Antique Fabric Restoration. What is Clean?
A Fine Fabric Specialist recently contacted me regarding a request he received to clean a high value piece of antique furniture.
Decades of use has left this furniture with old stains from food and beverages, as well as water stains from unknown sources.
If you look carefully at this picture, you will see one such water stain that appears to have dye as a part of the stain.
The cleaner wisely tested the fabric for colorfastness, and found that the dyes were unstable to both alkaline and acidic cleaners. The dyes were stable to dry cleaning solvents.
This created an interesting dilemma for this fabric specialist:
The food and beverage spills, as well as water stains, require water based detergents for complete removal. However the severe dye stability issues that this fabric had prevented the use of such products.
Dry cleaning will not remove the food stains, but neither will it cause bleeding.
The decision is, of course, the customer's. Cleaners often feel very conflicted when such situations arise, but the problem is not theirs.
In this case, the owner of the furniture made their position clear: They wanted the fabric to be cleaned, but were not concerned with the stains. When such information is clearly understood (and in writing), no conflict exists.
If you would like guidelines on how to communicate the risk of cleaning heavily contaminated or badly discolored fabrics, read the reverse side of our Upholstery Condition Inspection Report.
I strongly recommend this Upholstery Condition Inspection Report, which since 1987 has been the only comprehensive such form in our industry. If you would like to check out the form, CLICK HERE.
You can download a “proof set” as well as find out the price for bundles of 50 of these valuable 2 part NCR forms.