One of the dry cleaners worst feelings is not being able to remove a stain. The unfortunate reality is that some stains are permanent and become part of the fabric. Continued attempts to remove them can cause dye loss or fabric damage, known as “chafing” or “fraying”.
Most stains are removed by the dry cleaning machine and require no additional effort from the dry cleaner. A group of stains, called “stubborn stains”, require the attention of a stain removal specialist called the “spotter”. Spotting stubborn stains requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and experience.
The Spotter’s Dilemma – When presented with a stubborn stain, spotters are eager to do everything humanely possible to remove it. A combination of strong stain removing solutions and unique mechanical actions are required to get them out. Initially the spotter will try using the mildest stain removal methods and solutions first. If the stain remains, they will try something a little stronger. They will continue to repeat this process until either the stain is successfully removed or the fabric begins to show early signs of dye loss or chafing. At this point, they will stop working on the stain because they risk damaging the fabric.
The Process to Permanent – A stain can consist of virtually any liquid substance that comes in contact with your clothes. Time usually determines whether a stain can be removed or not. Almost all stains can be removed if treated quickly enough. However, most stains will become permanent if left untreated too long. When first coming into contact with fabric, most stains will initially remain on the surface and can be removed relatively easily. Over time, stains permeate the fibers and begin to react with the fabric’s dye. A chemical change takes place and the stain literally changes the color of the fabric. Stains often turn light fabrics darker or dark fabrics lighter. These color changes in the fabric are almost always permanent. Once this takes places, even if the spotter removes the original stain, the fabric where the stain was is now a different color. It looks like the stain is still there, but it’s not. What you are seeing is the permanent damage that the stain caused.
Heat causes the same type of stain “setting” that time does. You should never apply heat of any kind to a stain. Do not iron a stained garment and do not put it in the dryer.
If unsure how to treat a new stain, simply bring it to Discount Cleaners and we’ll be happy to assist you!