. They know how to deal with customers. Typically, what they don’t have is the knowledge of wash-dry-fold, a vehicle, a driver and the software.”

Chris Moreno of Laundry Locker suggested that those thinking about getting into the pickup and delivery business focus on what they do well, while outsourcing what may be their weaker areas.

“For instance, we were not drycleaners, so we outsourced that,” said Moreno, whose San Francisco-based company is one of the leaders in locker-based solutions. “We’re good at software and marketing, so we do those really well and outsource the other stuff.

“Also, for anyone looking at getting into on-demand or static delivery with homes or lockers, what distance can you cover? What does your facility look like? And, for things you’re not providing, who are the right outsource partners to work with? A drycleaner or a laundromat or another store in another area?”

Best Practices

With regard to best practices in this newly emerging laundry category, it’s all about customer service, convenience and execution, according to MacKrell.

“You need to make it easy for customers to sign up – to get them through the door initially,” he explained. “But, more importantly, you need to make it convenient for someone to become a regular customer. If customers need to reach out to you to schedule pickups, your repeat business is going to be very anemic. So put the tools in place that allow you to “touch” the customers consistently. With the right technology, you can make scheduling pickups nearly effortless for both you and your customers.”

When you look at all the pieces to this equation, you’ll find that getting a customer is the relatively easy part, MacKrell said.

“Keeping that customer takes effort,” he added. “That means consistently delivering a great product and exceeding the customers’ expectations. You need to establish good work flow and chain of custody procedures, and give your attendants and drivers the tools to do their jobs well. And, when problems arise, have policies in place that allow you to solve them quickly. People will be surprisingly forgiving if they see you making a good-faith effort to correct mistakes. In the age of social media, problems left to fester can quickly become very expensive.”

According to Simmons, the top goal for a pickup and delivery service is to be customer-centric.

“We live in an on-demand society, and wash-dry-fold is no exception,” he said. “Customers want their wash-and-fold delivery service when they need it. If you can’t help them when they need it, somebody else will. We watch TV on demand, we order Uber cars on demand, and we order pizza on demand. If customers have an option, they will go with the on-demand service.”

However, you have to make certain those customers have a consistently awesome experience as well, said Moreno, who related a conversation he had with Brian Chesky of Airbnb and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

“They asked me, ‘Would I rather have a million customers who kinda sorta like me, or 10,000 customers who absolutely love me?’” he recalled. “They said they’d rather have the 10,000 people – and the reason for that is because your first five customers are the most important customers you’ll ever have. The first five people who pay you for something and care about you when you’re just getting started are going to be your pipeline to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

“You have to make sure you have customers who absolutely love and adore you, because this is such a referral-based business. And if you do something wrong, they can find someone to replace you rather quickly.”

Along those same lines, Becker said a key factor is not just that you deliver, but what you deliver, and how.

“What ends up in the hands of your customers has to be amazing,” she stated. “Interactions with your company – your brand – should be consistent, professional and friendly. This service is not a utility. It’s not an oil change. It’s a source of delight, and this is a huge opportunity for operators, if they have the brand and process to take advantage of it.

“Also, many customers come to this with some hesitation: ‘Will my clothes be taken good care of? Will anything get lost? Will things get shrunk or damaged?’ These people will bolt at the first mistake, no matter how much you bend over backwards to remedy anything they are unhappy with. So flawless execution is key.”

To help with that flawless execution, Parsons offered three suggestions:

•    Implement a bag tracking system to reduce the risk of mix-ups upon mark-in and racking for delivery.

•    Focus on route organization. Having some sort of way to visualize and improve your routes over time will maximize profitability. Clearly, technology should play a role in this.

•    Create pickup and delivery times that match your target customer. For instance, perhaps consider night and weekend deliveries to accommodate your millennial customers.

For Miller, his leading three best practices are:

•    “Frequent communication with customers. To the extent possible, if you can send notes or email or text messages – saying you’ve picked up their orders or that their orders are complete – that type of communication goes a long way in terms of saving you headaches.”

•    “Order tracking and barcoding. For example, we barcode every garment or bag, and track it through the system. If you had an order with us right now, I could look it up and tell you where it is. Again, this is huge with regard to making sure you don’t lose items.”

•    “Monitoring route density, and being certain you’re serving a small enough geographical area.”

Mistakes to Avoid

Here’s a look at some of the common missteps to avoid when getting your pickup and delivery service off the ground:

Inefficient Pickup/Deliver Schedules.

“Don’t drink the ‘Uber for laundry’ Kool-Aid,” MacKrell said. “Unless you’re in a very dense urban market, we discovered that offering true ‘on-demand’ service, where the customers dictate your pickup and delivery schedules, is a very good way to kill your margins and lose money. Unless you’re doing a very high volume of business in a very compact area, you can be undone by inefficiencies.”

Rome explained that operators looking to start a pickup and delivery service should be located in an urban or suburban location, with a minimum marketplace population of approximately 25,000.

“The good news is that people don’t think of laundry as an impulse item,” MacKrell said. “It’s not so much an ‘I-need-it-right-now’ service as it is an ‘I’d-like-it-sometime-today’ service. That means you can build your service around routes that you define, and your customers will be OK with that. There’s nothing to prevent you from offering service five days a week to the same neighborhood, but you’ll quickly find that your Mondays and Tuesdays will be much busier than your Thursdays and Fridays. It’s unlikely that you’ll lose someone’s business because you can only pick up their clothes between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on a Thursday, rather than 30 minutes after they request a pickup on a Wednesday evening.”

Pricing Incorrectly.

You’re providing a premium service – and you should price it accordingly.

“You need to know your costs, your competition and have a target profit margin in order to back into the right price,” MacKrell suggested.

“I believe laundry owners should price low enough to be competitive with similar services and not too far above local drop-off wash-dry-fold prices,” Becker suggested. “LaunderBot offered a ‘pre-launch’ rate to test the waters, then raised prices twice. After two per-pound price increases, we found what seems to be a sweet spot that resonates equally across all of our primary categories. I think making an educated, informed stab at it at launch, making it clear that this is an introductory rate, and then monitoring and adjusting with the resulting data can lead laundry owners to their own sweet spots.”

Pricing is always a function of your products, your service and elasticity, Rome explained.

“You’ll get top price, as long as product and service are of high quality,” he said. “But a lot of operators need to keep elasticity in mind; it will come into play when the consumer doesn’t feel the service justifies the price. That’s why I like to be right in the middle with my pricing – not too high and not too low.”

Expanding Too Quickly.

You have to figure out what you can actually do and what your limitations are, Moreno advised.

“You may have only one van,” he said. “You may have only 25 washers. It’s not necessarily about getting as many customers as you can. It’s about getting profitable customers. And that’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen with pickup and delivery services. Many owners have ballooned up and then run into trouble or go out of business, because they got so big. They were making a lot of revenue, but they weren’t making any money. It’s that old adage: we’re not making money, but we’ll make it up in volume. That doesn’t work.”

MacKrell shared his own tale of growing too quickly:

“Here’s a cautionary tale: When our service was in its infancy, we were fumbling around trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t when it came to acquiring customers. We knew we wanted more and we wanted them fast. So, we offered an extremely generous Groupon that flooded us with new customers. But we were so unprepared for the influx that we dropped balls left and right. Phone calls and emails went unanswered. Our attendants were overwhelmed. Laundry was mixed up and misdelivered. Did we get new customers? You bet. Were a lot of them one-time users? Absolutely. You get one chance to make a first impression but a negative post on social media lives forever.”

Failing to Budget for Marketing

“Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come,” Becker warned. “If you’re currently doing wash-dry-fold, you have a captive audience for your pickup and delivery service – but your increase in revenue will be negligible. To reach beyond those people, you must market creatively, regularly and across multiple channels.

“So, I think the biggest pitfall is thinking that all you have to add to your business is pickup and delivery. Unfortunately, you have to get into the internet business as well.”

Of course, you want an attractive, mobile-friendly website, but you’ll need to promote it. This means spending some money on Google AdWords, etc. – but it also means looking for traditional opportunities, which might include sponsoring local youth sports teams or partnering with other local service providers that target your demographic, such as lawn-care companies, fitness centers and grocery delivery services.

“If you want to grow your business and you’re not out there promoting it, who is?” asked Rome, who started WashClubBuzz, which is a marketing company focused on working with WashClub licensees and non-licensees alike on the digital advertising programs. “If you don’t have a salesperson, who is marketing it for you? Google? Facebook? Flyers? TV ads? That’s your sales team. Don’t think of marketing and advertising as a true expense; I view it as a function of growing your sales.

“Store owners give up on marketing way too soon. It requires, at a minimum, a six-month commitment, and it really should be longer than that. All research indicates that it takes seven exposures to get someone to try your product or service.”

Not Having a Branded Delivery Vehicle.

“Think of your truck or van as a rolling billboard,” MacKrell explained. “Get it wrapped and keep it spotless – and you’ll find that it’s one of your best, and certainly least expensive, promotional tools.”

Not Turning Around Orders Quickly Enough.

“We saw a significant uptick in business and customer satisfaction when we implemented a next-day return policy on wash-dry-fold orders,” MacKrell said.

Not Going “All In.”

“Sometimes operators think this is a part-time gig,” Rome said. “I don’t think laundry is a part-time gig, but that seems to be a common mistake, whether it’s with a self-service model or pick and delivery. Many owners think, ‘Oh, I’ll just go in every Sunday and get the quarters.’ We all know it doesn’t work like that.”

Adding an App

If you decide that pickup and delivery is a proper fit for your business and your marketplace, you’ve now got to figure out if it makes sense for you to take the next step – adding a mobile app to the equation.

“Laundry service is just that – a service,” Becker explained. “And the technology has to serve the service, not the other way around. Priority No. 1 for tech is software. However, Priority No. 1 for a laundry business – which, even with pickup and delivery, is a local business – is to nail the customer experience. It takes time and lessons learned the hard way to get to a quality product and a growing customer base.”

Miller explained that laundry owners looking to add an app component to their pickup and delivery business model have three options.

“The first option would be to develop your own, which is extremely difficult,” he said. “I would caution against that, at least in the short run. The second option is to purchase one of the white label, off-the-shelf solutions on the market; I think that’s a good option for owners who want to try the business but don’t necessarily want to put all of this huge capital into developing the software and technology. And the third option is to have a front-end partner – where they handle that part of the business, you do the laundry processing.”

“I think the first step is determining what type of pickup and delivery business model is right for you and your market,” MacKrell said. “If you’re in a high-density area like New York City or Los Angeles and feel you need to offer true on-demand pickup and delivery, you’ll want to look for a software provider whose tools are geared toward facilitating that type of service. On the other hand, if your territory is in a smaller metropolitan area – such as Boston, D.C. or any higher income suburbs, you may want to consider offering a route-based service. In that case, you’ll need to consider the different software packages that have been built for route-based applications.

“Regardless of which business model you decide upon, look for tools that help manage customer acquisition and retention, production, route optimization and, of course, billing.

Parsons agreed, noting that today’s laundry owners need to find just the right software partner.

“It’s important you find a product and team that meet your specific needs,” he said. “This could include things such as scalable parcel management, route organization, deep POS integrations and the ability to provide reliable long-term technical support with continued innovation. Also, the experience for the end-user needs to be on par with the other apps they’re using.”

To Rome, it’s the owners who are considering taking that next step and adding an app-based component who are “on the cusp of something great” in their markets.

“These operators are so prime for scale it’s unbelievable, because they have everything,” he said. “It’s just the software that they’re missing. They know how to do pickup and delivery. They know how to manage a staff. They know how to bag it and process it and get it ready for delivery.

“They have it all. The thing they don’t have is the time to figure out how to go from 25, 30 or 40 bags a day to 100 bags a day – that’s scalability, and that’s what software does.”

Laundry: The Next Generation

So, where does the laundry business go from here?

Becker sees the future of full-service laundry is in the hands of the laundry owners themselves.

“I truly believe that no one can do this better than a local laundry owner, whether they’ve got one store or 50,” she said. “I think the next step is more laundry owners moving into pickup and delivery, whether that’s completely on their own or [with the help of vendor partners.]

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” she added. “There are a lot of great wheels in the marketplace for laundry owners right now – to fit different levels of expertise, time, money, resources and goals. Lessons have been learned and solutions have been created – it’s never been a better, safer time to take the plunge. And I love this because, rather than the power and profit going to distant tech startups and venture capital firms, it stays with the folks who have been the core of this business all along – the laundry owners.”

Consumers are so time-strapped that they’re looking for convenience in every possible way to make their hectic lives that much easier, Rome said. And pickup and delivery laundry services are one of the solutions.

“I would tell operators to embrace technology,” he explained. “That will help them to scale and manage their businesses – and they’ll reach customers they never in a million years thought they’d have as customers.

“The pickup and delivery market is going to fly off the charts. It’s still in its infancy. This is just the beginning, as it will become further ingrained into mainstream America and around the world.”

The modern consumer is all about optionality, and they’re willing to pay for additional convenience when they need it, Parsons added.

“The future will be a mix of convenience and price variation, and as we’ve seen with other big industries, technology will certainly play a role in this,” he said. “This industry will be driven by the best operators using modern technology to provide users with all levels of convenience, service, and pricing.”

With regard to customer convenience, Simmons pointed out that many people soon will want their laundry and drycleaning picked up from their home simultaneously, and that laundry owners would be wise to consider offering pickup and delivery for both of these services.

“Drycleaners are moving into our business by offering wash-dry-fold to their delivery customers,” he said. “As laundry owners, we need to be first out of the gate, because whoever gets the order gets the money.”

“I think it’s all going more toward the apps and technology, and more toward shorter and shorter timeframes,” Miller said. “Everything we see that consumers are doing right now is about more and more delivery – and more expectations of things getting there faster. Look at Amazon – same-day groceries, same-day you name it. That’s the same thing that’s going to happen with laundry and drycleaning. You’re going to have people expecting they can tap an app and someone will be there in 15 minutes to pick up their laundry and return it the same day.”

Without a doubt, given the trend of busy families to offload repetitive household chores like housecleaning, lawn care and even dog walking, there’s a tremendous opportunity to build a whole new market with pickup and delivery

“We found that one of the biggest challenges we had when building up our brand was just letting customers know that the service existed – not our brand specifically, but the laundry pickup and delivery service as a category,” MacKrell said. “The entire industry is going to benefit from more customer service-focused providers entering the market, because it builds awareness among all consumers.

“If your laundromat suffers from the common affliction of slow midweek days, if you want to increase revenues without physically expanding and taking on the significant additional overhead required to open a new store, if there are suburbs with favorable demographics within 20 miles of your store, if you have a good team in place or are willing to build one, you should seriously consider pickup and delivery. While I like the laundromat business, I love the laundry delivery business!”

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Got Yogurt Stains? Here’s One Thing You Should Do.

Delicious and nutritious, yogurt — especially the Greek kind — has become a 21st century breakfast staple. Its tasty tanginess goes sour, however, when a glob of it lands on your shirt!

“Yogurt is what we like to call a ‘combination stain’ because it has a number of ingredients that can cause problems,” says Dan Miller, founder and president of Mulberrys Garment Care, which has locations throughout Minnesota and California. “Milk, sugar, food dyes, oils, and fruit are all ingredients in yogurt and can discolor different fabrics.”

Don’t worry — Miller’s got step-by-step yogurt-removing instructions, plus the save-the-day tip you need.

3 Steps to Cleaning a Yogurt Stain

If there’s a glob of yogurt, the first thing you want to do is scrape it up with a spoon. (Yeah, it’s kinda obvious, but it’s still the first step).

Next, blot the stain with a dry towel or napkin, getting out as much as you can, as quickly as you can — work fast and it might not even have time to soak in much. Be sure to rotate your paper so you don’t re-blot on anything you’ve already blotted up.

If you’ve got an instant stain remover in your desk, like Tide to Go or Shout Wipes, apply that — it contains enzymes that can break down the yogurt protein — and leave the stain alone until you get home.

And Now for the Surprising Tip: Lemon Juice

If your tasty treat was loaded with fruit, you’re dealing with a plant-based stain, which responds best to acids like vinegar or lemon juice. So if, once you get home, you still see discoloration on your shirt or dress, pat it with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Wash it right away, pre-treating the spot with some laundry detergent just in case. The stain should come out as if it was never there.

Have you ever used lemon juice to get stains out?

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Top Ten Ways Mulberrys & GreenStreets is Changing the Dry Cleaning Industry

Dry cleaning has always been the same mundane experience. The first dry cleaner opened in the United States in 1821. Mulberrys & GreenStreets recognized that not much had changed with the experience.

Over the last few years, we’ve taken steps to disrupt the dry cleaning industry.  Our mission is to make it more convenient and safer for the millions of people who use laundry and dry cleaning services in the United States.

We are proud to bring our innovative approach to dry cleaning and laundry services to the San Francisco area. We’re excited to continue to bring you the best dry cleaning and laundry experience.

Top Ten Ways Mulberrys & GreenStreets has Changed the Dry Cleaning Experience

1. Eco-friendly processes: Perc has always been used in the dry cleaning process and it still is used by many dry cleaners. At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we believe our business can exist without damaging the earth and harming our customers. Therefore, we removed perc from our processes and only use eco-friendly detergents.

2. Home pickup and delivery: Our pickup and delivery services extend throughout the San Francisco area, so even if you’re not close to one of our store locations we’ll come to you. Schedule your pickup time, place your clothing in your laundry bag outside your door, and we’ll return your clothes fresh and clean without you ever stepping foot in our store.

3. App: Our app enables our customers to have their dry cleaning picked up in less than an hour and returned the next day. Find locations, pay your bill, check your order status, or get a price quote. Our app helps simplify the dry cleaning experience for you.

4. Wedding gown cleaning: Our specially-trained wedding gown restoration and preservation experts who will hand clean your special wedding gown, reinforce the wedding gown seams, and reattach any beads and other embellishments to the wedding dress where needed. To prevent any damage to the fabric or dye, we wash the wedding gown in crystal clear purified water and non-toxic solutions

Wedding gown cleaning and preservation at Mulberrys

5. Household items cleaning: Our experts can properly clean your bedding, curtains, tablecloths, pillows, and rugs. Your home will feel refreshed and clean.

Still not convinced we’re changing the industry?  Keep reading!

6. Laundry services: We take care of non-dry cleaned clothes, too! Unlike many dry cleaners, we offer laundry service. Don’t feel like spending all Sunday in the laundry room? We’ll take care of it for you.

7. Fresh beverages, coffee, and flowers in our stores: When you visit one of our stores, you’ll find fresh beverages, coffee, and flowers. You won’t smell chemicals or feel like you walked into a cave. We aim to keep a friendly atmosphere in all our stores.

8. Call ahead for pickup: We want you to spend as little time as possible waiting for your dry cleaning. Schedule what time you’d like to pick up your order. We’ll have it ready for you.

9. Shoe shine and alterations: When you have a fresh outfit you also want the perfect pair of shoes and fit. Our experts can alter your clothes. We can also shine up your shoes so you look fabulous from head to toe.

10. Cleaning services for delicate fabrics: Leather, fur, and other delicate fabrics require special care. We train our cleaning professionals to care for your most precious fabrics.

At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we are always looking to improve our experience and services for our customers.

As we continue to grow, our main focus is to always bring the best products and services to the market to improve our customers’ lives and the world.

Thanks for being a Mulberrys & GreenStreets customer! If you haven’t tried us already, learn more about our 20% off for new customers deal here.

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How to Remove Grass Stains From Your Clothes and Shoes

Spring has sprung!  The sun is out.  The flowers are in bloom.  The trees are turning green.  All is beautiful in the world…except for those difficult to remove, grass stains that arrive with the spring weather. Each spring, we see a variety of grass stained clothing items come through the doors at Mulberrys & GreenStreets.

No matter how hard you try to get them out, there always seems to be a tint of green left on your clothes after you wash them.

At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, our experts use the most updated dry cleaning and laundry processes to remove different types of stains.  Each stain is unique and requires different stain removal techniques. 

Are you ready to tackle those grass stains this spring?

Colors and Whites:  Soak the garment in cold water and detergent, then wash in the washer until the stain is removed.  If you put your garment in the dryer before the stain is removed, the grass stain will settle and it will be difficult, or impossible, to remove in the future.

Dry Clean Only Fabrics:  Take it straight to the dry cleaner!  Try lightly blotting the grass stain from inside the garment to be sure not to set the stain.  This helps push the stain outward.  Bring your clothing to any Mulberrys & GreenStreets locations in San Francisco and one of our stain removal experts will promptly take care of your grass stain for you.

Shoes:  Grab your toothbrush and some vinegar!  Scrub your shoes to try to remove as much of the stain as possible.  Vinegar is a safe and efficient option.  You can also replace vinegar with an eco-friendly laundry detergent or water and environmentally friendly dish soap.

Grass stains are tricky and while all these tips can help lighten the grass stain, but it’s always best to consult an expert.  The easiest solution is to bring your laundry to Mulberrys & GreenStreets.  We’re up for the challenge and our stain experts will use eco-friendly solutions to get your clothes fresh and clean. We can help you keep your clothes extra clean this spring!

Want to learn more about removing the different types of stains?  Watch this short video.

Resources:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/146536-how-to-get-grass-stains-off-sneakers-properly-so-your-kicks-remain-looking-fresh

https://housekeeping.wonderhowto.com/how-to/remove-grass-stain-with-martha-stewarts-real-simple-272801/

https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/cleaning-stain-removal/remove-grass-stain

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Why Using an Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaner is Important

In today’s world, more and more businesses are designed with an eco-friendly approach.  Light bulbs are now energy-efficient.  Grocery stores are reducing the number of plastic bags they use.  Even whole homes are being built to be eco-friendly. 

For years, the dry cleaning industry has been using toxic chemicals in its processes.  That was the way things were done.  No one questioned it. 

Today, many dry cleaners still use the old way of doing things.

Perchloroethylene or “perc” has also been part of the dry cleaning industry.  In perc-based dry cleaning, clothes are placed in a large machine resembling a washing machine, soaked in perc and detergent, and then heat dried. While effective at removing oil-based and other stains, perc is a known carcinogen and ground water contaminant.  If your dry cleaner is still using perc in its processes, chances are their other cleaning methods are outdated, too. 

At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we removed perc from our processes because of its damaging effects.  Our award-winning dry cleaning and stain removal experts use biodegradable, non-toxic, non-hazardous cleaning agents that ensure that our environment and your body stay toxin-free.

Why should you put your clothes, you, and the earth at risk?

If your dry cleaner is not making eco-friendly processes a part of their business, then it may be time to think about trying a new dry cleaner.

Why use an outdated dry cleaner? The only way to dry clean is the environmentally-friendly way

You’re important.  Your clothes are important.  The earth is important.

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How to Choose a Cleaner to Preserve Your Wedding Gown

Have you said “yes” to the dress?  Now it’s time to say “yes” to the cleaner who will clean and preserve your wedding gown. 

One of the most important pieces of clothing you’ll ever purchase in your lifetime is a wedding gown. Many women choose to wear an older gown handed down from an older relative while others choose to purchase a brand, new dress.  Either way, choosing the right person to restore and preserve your special dress is important.

Not many dry cleaners can properly restore and preserve wedding gowns.  At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we are privileged to be able to be part of your special day and that’s why we use the best processes to make sure you look your best on your wedding day and your special day lives on for years to come.

What’s important when it comes to preserving your wedding gown?

1. Does your dry cleaner truly understand the cleaning process?  Preservation is more than dry cleaning and folding your dress in a pretty box. The Mulberrys & GreenStreets team is trained to properly preserve your wedding gown from removing stains to fixing seams and reattaching sequins or pearls.

2.  Does your cleaner use a cleaning process that won’t damage your gown?  Cleaning a wedding gown is quite different than cleaning any other type of clothing. We specialize in wet cleaning, using our environmentally-friendly, non-toxic detergents and crystal-clear purified water. Every step of the way, our professionals will ensure that your gown is treated with the gentleness and care it deserves. The cleaners we use to prevent fading or bleeding of dye and preserve crisp, bright color that almost makes your dress look better than new.

3.  Does your cleaner know what to do after they are finished cleaning your gown? After cleaning your wedding gown, the cleaner shouldn’t hand it back to you in a typical dry clean bag.  At Mulberrys & GreenStreets, we carefully fold into an acid-free, museum-quality box designed to prevent yellowing and keep your dress looking brand new for years to come.  You can pass it on to your daughter, niece, or another family member.

Wedding gowns aren’t just dresses.  They are memories. When you bring your dress to Mulberrys, we’ll give you an overview of what to expect along with a quote.  A specialist will examine it and take you through the process.

Congratulations to you on your special day!

Click here to learn more about how we can help preserve your gown. 

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20 Food Stains and How to Remove Them

Don’t let a spilled glass of red wine ruin your next party. We’ve got tips from cleaning experts on how to banish tough stains fast.

If you’ve ever knocked over a glass of red wine, a can of one of these 70 sodas (ranked by how toxic they are), or dropped an olive oil-coated veggie on your lap, you know that all stains are not created equal. Some come right out in the wash. Others are more stubborn, requiring all of your willpower and what feels like an entire chemistry set to remove.

The next time you spill something, don’t panic. There’s probably an easy way to remove the stain before it sets with handy products you already have around your house. From baby food to ketchup, we rounded up some of the most common food stains and talked with cleaning experts about the tried-and-true ways to get rid of them.

1. WHITE WINE
Hey, we’ve all been there. While chatting with someone at a party, you gesture a little too excitedly and realize half of your white wine is on the sofa. First, blot the spot with a dry white towel, says Tricia Holderman, a cleaning expert and CEO of Elite Facility Systems. Then, make a paste with water and six ounces of fresh baking soda (don’t use the old box in the back of your fridge — you’ll transfer bad smells, Holderman says). Dab the paste onto the stain and vacuum up the mixture once it’s dry.

2. PEANUT BUTTER
Peanut butter, one of the 50 Best Snacks for Rapid Weight Loss, will leave an oily, sticky stain on just about anything in its path, but that’s no reason to toss out this delicious and nutritious topping. If you get a spot of peanut butter on your shirt, pop it into the freezer or rub it with an ice pack. Scrape as much frozen peanut butter off the spot as you can, suggests Leslie Reichert, author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning.” Next, work some rubbing alcohol into the stain to break up the oil. Then, rub a bar of simple white soap into the stain. Rinse and repeat as necessary, then let air dry.

3. CHEESEBURGER
A cheeseburger is an example of a combination stain. “When you drop a cheeseburger on your lap, there is grease from the burger, cheese, ketchup and maybe mustard all in one stain,” said Dan Miller, founder and CEO of Mulberrys Garment Care. To remove this complex stain, you have to tackle each food individually. Start by dabbing the spot with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to break down the oils. Next, flush the rubbing alcohol from the stain and pour on some vinegar to break down the plant-based elements. Then, dab hydrogen peroxide on the spot with a cotton swab or a sponge and let sit for five minutes — this removes the animal-based elements of the stain. Finish by rubbing a small amount of detergent on the stain, then wash as normal. If the stain is on a delicate or brightly colored fabric, consult with your local dry cleaner instead to avoid ruining the garment.

4. GREASE
If you drop a greasy french fry on your pants at a restaurant, don’t panic. In a pinch, grab several artificial sweetener packets off the table and smother the stain, says Ashley Paul, the owner of interior design company Stella Interiors. “It helps absorb the oils,” Paul said. If you’re at home, break out the dishwashing soap. Dilute the soap with warm water before applying it to the stain, says Becca Napelbaum, a cleaning expert for Handy, an app for booking home cleaners. “Blot the stain until you have completely covered it with the solution and continue until the stain has disappeared,” Napelbaum said. “Repeat the process using cold water and then allow it to dry.”

5. BERRIES
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries are all delicious, but things can get ugly when they touch your clothes, your furniture or your carpet. Napelbaum says it’s best to treat berry stains immediately, before they get a chance to permanently leave their mark. If possible, stretch the fabric as tight as you can and then pour water over it to remove the majority of the stain. Let the material soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for at least an hour. Rinse and repeat until the stain disappears.

6. CHEESE
A cheese stain is tricky from a stain removal standpoint because it contains protein and oils. If the stain is fresh and on your clothes, soak the spot with laundry detergent for 30 minutes, suggests Napelbaum. If the stain is on your upholstery, mix dish soap with cold water and dab the spot with a cloth, repeating until the stain disappears. “Make sure not to clean it in hot water as that will cook it, making it stick,” Napelbaum said.

7. BEER
We all know beer has a tendency to splosh out of your cup and onto your shirt (here’s looking at you, college beer pong days). The best way to remove a dried beer stain is to rub an ice cube on it for a few minutes, Napelbaum says. Once the ice has melted a bit, apply stain remover and wash normally. Want to know which beers won’t ruin your diet?

8. SPAGHETTI SAUCE
If you’re eating spaghetti sauce with kids, there’s a pretty decent chance it’s going to end up all over them. To prevent the stain from setting, scrape as much sauce off the fabric as possible with a butter knife or a spoon, Napelbaum suggests. Run cold water over the stain to lift even more of the sauce. “Avoid using hot water, as that will cause tomato-based sauces to set even further,” Napelbaum said. Then, rub laundry detergent into the stain, working your way from the outside of the spot to the middle. Rinse and repeat this step until you remove the majority of the stain.

9. RED WINE
If you spill a glass of red wine, don’t panic. Grab a dry towel and dab — don’t rub — the stain to remove as much excess liquid as possible, Napelbaum says. Try pouring either salt or baking soda on the stain if the spot is on your carpet or furniture, then vacuum up the excess. You can do the same thing with clothing, then pre-treat with detergent and wash as you normally would. Now that you know how to get rid of a red wine stain, order a glass of one of these 16 Wines For Weight Loss with your next dinner.

10. COFFEE
Mornings can be frenzied, especially if you’re trying to get kids off to school on time. If you swish your coffee mug a little too vigorously, don’t worry– your favorite blouse isn’t ruined. Try to blot the fabric to remove as much liquid as you can. Then hand wash the stain with dishwashing liquid and warm water. RInse with cold water, says Napelbaum.

11. GUM
Though gum isn’t technically a stain, it’s just as annoying to remove. Your first step should be to rub some ice cubes or an ice pack on the spot to try to harden the gum, says Michelle Wall of Custom Curtains. After 10 to 15 minutes, try and scrape the solid gum off with a blunt knife, but be careful not to damage the fabric, she said. Soak the spot with white wine vinegar to break down the remaining gum residue, then wash as you normally would.

12. BABY FOOD
No surprises here: If you’re feeding a little one, some of the food is probably going to miss the baby’s mouth. Luckily, baby food stains aren’t too hard to get out. Simply scrape off the excess solids, then rinse the fabric with cold water, says Lauren Haynes, a cleaning expert at Star Domestic Cleaners. Gently rub some detergent onto the spot and let it sit. Rinse again, then wash as normal.

13. RAW MEAT
That red juice oozing from your steak isn’t actually blood, it’s myoglobin, a protein that creates a reddish pink liquid when it’s mixed with water. Still, this stuff is pretty gross and can stain your clothes. While it’s fresh, blot the spot with a clean cloth to remove excess liquid. Then, let the fabric soak in cold water and agitate it once in a while to loosen the stain, says Haynes. If that doesn’t do the trick, soak the fabric again in a solution of salt and water. Wash in cold water.

14. BUTTER
If you accidentally drop a pat of butter on your clothes, carefully scrape away as much as you can, Haynes says. Rub the spot with dishwashing soap and rinse thoroughly. Pretreat the stain with your go-to laundry stain remover, then wash at the hottest temperature allowed for that type of fabric.

15. KETCHUP
With its bright red coloring, ketchup is a particularly unfriendly condiment when it lands on your clothes. Not to worry, though, you can get a ketchup stain out. Remove as much excess ketchup as you can, then blot the stain with a clean white cloth, Haynes advises. Next, mix two cups of cold water with a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and apply the solution to the stain with a white cloth. Blot the spot until all of the liquid is absorbed, then repeat this process as necessary.

16. CHOCOLATE
Indulging in some dark chocolate every now and then has been shown to relieve stress and can even help you lose weight. But if you accidentally miss your mouth, you’ll want to act quickly to prevent staining. Haynes suggests rubbing the chocolate spot with ice cubes or an ice pack. Once the chocolate has hardened a bit, mix dish soap and cold water, then blot the area with this solution. If the stain is still visible, you can absorb the rest with a little cornmeal.

17. SALAD DRESSING
To remove a small spot of salad dressing from your clothing, simply saturate the area with your favorite laundry stain remover. If the stain is stubborn, rub the spot with liquid detergent and wash as normal, according to the University of Missouri’s textile and apparel management department. If the stain is super heavy, apply dry-cleaning fluid to the back of the fabric and let it dry before washing.

18. MAPLE SYRUP
If Sunday brunch gets the best of you, don’t give up on pancakes just yet. To remove maple syrup from fabric, soak the item for 15 minutes in a solution of lukewarm water, dish soap and white vinegar, then rinse. Dib a sponge into rubbing alcohol, then dab the spot lightly working from the center to the edge of the stain, suggests the University of Missouri’s textile and apparel management department.

19. BABY FORMULA
If you have kids, a baby formula stain is pretty much inevitable. To start, scrape as much excess material off the fabric as you can. Mix a solution of lukewarm water, dish soap and ammonia. If you can soak, the fabric in the solution for 15 minutes, according to the University of Missouri’s textile and apparel management department. Rub the back of the spot gently to loosen the stain, then soak for another 15 minutes and rinse. Wash as normal.

20. EGGNOG
File this tip away for your next holiday party. If you or one of your party guests spills eggnog, don’t worry, no one will end up on Santa’s naughty list. To get rid of an eggnog stain, Holderman says there’s nothing better than OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover. Simply follow the directions and you’ll be back to belting “Deck the Halls” in no time.

Original article available here

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An on-demand laundry startup hoping to clean up where others have washed out

 

On-demand laundry has proven a tough business for some. Washio folded up its business last year, selling its assets into competitor Rinse. At the time Rinse’s founder Ajay Prakash told TechCrunch the on-demand model wasn’t the most efficient or economical way to handle the dirty business of cleaning clothes.

But now Mulberrys, a new cleaning competitor in the Ba Area, hopes to prove him wrong by mixing old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores with an on-demand platform.

Mulberrys just launched out of beta this week with 10 physical locations and a fleet of drivers to serve the city of San Francisco, but it’s been up and operating in Minneapolis for the last few years.

Founder Dan Miller started the business as a McKinsey consultant but soon left to go to the School of Drycleaning Technology to learn how to press all those fancy suits he’d been wearing up to that point.

“I was consistently amazed by how far behind the dry cleaning and laundry industry was from what you’d think of as just modern best practices. A lot of dry cleaners don’t even have a website,” Miller said.

He soon built himself a more modernized operation but with a twist. Mulberrys offers dry cleaning on top of laundry service and Miller’s business controls the pipeline from pickup service to cleaning and delivery. All cleaning is done in-house and workers are employees, not contractors.

 

This may have been where Washio fumbled as there is a high cost in turnover and retention of third-party workers in the on-demand space. We should point out Rinse also hires within rather than trying to recruit contractors.

Miller is to a point now where, along with the Silicon Valley rollout, he’s looking to raise some smart money for his startup — to the tune of around $20 million. He might have a good shot at convincing investors. Unlike a lot of other startups in Silicon Valley, Miller says his business didn’t take VC dollars. It’s been profitable for years. According to Miller, maintaining control over every aspect of the business has helped to increase Mulberrys margins while providing a seamless customer experience.

Mulberrys works like a lot of other laundry startups. You pick a day and time for laundry pick-up and a Mulberrys worker comes to take it, cleans it and hands it back to you usually within the same day. But, unlike Rinse, you can get a Mulberrys driver to pick up your laundry morning or night, not just within a two-hour evening window.

So how does that experience actually fare? I tested it out while it was in beta. There were a few kinks, as to be expected. The driver tried to pick up my laundry twice in one day and the app didn’t have the day I wanted for my area. But all of that seems to have been solved with the launch this week. You can choose any day or time for pick up in your zip code now.

 

They also dry cleaned a purple blouse for me, getting most, but not all, of the oil stain out. The Mulberrys delivery person explained to me she’d be able to get all of it out if they had another day but that next day was impossible. Though she did readily offer to clean it again for free to get the job done.

Miller also points out his cleaning business uses environmentally friendly cleaning products. And each bag of laundry you submit goes through a 10-point inspection process so you shouldn’t find any…odd…items in your bag when it’s delivered back to you.

Will this one make it? Mulberrys will have to compete with at least one other service in the Bay Area for now, but there seems to be plenty of tech workers willing to pay for someone else to do the cooking, cleaning and washing of clothes for them at the click of a button in SF.

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