Cleaning Jacquard Weave Fabrics
Jacquard weaves are among the most difficult and risky fabrics to clean. You might recognize jacquards by other names, such as brocade, brocatelle, damask, matelasse, and tapestry. Regardless of the specific style, all jacquard weaves have a similar basic design.
To create a jacquard weave, warp yarns are raised to create a pattern, which is often floral. In the areas where a "plain" background is desired, the warp yarns run underneath of the fabric. If you can turn over an arm cover or skirt, or if you can unzip a cushion, you'll see the reverse of the face pattern. In some cases, the pattern on the back of the will have the appearance of wide strips of color.
The nature of this weave creates three potential problems for upholstery cleaners:
1. Fabric Distortion: The warp yarns used to create the surface pattern are not firmly anchored into the weave. If aggressive brushing or extremely high vacuum is used during cleaning, these yarns may be damaged.
2. Shrinkage: If the fabric is over wet during cleaning, shrinkage may occur. Shrinkage occurs when absorbent natural fibers swell and cause the overlapping yarns in a weave to pull together.
3. Color Bleeding: Color bleeding may occur in any style of fabric. The fact that jacquard weaves often have brightly colored yarns running under the fabric makes the tendency to bleed much more common in this pattern. Cleaners who
over wet fabrics and use harsh cleaning detergents are likely to cause bleeding on natural fiber jacquards.
HOW TO PREVENT PROBLEMS WHEN CLEANING JACQUARD WEAVE FABRICS
Testing is critical! Use a simple burn test to determine is the fabric is natural, synthetic, or a blend of both natural and synthetic fibers. All that this test needs to show is whether a sample of the fabric melts (a synthetic), or leaves a soft ash that crumbles (a natural fiber). Natural fiber jacquards and blends are more susceptible to damage than synthetic fiber fabrics are. Test all jacquard weaves, regardless of fiber content, for color bleeding, however. When testing for color bleeding, be certain to test both sides of the fabric with the strongest product that you intend to use. Duplicate your cleaning method as closely as possible, including the use of heat and agitation in the test area.
Here are some specific recommendations to prevent each of the problems listed above:
1. Prevent fabric distortion: Precondition natural fiber jacquard fabrics with a soft horsehair brush or a natural sponge. If you use a truck mount or high vacuum portable, open the vacuum relief valve on your upholstery tool to prevent damage from excessive vacuum. Use a plastic screening when you clean areas where the fabric may have been weakened, such as cushions and arms. If you place the screen over the sensitive areas, you can clean the fabric without damage, and still get acceptable results.
2. Avoid shrinkage: Shrinkage is a rare problem when upholstery is cleaned properly. Natural fiber jacquards should be preconditioned with dry foam, or a light mist of an upholstery preconditioner. Extraction should be accomplished with either a light "mist and vacuum" with a standard upholstery tool, or by the use of a "DriMaster Upholstery Tool". Dry foam or dry solvent cleaning may also be used if necessary.
3. Eliminate color bleeding: Most color bleeding occurs because of over wetting
or use of improper cleaning formulations. Jacquard weaves should be preconditioned with neutral detergents and rinsed with mildly acidic fabric rinsing agents. If
alkaline cleaning agents are to be used, be certain to set the dyes ahead of
time, as well as after extraction, with an acid rinse or dye setting agent. Dry foam or dry solvent cleaning prevent color bleeding. Regardless of the cleaning method or products used, you must thoroughly inspect and test the fabric first!
If you follow the recommendations outlined above, you will have little or no problems when you clean jacquard weaves. You run your greatest risks when you attempt to clean old, heavily stained fabrics. Fabrics that have been abused in this manner will not always respond the special care techniques recommended in this article. Do not attempt "heroics" by using aggressive agitation or harsh chemicals in an effort to please your customer; it isn't worth the risks.
When you are in your customer's home cleaning carpet, recommend that the furniture be cleaned before heavy soiling occurs. If you and your customer work together to maintain their valued furnishings, you will be able to clean the fabric to your customer's satisfaction, and minimize any risks of damage.
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