How to Care for an Item without a Care Label

Have you ever wondered how a dry cleaner knows how to process an item that lacks a care label? As most cleaners know, receiving garments without care labels is not uncommon. When we first see an item of this type, whether it is a comforter, a pair of twill pants, or an evening gown, the first thing we do is test for colourfastness. This is done by blotting and crocking with dry cleaning solvent and a water/detergent solution to best determine the best method of care with regard to colour.

The next step involves testing any trim that is attached to the item. This includes testing the coating on the trim in addition to the trim itself. Of course, it is important to remember that these are only tests to determine the most optimal method of cleaning. Damage may still occur during the cleaning process even though the garment has been tested. However we do have an expert eye when it comes to even the most unusual items.

Factors Determining the Cleaning Method

Four major factors determine whether a garment is cleaned in water or solvent:

  1. The types of soil present
  2. The fibre composition and garment construction
  3. The dye present in the fabric
  4. The nature of the various trims, linings, or other findings that may be used in the garment.

Many factors determine whether a dry cleaning or a wet cleaning process is compatible with a particular garment or textile article. Your professional cleaner, therefore, must use his or her professional judgment to determine which process will best restore the garment to a like "new" condition.