Color-Solver (Part 1)

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(Photo: Pete Bellis/Unsplash)

Martin L. Young Jr. |

Take steps to remedy your ‘altered-dye-color’ dilemma

CONCORD, N.C. — You just knocked the color out of the dress.

It happens. You are focused on a mustard stain and following proper stain-removal protocol. You apply your tannin stain remover...and then the light blue color turns yellow where you applied your spotting agent.

There are times, with the best of intention, the spotter will “dig himself into a hole.” The choices are limited: pay the claim, deny responsibility, or find a course of action to restore the garment.

Here are some things you can do to help remedy the problem.

Many dyes are sensitive to the pH of the chemical tool being used. That is the science. It means that the color of the dye may not be gone, only altered. There is a solution, if you act quickly.

(Note: The term “pH” is a measurement of the hydrogen atom concentration, used to express the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14, where less than 7 represents acidity, 7 represents neutral, and more than 7 represents alkalinity.)

Pull the affected area over the vacuum nose of the board and flush the area with steam while at the same time applying an opposite-pH chemical tool.

If the color change happens when you applied the tannin formula (acid), steam and apply a protein formula (alkali). If the color change happens when you applied the protein formula (alkali), steam and apply a tannin formula (acid). It’s worth a try, and it will save your reputation and a potential claim.

When you “spot” an area with steam and rerun the garment without properly drying the area, dirt in the solvent will settle in the moist area, causing redeposition.

Redeposition remains the No. 1 drycleaner-caused problem in garment care. Uncontrolled moisture is the enemy in a drycleaning system. The moisture will attract the dirt removed from other garments in the drycleaning wheel. This dirt will appear as shades of brown or gray on the garment.

It has been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is certainly true when it comes to redeposition.

Be sure all moisture left from wet-side spotting is dried when you choose to put that garment in the drycleaning machine. It is a good idea to take the added precaution of applying a leveling agent to the area steamed to handle any moisture that you do not detect. Wool can hold about 33% of its dry weight in moisture and not feel wet to the touch.

However, if redeposition does occur, you must deal with the result. When redeposition is a small area, it can be treated as an insoluble stain.

Apply an oily-type paint remover to lubricate the stain, then tamp the area over the solid portion of the board to loosen and remove the stain. Then rerun the garment to finish flushing away the soil.

There should be a complete change of solvent in the wheel every minute. When that time extends past a minute and a half, you run the risk of general redeposition over the entire load.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

About the author

Martin L. Young Jr.

Industry Consultant and Trainer

Martin L. Young Jr. has been an industry consultant and trainer for 20 years, and a member of various stakeholder groups on environmental issues. He is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Launderers & Cleaners (NCALC). He grew up in his parents’ plant in Concord, N.C., Young Cleaners, which he operates to this day. Contact him by phone at 704-786-3011, or via e-mail at mayoung@vnet.net.

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