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.

When only one piece of the matching set is cleaned, there is often a variation in color and intensity between the item cleaned and the other items that were not cleaned. It is difficult to explain this after the fact, so it must be pointed out when receiving the item.

All items should be cleaned at the same time to ensure that all pieces match when placed side by side in the room. If one item requires dry cleaning, all items must be dry-cleaned.

Tip: It is far better to pass on a single item of a matching set than to face a claim because, “It doesn’t match anymore.”

Bedspreads and comforters often take a beating when left on the bed constantly. Many times, the customer will sit or even lay on the bed in dirty clothing.

The customer may treat a pet like a member of the family, allowing the pet to join them on the bed. You must not forget the underside of the item. There you are going to find soil and albumin stains.

Albumin stains are the result of the transfer of bodily fluids. These stains may go unnoticeable for an extended period, making them much harder to remove. These stains are for the most part water-soluble when fresh but may require a level of bleaching action by the time they are brought to the cleaners.

In extreme cases, the level of body oil and perspiration where the bedspread has been pulled up under the customer’s neck will be heavy. This will require additional effort to break down the discoloration, even with the best of the pre-spotting chemical tools.

In such extreme cases, the combination of perspiration and body oils may have to be addressed separately by breaking down the body oils to effectively remove the yellow/brown perspiration stain.

You may even be required, in other cases, to use sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate to completely remove the last of the stain.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.