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Remember the trip, not the stain

Today from Beijing I wanted to share with you a laundry tip.

Ni Hao from China.

As some of you may know, I am currently travelling in China on business, so my column for the next 10 days comes from Beijing and Shanghai.

Today from Beijing I wanted to share with you a laundry tip.

Now I hope I don’t disappoint you, but my Tide To Go Stick is by far one of a butler’s best friends!

Because of airline luggage restrictions and costs for additional pieces, travellers need to pack as moderately as possible.

Therefore if you are travelling for any extended period of time, doing laundry while away becomes necessary.

So how do we deal with daily stains such as soup on your tie or ketchup on your shirt?

Remember a few good stain removal techniques to use while on the road.

1. Club Soda: This is always great to use when trying to rinse a stain, like white wine, through your garment.

2. Commercial Remover such as a Tide to Go Stick. Now just for the record, I am not paid by Tide to speak on their behalf. I just like their product. This is great for fresh food and drink stains.

3. PH neutral Soap such as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, a small container in your toiletries bag is a big help.

Remember PH neutral soap is great on grease stains.

So how does all of this relate to travel?

Remember the number one laundry rule: before you launder any garment you must check the label and get the stain out before washing.

By pre-treating stains, you can hand over your garment to the hotel laundry department with little worry.

Now some of you may wonder why not just let the hotel worry about the stain — my answer to that is if I am far away from home, and have a favourite clothing item, I don’t want to entrust it to someone I don’t know.

Therefore I pre-treat the stain once I hand over the garment to the hotel and I don’t have to worry about their stain removal abilities.

Now for another question:

A few questions related to the care of shoes:

- Do you remove the laces when you polish them?

- Do you have any special tips for how to apply polish, shine, and buff?

- How do you re-lace the shoes?

Thanks in advance,

Tongue Tied

Dear Tongue Tied,

As you may already know, gentlemen in particular are often judged by the way they care for their shoes.

This is an essential part of a man’s wardrobe that should never be overlooked.

1. Always remove shoelaces before you polish your shoes, otherwise you will get polish on the laces, and this in turn gets on your hands when you tie your shoelaces.

2. Hard paste is the most common type of polish, and should be applied with a clean, dry rag. Use very little polish as you can always add more, and too much polish makes buffing your shoes that much harder.

3. Shoes should always be re-laced as you found them. Today’s butlers take a picture of how they were laced and once the shoe has been polished will re-lace the shoes as before.

Speaking of shoes, I’m off to walk the Great Wall of China and think about my next column.

• Got a question? Send an Email to askcharlesthebutler@metronews.ca

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