Summertime Spotting Challenges
The public's desire to tan in the summer usually
extends only to their skin, and not to their furniture,
however check this out . . . . .
I recently received an email from a Fine Fabric Specialist, which included this explanation about the picture:
"I have a customer with a new white cotton sofa that someone has soiled with (popular name brand) daily moisturizer that has a coloring agent to help make you look more tanned. It's a slight brownish area on the
cushion top, cording and cushion side."
This scenario creates several challenges, the solution for some of which creates even more challenges than would otherwise exist.
These challenges include.
- Moisturizing lotions tend to be oily in nature, and could require a solvent based spotter or cleaner to remove them completely.
- The lotion's tanning ingredient is brown in color, and may contain dyes that could be difficult to remove from the fiber.
- Solvents tend to be absorbed even more rapidly than water based detergents, and could carry dyes deeply into the yarns of the fabric.
- Cotton is weakened by many of the oxidizing agents used in dye stain removal.
The safest way to address these issues would be:
- A clear understanding with the customer, in writing, that outlines the fact that the tanning material contains dyes that may not be able to be removed from the fabric without causing additional damage.
- Clean the fabric first using a low moisture system and products designed for cleaning white, natural fibers. Since the fabric is new, there could be protector present and the lotion could be emulsified and suspended in the detergent without the need for spotters and stain removal agents that could cause more damage.
- CAUTION: If the spot remains, DO NOT APPLY a liquid solvent spotter! The solvent would break down the lotion and then carry the dyes deeply within the yarns, creating a worse problem than already exists.
- If any discoloration remains, use a spotter that has good lubrication and suspension properties, and is directed for use on spots that are commonly removed by solvents, such as cosmetics and ink. These products have the ability to emulsify and suspend oily materials instead of dissolving them and allowing them to be carried deeply into the fabric, as solvents would. Blot VERY gently to absorb the loosened material. The idea here is not to "push it in" but to "lift it up".
This procedure should remove the stain entirely. If a stain remains, the ingredients in tanning lotions usually respond to stain removal agents that contain hydrogen peroxide, but such products often will damage natural fibers, such as cotton.
Be sure to warn your customer of this possibility, and get an agreement in writing before you use any stain remover than can cause damage.
As with all such situations that combine high value furniture (brand new in this case), delicate natural fibers (white cotton), and staining materials (lotion that contains tanning ingredients), they key is everything you look for and explain to your customer before you start.
|If you'd like to see a copy of an inspection form that contains good explanations for the various limitations imposed on cleaners based on delicate fibers, textures, and poor maintenance practices by your customer, check this out.