One of our industry’s worst enemies is “invisible stains.”
Oily dressing from fruits, vinaigrette salad dressing, most perfumes or body sprays, oil splatters from a frying pan or hair spray applied after you have dressed can cause invisible stains on your clothing. Although these stains may seem invisible to the eye, after only a few weeks they can start to oxidize or caramelize. Once they oxidize or caramelize they begin to turn yellow or brown after they are drycleaned. It is these stains that the customer sees on their freshly cleaned garment and claim “That wasn’t there when I gave it to you!” or “You put stains in my clothing that was supposed to come back to me cleaned!”
Even when our drycleaner, customer service representative or manager try explaining to the customer that the stains were in fact there when it was brought in and that the drycleaning and pressing made the stain more visible to the human eye, we are confronted with disbelief and skepticism.
Although most customers don’t remember how the stain got there and because it was invisible they may still believe that the drycleaner put the stain in their garment.
Below are some helpful tips on stain removal to help both the customer and drycleaner in understanding the invisible stain phenomena;
-Never apply water or club soda to a garment unless you know if the stain is water based or oily.
-Never apply water or club soda to oily stains, lipstick or ink stains.
-Gently blot the area with a dry cloth or napkin and stop.
-Water can spread the current stain, bleed dyes and ruin certain fabrics. Many dryclean only fabrics can be ruined by improper stain treatment and thus makes it impossible for the drycleaner to remove or restore your garment.
-Try to dryclean all your stained items within 48 hours before invisible stains start to oxidize or caramelize. Please point out all known stains, as many stains need to be treated differently and drycleaners are not mind readers and have no idea what stain is on the garment.
-If the garment is washable and the stain contains no oils you might try to wash it on your own and at your own risk.