Stains requires prompt treatment for a successful removal. Unfortunately, hand washing is not an effective way of removing stain. This leaves us with the option of dry cleaning. But, can dry cleaning remove stains?This question can only be answered if the real meaning of dry cleaning is first understood. This is the process of cleaning textiles and clothing using a chemical solvent (other than water). All stains, including the most catastrophic ones can be removed with ease if their special solvents and equipment are used.
For stains to be removed successfully, a number of factors need to be considered. These are:-
· The nature of the stain
· The colourfastness of the dye
· The type of fabric
THE NATURE OF THE STAIN
1. INVISIBLE STAIN
Food, beverages and oily substances might become invisible after they dry but turn into a brownish or yellowish stain with time or after being exposed to air. This is attributed to the caramelization or the oxidation of the sugars in these staining substance.If your clothes are exposed to an invisible stain, it is important to inform your dry cleaner so that he/she treats it with the suitable method. These stains are treated prior to dry cleaning as the heat of finishing or drying can set these stains making removal impossible.
2. STAINS FROM BODY OILS AND FROM PERSPIRATION
Perspiration can leave very stubborn stains especially on wool and silk. Any clothing continuously exposed to body oils and perspiration can get permanently discoloured, odoriferous or yellowish. These stains are extremely difficult to remove as they react with the garment’s dyes and sizing.
People who perspire a lot are advised to have their clothing dry cleaned as frequently as possible or to wear perspiration shields.
THE TYPE OF THE FABRIC AND THE COLOURFASTNESS OF THE DYE
It is important to note that not all stains can be removed from clothes even after putting the best of efforts. Due to the nature of some fabrics, dry cleaning can only be done to safeguard against damage. Some stains that gets oxidized and get absorbed in the fabric are just impossible to remove. Total removal of stains may not be possible if the dyes in the fabric are prone to bleeding since these dyes will be removed together with the stain. These type of dyes (those that easily bleed) have poor colourfastness.
In other words, stains cannot be removed through dry cleaning if:-
· The stains are very old, are oxidized or are set in the fabric.
· The fabrics are of a delicate nature that limits the degree of stain removal.
· The dye in the fabric is soluble, meaning that it will be removed together with the stain.
· The stain is stronger than the dye.
These are the brown or yellow stains that you find on your clothes after you’ve stored them for long periods. Stains, including the small amount of oils transferred from your skin, combines with oxygen over time and form these stains. This reaction is referred to as oxidation and is similar to that of rusting and burning.
DEALING WITH STAINS: WHAT CAN COMPLICATE STAIN REMOVAL THROUGH DRY CLEANING
The best way to deal with a stain on your clothes is to take them to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible. Point out the nature of the stain to the dry cleaner as this will greatly increase the chances of successful removal.Never put stained clothes away or pile them together as exposure to the atmosphere and the warmth of the closet will only set the stain making the stain difficult to remove. Do not attempt to iron a stained cloth as the heat may also set the dye.
Never attempt to remove the stain with a common household bleaching agent. This is so because most bleach solution remove stains through oxidation, implying that if they fail in removing the stain, then they will complete the oxidation process. This will further set the stain making it impossible to remove through dry cleaning.Only blot a stain with a clean absorbent tissue paper and have it dry cleaned by a professional as soon as possible. Dry cleaning can remove all but a few stains from your clothes. It is therefore very important to take your stained clothes to a professional for dry cleaning as soon as possible.