Our business is to keep you and your clothing looking its best. For some fabrics special care is needed and stain removal can also be fairly tricky. We’ve provided some of the best practices and tips for you to use.
Tips on Silk
In an emergency, should I use club soda to treat the stain?
First, there is nothing special about club soda as a stain remover agent. If you are attempting any do-it-yourself stain treatment just remember this:
BLOT, DON’T RUB. Silk will chafe easily or develop light areas if rubbed while wet. Get the garment to us ASAP.
- Apply perfume, cologne, deodorant, and hair spray before dressing to prevent color loss and staining.
- Exercise great caution with household products. It’s almost a sure-fire way to ruin a terrific garment if left untreated.
- Never use chlorine bleach or products containing chlorine on silk. It will permanently change the color.
- Store garments in a dark area. Long exposure to sunlight or even strong lights can cause streaks and fading.
- Blot, don’t rub silk when wet.
We have the experience and knowledge to carefully clean all of your silk garments.
Silk garments are no longer limited to high-end designer labels or neckties. Everyday silk casual wear for men and women is very popular. We know because we clean a lot of silk garments. It drapes, looks and feels great. But, like other fabrics, silk is susceptible to conditions of wear, stains, and color loss.
Should I dryclean or wash my silk garment?
We know that silk responds well to dry cleaning. Washing silk at home may result in shrinkage, limpness, and considerable fading.
I did wash it at home and now look at it. Can you help me?
Regrettably, some ‘washable’ silk dyes do not react well to water. Oftentimes vibrant colors fade in washing, resulting in fading or multi-colored dyes will run into one another. We see it especially when light and darker dyed fabrics are combined. We routinely double check colorfastness before we begin any cleaning process. You should too when washing at home.
Can you get the underarm stains out?
Well, yes and no. We know how to address this problem and we do. But, sometimes perspiration and other conditions of wear result in a permanent color change.
Also, contact with chloride salts weaken silk. In addition to perspiration, chloride salts are present in many types of beverages, food, medicines, and yes, salt water. The most common type of chloride damage is the result from perspiration or contact with an antiperspirant.
If you perspire in it, clean the garment as soon as possible. This may help avoid permanent staining, irreversible fabric damage, color loss, or color changes. Use of underarm shields may minimize some of these conditions.
It looks like the color is gone in certain areas. What happened?
Loss of color in localized areas usually occurs because the fabric came in contact with a substance during consumer use. Contact with any of the following can cause discoloration:
- Hand sanitizers
- Body sprays
- Deodorants and other consumer and household products
- Moisturizers and other skin care products
- Perfume or cologne
- Hair spray
- Home detergents and dish liquids
- Facial cleansers
- Products containing chlorine
- Mouthwash and other astringents
Not all colored fabrics are created equally. Although color performance has improved with modern technology, failures may still occur. Here are some things that we have to be aware of.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires manufacturers to attach a permanent care label to textile garments providing directions for their care. That care label is intended to provide both consumers and garment care specialists guidance on how to care for a garment. A garment labeled “Dryclean” should have dyes that can withstand dry cleaning, and “Washable” garments should have dyes that will perform well when washed.
The best way for manufacturers to determine care procedures is through testing. Unfortunately, this is not always done and sometimes can mean less than satisfactory cleaning results.
Here are some tips to ensure the best color performance of your garments:
- Always read and follow care instructions.
- Protect white and colored garments from excessive exposure to light.
- When in doubt, ask us before you do anything.
Color Loss in Dry Cleaning
A dye that is soluble in dry cleaning may fade during care. If two or more dyes have been used and only one is soluble, there is a good possibility of a dramatic color change. For example, if a yellow dye component of a green garment were to break down, you could be left with a blue garment! There is no way of knowing this in advance. Another dramatic example of color failure could be a blue garment that retains its color, while its blue and white surface-print may fade so that the blues no longer match. Occurrences such as this example are rare, but they can happen in the first cleaning or progress with each subsequent cleaning.
Fading may occur in household items such as bedspreads and draperies. Often the fading may not be noticeable until the item is compared with a matching item. We recommend that all matching items be drycleaned or laundered at the same time to ensure color uniformity.
Dye Deterioration from Light and Chemicals
Most dyes eventually fade with exposure to sun or artificial light. Color failure may occur rapidly on exposed areas of garments such as shoulders, collars, and sleeves. Particularly sensitive are blue, green, and lavender dyes, especially those used on silk or wool fabrics.
Common household substances can also be culprits of color loss. Be careful not to expose fabrics to alkaline toiletries such as toothpaste or shampoo. Hairspray, perfume, and deodorant contain alcohol which may cause color loss on silk or rayon. Even the acidity of lemon juice affects some dyes. Color loss as a result of these situations might not be visible until after the garment is cleaned. Bleach, a component in many household cleaning products and skin or hair preparations, is one of the most common causes of color loss and fabric damage.
Whether it’s a new or well-worn, treasured garment, everyone hates to stain their clothing. We understand, and will always use our best efforts to make stains go away.
Successful stain removal depends largely on the nature of the stain, the type of fabric, and the colorfastness of the dye. Some fabrics and dyes simply will not withstand the use of cleaning or stain removal agents. Some stains, like ink and dried paint for example, can be impossible to remove.
“Miracle” stain removers – guaranteed to remove stains – are pretty much just that. It would be a miracle if they did the job.
Help Us Help You with Stains
Bring a stained garment to us as soon as possible to prevent the stain from setting. Show us the location of stains (see “invisible stains”) and tell us any removal procedures you may have attempted before turning to us for help.
Never put a garment away for the season without it being cleaned. Every year we see garments that weren’t dirty “when I put it away for summer,” only to be taken out in the fall full of little holes and stains. The smallest unseen food crumb or spillage invites insect damage.
Don’t iron stained or soiled clothes trying to get just one more wearing out of them. Ironing dirty clothes will set stains and drive soil deeper into the fabric. Not good.
If You Must Do Something Before We Get Your Stains
Never rub a stain. Blot the stained area. This may help remove some of the staining substance while avoiding damage to the fabric.
“But It Wasn’t Stained When I Brought It In”
Some stains caused by beverages, food, or oily substances may not be visible after they dry. But later, with exposure to heat or simply the passage of time, a yellow or brownish stain will appear. This is the end result of oxidation or caramelization of sugar or sweetening agents. It is the same process that makes a peeled apple turn brown after exposure to air. If we don’t know about it we can’t fix it, so let us know if you spilled something.
White Turns Yellow
This problem arises when white and pastel fabrics begin to yellow. When this happens, a little investigative work typically reveals a manufacturer defect in the optical or fluorescent whitening agent applied to the fabric. When this agent begins to break down, as the result of exposure to light, atmospheric gases, dry cleaning or washing solutions, then yellowing results. The problem cannot be corrected and can only be prevented by the manufacturer using stable brighteners.
Consumer-Related Sources of Discoloration Stains
Perspiration – Body oils, antiperspirants, or perspiration left long enough on silk and wool garments will weaken the fabric. Frequently cleaning clothes heavily soiled with perspiration can lessen the likelihood of a problem.
Acids – Perspiration, deodorant, antiperspirant, even “all natural organic” products, fruit juice, or hair preparations can cause a change or loss of color along with weakening the fabric.
Alcohol – Perfume, cologne, skin freshener, aftershave, hair spray, medicine, and adult beverages can cause permanent stains or color loss.
Bleach – Home bleach, hair care products, disinfectant, skin lotion, acne preparations, whitening toothpaste, medicine, cleaning products, office supplies, and other such items can cause a change or loss of color or fabric weakening depending on the dye and fabric.
Alkaline Substances – Cleaning products, toothpaste, soap, detergents, shampoo, and skin preparations can also cause problems that may not appear until the stained area has aged or the item is exposed to heat during a cleaning process.
Salt – Perspiration, beverages and food, medicine, even wintry street gutter splash or snow removal slush can result in a change in color on wool fabrics.
Hair Preparations – Permanent wave solution or other hair care products can result in a change in color. This type of staining is easily recognized by the location in the neckline, shoulder, or back of a garment.
Here’s What We Do for Stains
We attempt to remove stains in accordance with professional practices. However, not all stains can be removed despite our best efforts. This usually means that:
- The stains are very old, oxidized, and set in the fabric
- The delicacy of the fabric limits the degree of removal
- The fabric dye is soluble – that is, we would remove the dye along with the stain
The more information you provide and the sooner you give it to us, the greater the chance of satisfactory stain removal.