CONCORD, N.C. — Bedspreads and comforters come in all colors and textures. They are designed to be ornate yet functional. Many are so decorative that they should be removed at bedtime to extend their lifespan.

But, there are times when children and pets see only a flat surface to play or relax.

Dirty shoes and dirty paws can leave marks that only focused, knowledgeable care can remedy. That is where the professional has an opportunity to use experience and equipment to broaden the existing list of services.

Over the last 15 years, wet cleaning has come into its own, making water-soluble stain-removal on these large household items much safer and more efficient. Most modern commercial washers have inverter drive and micro-processor controls which allow for gentle mechanical action.

Combined with a large residual moisture-controlled dryer and the use of detergents that have neutral pH or are slightly acidic, any item with a water-based cleaning option on the care label can be cleaned as a fine washable. However, there are customers that want that special appearance of custom designed treatments for the entire bedroom.

The very first question that must be asked is; “Is this part of a set?” Custom room treatments can include a bedspread/comforter, pillow shams, a dust ruffle, drapes, valance, and shears.

Some comforters gain their appeal from being “stuffed.”

This partitioning of the surface provides only a minor adjustment in handling. In fact, I have found that more partitions contribute to an ease in handling, due to less chance of the filler shifting during cleaning and drying.

When the squares are larger than eighteen inches, I will run the item in a net bag to reduce shifting.

It is not the customer’s fault, but it is my responsibility.

It makes no difference if you choose to dry-clean or wet-clean a quilted item, you should always use something to shift and fluff the filler. This will ensure a like new appearance and during the drying time, it will shift the filler.

Shifting the filler will give “even” drying and a “fluffy” appearance. I have always used at least four clean tennis balls, since they are heavy enough to shift the filler upon impact.

The fuzzy cover prevents damage to the surface material.

Comforters that are filled with Down require extra attention. The Down may contain a small amount of lanolin that is released during cleaning. This is especially true in dry cleaning. This lanolin will appear as a darkened area on the surface.

This can be remedied by applying a mild POG to the stain, light mechanical action, and then re-cleaning. The excess lanolin will be removed in the cleaning process. Be aware that manufacturers use “water fowl feathers” as a cost cutting measure.

These feathers are larger and have longer, more brittle stems. These stems tend to poke through to the outside and ruin the appearance of the item. Water fowl feathers are listed on the content label and will feel like small twigs when the item is handled.

It is very important to use something like the tennis balls to move around the feathers during drying. I recommend that you increase your drying time by 20% with Down, and that you use additional tennis balls to increase the frequency of shifting.

Promoting bedspreads and comforters is a great way to expand/diversify your service. These are usually items that are too large for home washers and dryers.

The customer can be easily overwhelmed when handling a comforter and will welcome the opportunity to have someone else take care of the item.

To read Part 1, go HERE.