Separation of Fusible Facings
The problem arises when the material bonded to the shell fabric to add body to the garment begins to separate from normal wear and care.
Many garments have a separate fabric fused to the inside in some areas to give support, maintain shape, and add body. When this interfacing material separates from the shell fabric or shrinks, the garment appears puckered or blistered.
This damage can only be prevented if the manufacturer uses shell fabrics and fusible interfacing materials that are compatible. The methods used to bond them together must be durable to expected conditions of wear and the recommended care processes for a reasonable period of time. Pretesting by manufacturers will help avoid fusing problems.
Interfacing separation can be caused by a number of deficiencies in manufacturing. It could be due to insufficient time, temperature, or pressure used in the fusing process. Another reason is that not all fusible materials are compatible with the base fabric and will not form a good bond. In other cases, the interfacing and base fabric used may have different rates of relaxation shrinkage that only show up after cleaning as bubbled fabric.
Although extensive professional pressing procedures may help some garments, others cannot be restored satisfactorily without risk of shine, seam impressions, or further distortions.
In the case of newer garments, meaning garments that are within the range of their reasonable life expectancy, the garment manufacturer would be responsible for using materials and/or methods of construction that could not withstand normal circumstances of use and later cleaning without damage. The cleaner can neither predict nor prevent such damage during a proper cleaning process.
Some garments containing a percentage of "stretch" fibers appear faded or have a lint-like appearance after dry cleaning. The generic name for these fibers is spandex. It may also be listed on a care label as elastane and include trade names such as Cleerspan, Dorlastan, Linel, Lycra, or others.
Examination shows that the stretch spandex yarns have lost their color, appearing white, gold or tan. In other instances, these yarns have stretched out or broken, thus protruding from the surface of the fabric. In both cases, the fabric now appears fuzzy or looks like it has lint on the surface.
Spandex can be dyed effectively to match the other colors in the fabric blend. However, just like other fabric dyes, sometimes the color will dissolve in the dry cleaning solvent and be flushed away, leaving the goldish-tan, raw-colored spandex showing. In other cases, the stress from wear and the agitation of dry cleaning can cause these fine stretch yarns to slip out of the fabric, forming small loops on the surface. Sometimes, the spandex yarns actually break during dry cleaning, again leaving a "fuzzy" lint-like appearance.
Only the garment manufacturer can prevent the dyes from fading or damage to the stretch yarns by selecting dyes and stretch yarns with more resistance to conditions of wear and the recommended cleaning process. The dyes need to be properly set in order to avoid color fading during the recommended procedure. Excess tension applied to the spandex during fabric construction, insufficient heat setting, and the use of solvent soluble lubricants and/or incompatible fabric blends can all contribute to spandex yarn damage.
Only the manufacturer can be held responsible when one of the aforementioned problems occurs through normal wear and following the recommended care procedure in articles not past their life expectancy. Sometimes this damage will occur in a short period of time or during the initial cleaning, while at other times the damage is progressive and will not show up until much later or after repeated cleaning. The dry cleaner has no control over any of the factors that can cause such fading or damage and cannot prevent it during the accepted or manufacturer's recommended care procedure.
Faded, stretched, or damaged spandex used as a blended component of fabrics cannot be restored.
The process starts at the counter when you drop off your cleaning. This is the best time to let us know about any stains that may require extra attention, or to identify any other potential problems. That way we can be sure our garment experts will be able to give your clothes any extra care needed.
We identify your garments with a tag system, then sort them by type, fabric content, color, and cleaning method. Some garments may need to be laundered, hand washed, or wet cleaned. Other specialty items such as leathers or furs require special care. Some garments may require some stain removal efforts before we clean them, and others may not. It all depends on each individual piece.
Dry Cleaning cleans clothing without the use of water, it’s true, but liquids are involved. Dry Cleaning solvent is the primary cleaning force in the process, using a fluid that cuts through grease and oily stains but does not harm most fabrics. Special dry cleaning detergents are added by a controlled system. Precision is of the essence to ensure properly cleaned clothing.
Wet Cleaning resembles the home washing process because it uses water as the main cleaning agent, but that’s where the similarities end. Wet Cleaning uses highly specialized equipment and detergents to clean clothing, giving them a renewed and refreshed appearance.
After cleaning we check your clothes for any remaining stains that may not have come out in the regular cleaning process. This is called spotting or stain removal. Any lingering stains are removed as best as possible using the appropriate products. These items are then re-cleaned before we give them back to you.
Near the end of the production line you’ll find the pressing station. This is where your clothes are pressed and made ready to wear. Pressing is a job that requires an eye for detail, and it’s these details that help you look good when you’re wearing your professionally-cleaned clothes to an important function or for work or play.
Following the pressing process, all of your garments are brought back together and placed in the inspection line-up. This is where we catch things like missing buttons, stains that may need extra work, and any undesired impressions from pressing equipment. Any item that does not pass this quality control inspection is sent back for additional care before being assembled with the rest of your order and bagged.
That’s the process in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the tour! If you have any questions about the clothing care process, feel free to ask one of us. We love what we do and we’re only too happy to talk about it.