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Smiles Replace Stains (Part 1)

Your chemical tools are critical for professional restoration, make use of them

CONCORD, N.C. — When one markets ones services as professional, it requires the use of professional tools. Garment care specialists have a multitude of tools at their disposal. Although they are often taken for granted or even overlooked, your chemical tools are critical to giving the best in professional restoration of everything entrusted to you for care.

This is an overview of the well-stocked cleaning department. Decide now to do it right.

The first necessity is a good detergent. In dry cleaning you have two choices. The most popular is a detergent that is injected with each load. The other is one that “charges” the system (base tank and all) to a pre-determined percentage.

I usually recommend a charge detergent for hydrocarbon systems, to take advantage of the bactericide for the filtration and the base tank. Sour solvent gives poor cleaning.

The detergent will control the water in the basket, much of which is carried by items placed in the machine. This will noticeably increase water soluble stain removal in the machine, giving better cleaning and reducing post spotting.

Water is a liability when it is not strictly controlled in a drycleaning system. The detergent will minimize or eliminate static in a drycleaning machine that has a properly grounded shaft on the basket.

Solvent soluble stains are stains that normally are removed in the drycleaning machine. There is a category of dryside stains that require additional help for proper removal. These are the chemically soluble stains.

At your spotting board you should have a general preemptor/leveling agent.

A general prespotter is effective on stains you feel might need a little help to remove and a leveling agent is effective in removing rain spots in the wheel and as insurance against redeposition on items that have been spotted wetside and are going to be re-run in the drycleaning machine.

Use a paint, oil and grease remover that is effective and that makes you feel comfortable. Lipstick and nail polish removal requires something more than just immersion. While a paint, oil, and grease remover is necessary, a wise purchase would be amyl acetate which, in many cases, will act as a catalyst/booster for the paint, oil, and grease remover used at the spotting board.

The EPA has returned to a “holding pattern” when it comes to trichloroethylene, if you wish to continue using it. It is effective on latex paint, liquid paper, and glue, but does contribute to your waste stream from the still, when it is flushed out by the drycleaning system.

A sub-category on the dryside is insoluble stains. Stains such as carbon (car exhaust), do not break down and must be flushed away with lubrication and mechanical action. This is only partially accomplished in the drycleaning machine. I recommend an oily type paint remover, which can serve as your primary chemical tool for paint, oil and grease.

Most wetside stains can be classified as either animal or plant. Animal stains are called protein stains and plant stains are called tannin stains. If the stain has a solid “crust,” try to break it up by tamping with your brush.

Over the years, I have found that the most effective way to address all wetside stains is to start by flushing them with steam over the nose of the board. This re-hydrates the stain, removes any loose material, and heats the area to accelerate the chemical action.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].