The Ottawa Snowsuit Fund

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You’ve probably noticed the weather getting a little colder, the air is a little crisper, and even though no snow is on the ground it’s only a matter of time! To be honest, I’m quite excited to see the first real snowfall of the year. I’m definitely not complaining about the amazing weather we’ve been having and I’ll probably eat my words when that chilly Ottawa winter rolls around but Christmas lights are starting to be put up… and we all know they look much prettier with a white landscape! It’s around this time of year that we get to experience the true holiday spirit. Every mall is playing holiday music that annoys most of us but secretly we miss it when it’s gone!

BUT, it’s also around this time where our community needs the most support. Food banks need more donations, homeless shelters need more support, and for many people, winter is dreaded because of their circumstances. We all know how unbelievably cold it gets around this time of year. For many parents, their worst fear is not being able to provide their children with their basic needs, including warm clothing for the cold winter months. The Snowsuit Fund is an Ottawa-based charity that focuses on keeping children from impoverished families in our community warm during this long, cold winter. This is a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts. No child should ever be left behind. 

Browns has been supporting the Snowsuit Fund for years and is one of its founding partners! Every year, we urge our clients and members of the community to drop off their gently used jackets, snow pants, snowsuits, mittens, gloves and scarves to any of our locations around Ottawa. Browns will clean all of the outerwear that it receives for free and pass it along to the Snowsuit Fund where it will be given to a child who really needs it! For many of these children, having a snowsuit for the wintertime will be their favourite gift this season. 

If you have just taken your winter jacket out of the back of your closet, or attic, or basement and realize that it needs a clean, we’ve got a special limited time offer for you! You get 15% OFF when you bring your winter coat to get professionally cleaned at Browns Cleaners. Please click on the link for more details! 

Stay warm Ottawans! 

Check out this video about the Ottawa Snowsuit Fund

 

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How to take Care of your Staple Fall and Winter Pieces

If you look at any fashion magazine, you will see clothing items made of the following four materials. They are usually expensive items but they make all the difference in your wardrobe. More importantly, they will stay in your closet for years to come because they always stay on trend! If you have some of these items from seasons before, or if you’ve recently added some of these items to your wardrobe, this post is for you!

Leather 

leather jacket

The autumn months are notorious for those black and beautiful motto jackets. Even the leather vests are making a comeback! This super trendy wardrobe item is great for layering and adding some attitude to any outfit!

Faux Fur

Gorgeous brunette standing on the train station with her luggage

Fur is very trendy these days! A fur jacket or a fur vest is a staple piece to have in your closet. It’s great for layering. It looks very chic. It looks great with almost everything. Most importantly, it keeps you warm.

Shearling

Shearling coat,

Shearling (also known as sheepskin) is another very fashion forward material used to create your favourite clothing items. Like the others listed above, this fabric is very delicate and needs some special care.

Suede

beautiful female wearing a suede jacket

Suede is a stunning fabric! A lot of people love to wear suede skirts with tights, suede coats and jackets, and suede hats are also a huge fashion item for the fall.

I don’t know about you, but when I made my first “staple item” investment, I was NOT thinking about how I was going to clean them. It occurred to me this fall when I brought out my fall clothing to the forefront of my closet. They needed to be cleaned before I could wear them again. There is nothing worse than clothes that look beaten up or worn!

Cleaning Faux fur, Shearling, and Leather 

The best way to clean your faux fur, shearling and leather items between getting them professionally cleaned is by hand washing them. Fill a large bin with cold or lukewarm water. Use some liquid hand soap to create suds and place your clothing item into the bin of water. Make sure to agitate the item so it gets completely soaked in the water. For leather items, gently rub spots to remove any stains or dirt. Afterwards, make sure to rinse the item until the soap residue is all gone. Once you’ve done this, especially for your faux-fur or shearling items, roll them in a towel so you remove the excess water. Make sure to let all of your items air dry. When it comes to really delicate or intricate fabrics, the heat from drying machines or blow dryers will actually ruin the fabric!

When it comes to Your Special Pieces… It’s Best to Be Safe 

It is recommended that you get all of your special wardrobe pieces professionally cleaned. For items that are made of delicate fabrics like faux-fur, shearling, suede, and leather, they need a little extra care to maintain their beauty. Throwing shearling or suede into a washing machine or even hand washing could change its entire look. For suede items we recommend you take them to get professionally cleaned. These clothing pieces can be easily damaged if not properly taken care of. When you invest in these staple pieces, you want them in your wardrobe for a very long time. You want them to last you a couple of years at least! To help maintain their beauty and keep them looking like new, invest in getting them professionally cleaned. It will make all the difference in the long run!

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Why do Drapes Get so Dirty? We’ve Got the Answer!

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The weather is getting colder and you can finally wear those amazing boots you’ve bought for the Fall. You’ve got to admit, the leaves changing colours, the crunch they make when you step on them, and the crisp autumn air is something you really enjoy but you can’t help but miss summer already. The sun, the beautiful green trees surrounding you, and especially leaving your windows open all day to let that summer breeze in.

When the seasons change, it’s not just you who needs to adjust! It’s everything in your house. That’s why when spring comes around, most people take a good two weeks just to clean out their homes and prepare for the warmer weather. Now that winter is fast approaching, you’re going to have to do the same!

The number one step you should take when that cold weather hits is washing your curtains and drapes. If you’re like me, your windows were wide open every single day of summer. If you take a look at your curtains now, you will probably notice that they are REALLY dirty. Why does this happen? When you leave your windows open, your curtains are collecting dirt from the outside and absorbing moisture. Open windows attract lots of dust, and if you’re not careful, all that warmth coming in from outside can actually cause your drapes to start molding! Yuck!

Now that the weather is getting colder, your windows are most likely shut! So this is good right? Since open windows seem to be a huge factor in your drapes getting dirty, closed windows should help. Unfortunately this is not the case. If your windows frames have drafts or cracks, dirt is making its way inside as well. Your curtain attracts lots of dust whether it’s coming from your air vents, or ceiling fans in your home. Someway, somehow it manages to cling onto your curtains. Even if you clean your home every single day, your curtains will still get dirty. When you’re sweeping or vacuuming, the dust particles and debris will circulate in the air and eventually, some of this dust will transfer onto your curtain.

The best way to keep them clean is to give them some undivided care and attention. Sending them to get professionally cleaned is your best option, unless you want to go out and buy yourself a new pair of curtains. Getting them professionally cleaned will make sure that all that dirt and grime is gone and will have your curtains looking like new! After that, it’s all about maintenance. Every time you vacuum and dust your floors, make sure you’re vacuuming and dusting your draperies as well!

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Fun Halloween Ideas for your Little Ones!

This is the cutest time of the year! All of the little pumpkins, princesses, and monsters running around with their baskets ready to be filled with candy. We know, it’s still September, but it’s never too early to start thinking about costumes! Especially ones that come in mini-size for your little ones.

Carving a Pumpkin!

We all love pumpkin carving! It’s a great way to get the family together and in the festive spirit. Instead of carving out some scary faces, you may want to try this! On a piece of blank white paper, stencil out your baby’s hands and feet. Tape the stencils you’ve created to the pumpkin using some clear tape in the position you like. Using a black sharpie, outline the hands and feet stencils and carve them out!

Costumes

Babies look so cute in their costumes. Let’s face it, getting them all dressed up will be the best part of your day. Here are our top 5 baby costumes that will make every heart melt this Halloween!

1. Pumpkin
This one is obvious. BUT, kids look cute as buttons when they walk around in their pumpkin costumes with a pumpkin basket surrounded by colourful fall leaves. The end result? Some AMAZING photos.

Credit: Monkey Business Images

2. Despicable Me Minion
Just look at this photo. How cute is this kid?

Credit: Etsy.com

3. Starbucks Drink
Seriously? This kid can’t be any cuter! Everybody loves caffeine and you love your kid just as much right?

Credit: Buzzfeed.com/morganshanahan



4. Peas in a Pod
What do they say about twins? They’re like two peas in a pod? If you are raising twins, this costume idea is perfect for you and definitely something your twins will thank you for years later. Siblings have a very special connection. For twins, this connection is even stronger!

Credit: raising-twins.com

5. We all love TACOS
Your baby loves to crawl… It’s the number one way for them to get places and they’d like to keep crawling even on halloween. This taco costume will let them move and stay cute!

Credit: brit.co

TRICK or TREAT? Maybe you should DITCH the candy!

Unless you have other little kids who want to go out for Halloween to fill their baskets with candy, you can use this time to raise funds for your favourite charity with your baby in tow. Some people also collect canned goods during this time to stock the shelves of local food banks who always get an influx of people coming to them for help during the start of the winter months.

If it’s your baby’s first Halloween, chances are they won’t be nibbling on the chocolate and candy. It’s a great chance for you and your friends to get together with your kids and make a difference in your community!

Take LOTS of Photos!

Baby’s first halloween is a big deal…. for the parents at least! Hey, you work hard to make sure your child gets everything they need. So it’s okay to to do something for yourself, even if it is dressing your baby in silly costumes, taking loads and loads of pictures, uploading them ALL to your Facebook, or Instagram and enjoying this moment with your young child. Don’t be embarrassed to go absolutely crazy with picture taking. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing!

After halloween is over and those costumes become dirty, don’t forget to get them professionally cleaned before you store them away until next year!

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5 Things you Should Know About Browns Cleaners

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We want you to get to know us better! The best way we know how to make this happen, is to share a little bit about who we are, what we value, and what we stand for!We are All

1. About Family
When you visit us, we want you to feel like you’re visiting family! We started off as a small Mom and Pop shop right here in Ottawa FIFTY-SIX years ago. Today, we hold close to heart all of the values that kept the MacGregor  family together and their business afloat for all of these years.We have expanded into 27 stores across Ottawa, the city that we love. We’ve grown in this wonderful community alongside all clients and what drives us is all of YOU. We care, we are always trying to do our best to take care of all of your needs!

2. Community is Important!

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We know how much our wonderful city has grown and changed because we’ve grown and changed with it! Fifty years ago, things looked pretty different around here. Cell phones and the Internet and the fast-paced life we’re used to today were uncommon back then. There were small boutiques instead of tall buildings. It was at this time when we first developed a great sense of community. Today, we are still very much in love with the wonderful city in which we’ve grown and are always looking to give back. We are involved with the Snowsuit Fund, Suits me, Fairy Godmother of Ottawa, Heart and Stroke Foundation and many more.

3. We’ve Known Struggle… and PERSEVERED!
This year has been a tough one for us! Mack MacGregor, the owner of Browns Cleaners was dealt a bad hand when a fire broke out in the Glebe and destroyed one of his stores alongside a number of other businesses. Shortly after, his wife was injured in a freak accident, and then shortly after that another fire broke out at another one of his stores! Luckily, nobody was hurt! We didn’t let this set us back… as a team we moved forward.

It took no time at all to get the main plant back up and running at full capacity. Regarldess of whether the smoke actually affected all clothing at both locations, we thoroughly re-cleaned all pieces in order to remove any smoke odour.

4. We are GREEN!

465326133We have only one earth and we need to do all we can to protect it! We are proud of our GreenEarth cleaning process that uses the ONLY environmentally non-toxic solvent to clean your clothes.

It uses no hazardous chemicals, is non-allergenic, non-irritating and has absolutely no odour. Most importantly, it is GREEN! It’s safe for the air, water and soil AND for your clothes!

Learn more here!

5. We are Wedding Gown Specialists

1381794_639178596203838_7191894425390797916_nThe family-run Browns Cleaners is the ONLY cleaner in Eastern Ontario to be accepted as a member of the International Association of Wedding Gown Specialists. The MacGregor family has seen its fair share of weddings and has played a vital role in making sure that the bride’s wedding gown becomes an incredible memento once the big day is all over. You can trust the Browns team to preserve or restore your wedding dress! Our lifetime guarantee ensures that your dress will stay beautiful forever!

Learn more here! 

Most important of all… We care! We couldn’t be here without all of your support and we wouldn’t be able to be successful without a main motivation. We started off as a small family run business and there is nothing more special than the friendly, familiar faces we see popping into our stores!

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Can You Throw Your Shoes into the Washing Machine???

Credit: Warrengoldswain

Credit: Warrengoldswain

Let’s face it, your running shoes get dirty, smelly and gross after a while and hand washing them in a bin of cold water and soap just doesn’t do the trick anymore. So you think throwing them in the washing machine to get them clean seems like a good idea. Some will tell you that you should NOT throw your shoes in the washing machine. Others will swear by it! Here are a couple of steps you can take to minimize risk to make sure your shoes get cleaned not ruined when you throw them in your washing machine.

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5 Easy Tips when Cleaning your Workout Clothes!

Credit: Antonio Diaz

Credit: Antonio Diaz

Ottawa has been having such beautiful weather lately. The last couple of weeks have been perfect for early-morning runs on the canal, or late night gym sessions with your favourite music blasting through your earphones. When you’re hitting the gym, you hardly think about having to get your gym clothes clean. Isn’t the whole point of working out going hard after all?

It’s no surprise that your workout clothes take a good beating every time you hit the gym. Although you aren’t trying to make a fashion statement with them, you want to keep them in good condition. It’s no secret that sports wear is expensive. The fabrics used to make them so easy to move in while holding everything else together means you having to spend lots of money on clothes that get dirty fast and often.

Taking care of your workout gear is not the same as doing laundry… You have to pay special attention to detail to make sure that your clothes maintain their lasting power. How do you make sure you get the most out of your workout clothes? Follow these tips to make sure your sportswear stays fresh and clean.

1. Don’t let your workout clothes sit in your gym bag

The minute you come home, take your active wear out of your gym bag so they can air dry. Once they’ve had a little time out in the open, turn them inside out and put them in the washing machine right away. Wash your active wear in cold water and add a bit of vinegar as it helps to get rid of the smell!

2. Say no to adding extra detergent to clean your workout clothes

It seems like the right thing to do. The minute you unzip your gym bag to take your workout clothes out you prepare yourself for the overpowering stench that takes over the room. It seems only right that you add a little more of that cleaning stuff to your load of dirty laundry… but it’s NOT!  Overloading your washing machine with too much detergent will not work. Your washing machine is made to process a certain amount of detergent. Too little will not be enough and too much could ruin your sportswear and cause mildew to grow on your clothes afterwards.

3. Do NOT use fabric softener on your workout clothes

Your workout clothes use a wicking technology to absorb sweat from your skin while you’re working out. Using fabric softener can prevent this technology from working and lock in those bad smells. Your activewear is made of very delicate materials so make sure to follow the care label when you put them in the wash!

4. Air dry your workout clothes

Make sure to air dry your active wear to prevent any shrinking or heat damage. You want to maintain your clothing’s elasticity and the best way to do this is to make sure the materials used to make them dry on their own.

5. Remove all bacteria and odour 

After a while, your sportswear and your gym bag collects bacteria and that very bad smell comes from the bacteria. Throwing your clothes and gym bag into the wash won’t get rid of the smell or the bacteria. Some cleaners, such as Browns, provide deep cleaning and Ozone treatments that will remove the bacteria. These treatments will leave your sportswear and gym bag fresh and sanitized.

Whether you’re in the office, running errands or at the gym, your clothes are a reflection of you. You always want to put your best face forward and these tips will help you do just that!

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