Useful Industry Information for dry cleaners

Caption: The chemically weakened underarm areas came apart during laundering.

Q: After laundering I am noticing weak areas and holes developing in the underarms of items made of cotton and linen. The body of the garments is strong. It only seems to be the underarm area where the fabric is weak. What could be causing this type of damage?

A: Antiperspirants usually contain a high concentration of substances that can damage cellulose fibers such as cotton, linen, ramie, and rayon. The agitation of laundering will cause the chemically damaged fibers to tear or be removed from the fabric. The longer the antiperspirant stays on the cellulose fiber, the more likely damage will occur.

To prevent this type of damage from occurring, antiperspirants should be removed from the article as soon as possible. Advising the consumer to make every effort to have the garments cleaned regularly to minimize the exposure of antiperspirants on the item will help.

Caption: Accidental contact with an oxidizing bleach caused the color loss spots on the front of this shirt.

Q: After drycleaning a light blue blouse I noticed small areas of color loss on the lower right front panel. The blouse was not treated for stain removal while in the plant. What could have caused the color loss?

A: One of the most common causes of color losses in localized areas is contact with an oxidizing agent, such as a bleach, prior to the cleaning process. Oxidizing agents are found in hair care products, acne preparations, medicines for the skin, home bleaches, disinfectants, scouring products, and other cleaning agents. The discoloration may not show up until the item is exposed to the heat in the drying cycle or steam finishing. The drycleaning process is a total immersion process and cannot cause localized areas of color loss. A color loss from an oxidizing agent is permanent. In some cases, it may be masked by the use of a dye pad or dye pencil, or by re-dyeing the entire garment.

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