Drycleaning detergents and other additives boost solvent performance to ensure a high standard of cleaning and finishing for the professional textile care industry. Solvents are central to the drycleaning process but are not sufficient on their own to produce the kind of results that will satisfy customers.
Drycleaners now have a wide choice of chemical products to assist solvent performance and there are ranges that are specifically formulated to work with each of the different solvents including both perc and the various alternatives.
These additives can include drycleaning detergents, pre-cleaning/spotting agents, garment treatment chemicals, optical brighteners, bactericides, fabric conditioners and anti-static and anti-lint agents.
Drycleaning detergents perform three main functions: carrying moisture to help remove water-soluble soiling; suspending the soiling after it has been removed from the fabric; and acting as a spotting agent to penetrate the fabric so that the solvent and water can remove stains.
Perc continues to be the number one solvent in use, according to Cole & Wilson. It says both perc and hydrocarbon solvent are effective at removing oil-based stains so the purpose of a detergent is to remove water-based stains effectively during cleaning and to prevent this soiling being re-deposited.
The detergent should also restore texture to garments, making them feel good to wear and prevent static during drying to make pressing easier.
The company manufactures a full range of chemicals to assist in the cleaning and finishing processes and covers the different solvent types including hydrocarbon, cyclosiloxanes and carbon dioxide as well as perc.
For perc drycleaning, Cole & Wilson says that its premium Sultrasoft detergents give the best combination of cleaning and retexturing. It avoids static shocks and linting and reduces creasing even in mixed loads.

Water-based cleaning
The Hydrocol range has been specially developed for aqueous cleaning and includes additives to minimise shrinkage and fibre damage.
As many drycleaners also offer laundry services the company has developed the Galaxy range of laundry detergents, bringing all its laundry additives under one brand to provide a full package for drycleaners.
The company says that one of its strengths is the technical support and training it can offer. This ranges from general training, including stain removal and machine safety, to advice on a cleaner’s specific questions or problems.

Detergent is necessary
There are still drycleaners that believe that the solvent is such an excellent cleaner that no further additives are needed, but this is not correct says Jörg Schwerdtfeger at Büfa of Germany.
"Organic solvents need a detergent that will take care of the soiling, prevent greying and avoid static and other problems."
As the mix of fabrics changes, so suppliers are also reporting an increase in demand for wetcleaning products. Büfa says that successful textile care businesses use both drycleaning and specialist wetcleaning.
Specific products are needed for each method. Büfa’s CareConcept covers ranges for wetcleaning, laundry hygiene and for drycleaning.
For drycleaning it has developed ModulDOS, a modular system that includes products for cleaning with perc and also products for use with hydrocarbon. The system achieves excellent results when it is matched to the respective fabric type, says Schwerdtfeger.
"Each kind of garment can be individually treated with customised products. The products are added selectively so the system is more economical and it also eliminates the need for pre-spotting, so reducing time and labour," says Schwerdtfeger.

Supporting role
He adds that suppliers can help to support sustainable drycleaning and the use of best practice. The drycleaner needs to understand how to handle both solvents and chemical additives in a way that will prevent contamination and avoid health risks.
This means sufficient machine maintenance and proper handling of solvent, waste, contact water and of the chemicals used in the shop.
Training is very important, agrees Phillip Kalli at Ideal Manufacturing. Both directly and with the help of its UK distributors, the company has been co-ordinating training programmes specifically designed for users of its latest textile care chemicals.
"Classroom training has proved to be very effective, and it’s something we will keep developing, reviewing and refining as we continue to grow," says Kalli. "We strongly believe that trained staff are essential for any successful drycleaning, wetcleaning or laundry operation.

Key factors
The use of the correct additives such as detergent is one of the key factors in achieving high quality results in drycleaning, according to Steve Tolley, chemical support manager at Alex Reid.
"By using detergents properly, a cleaner can expect to remove
water-soluble soils, eliminate static, reduce linting and keep insoluble soils in suspension preventing re-deposition," he says.
"Detergents will also help to ensure that garments retain their dimensional stability, make finishing easier, helping to prevent fabric creasing during handling and wear."
Tolley says it is useful to have two products, one for treating general soiling on collars and cuffs on normal non-sensitive garments and one for use on more delicate fabrics, which may also be colour sensitive. A spotting kit used for removing the particular types of stains, such as tea, coffee, or paint, is also useful.
He stresses that the golden rule for using chemicals is that all staff must become familiar with the safety data sheets regarding handling and storage of each of the products on site.
Tolley explains that the problems commonly encountered by drycleaners are often caused by using the incorrect spotting chemical, or by not identifying the stain or the garment’s fibre content.
Leaving the spotting agent on fabrics too long or not using the correct dosage of machine detergent can also lead to problems. "Some operators do not use any detergent in the machine at all!"
Used correctly, detergents impart antistatic properties."If you suffer from static problems, you most certainly will find that whites and pastel shades are not as bright as they could be."
Tolley says that the dosing units on machines need to be checked regularly to ensure accurate dosing. Failing to do this can lead to problems of spotting reagents not being flushed out of fabrics, resulting in dark areas, ring marks, greying and static build-up.
The emergence of alternative solvents has led to dedicated ranges for each of various options. Alex Reid supplies specific product ranges, including reagents and detergents, for all solvents and can also provide technical support and training. This applies to even the most recent developments.

On-site training
"We can offer training on a cleaners’ premises so they can use the equipment they are familiar with. This covers all aspects of drycleaning, from garment acceptance right through to fabric identification, spotting, classification, machine operation and finishing.
"We can also help businesses meet the requirements of the Solvent Emissions Directive (SED)," says Tolley.
Philip Kalli at Ideal Manufacturing says that the industry is seeing lots of developments with processing methods and new products.
"We have seen a number of cleaners that now provide both a traditional drycleaning service and a wetcleaning service, with this sector growing dramatically over the last few years," he says.
During 2013 Ideal developed both its Ashore range of professional drycleaning products and its Ahoy wetcleaning range.
The company has also launched its Ideal miniature roll-on spotters to complement its established six-bottle kit. The roll-on spotters allow controlled application that avoids flooding the stain.
The roller ball can also be used as a spotting bone/spatula to apply even pressure in a rubbing motion without damaging the fabric.

Researching the detail
Throughout 2013, Hemant Zavery oversaw the development of Ideal’s drycleaning division in the UK and trialled a number of samples in the field.
This was supported by research to ensure that products were right in every detail including having the right fragrance.
"We think the fragranced Ashore products smell great and add a subtle freshness to the textiles being processed. Our customers have been very happy with the results," says Kalli.
Both the Ashore and Ahoy ranges have now been added to Ideal’s 2014 edition of the Ideal Periodic Table of Laundry.
The company has also updated its range of spotters and has just revised its Ideal Spotter Chart, which will be packaged inside the new kit as standard.
Finally Ideal is formulating additional textile care products, along with leather and suede treatments.
It plans to launch these later this year following the completion of successful field trials.
The Ashore Dry Cleaning range is available in 5 litre and 20 litre drums and includes the following products.
Ashore Spot Buster is a specialist
pre-spotter spray for water-based stains
that can be diluted in a solution of two parts water and sprayed directly onto textiles. It must be left to dry before cleaning.
It can also be used full strength on heavily-soiled textiles.
Ashore Spot is a concentrated formula drycleaning pre-spotter for effective cleaning and stain removal. It is suitable for pre-spotting all kinds of wet and greasy stains prior to cleaning.
Ashore Regular is a premium formula delicate drycleaning detergent for use in the pre-treatment bath.
It has a pleasant orange fragrance and guarantees excellent results on
water-soluble stains and on pigment soiling without the use of water.
Ashore Wash is a highly concentrated, fragrance-free, main wash drycleaning detergent that has built-in antistatic properties.
Ashore Fresh drycleaning detergent adds a cool, fresh cologne fragrance to fabrics. It will help to prevent linting and achieve a noticeable anti-static and retexturing effect on textiles after drycleaning.
Ashore Finish is a concentrated drycleaning detergent with a cool fresh fragrance and formulated with retexturing additives to leave a pleasant handle and hygienic finish.


The Ahoy wetcleaning range comprises three products.
Ahoy Spot is a concentrated
pre-brushing detergent that can be diluted 1:1 with water to achieve a powerful degreasing action on delicates.
Ahoy Wash is a gentle main wash detergent that has proved to be particularly good at removing collar and cuff soils
Ahoy Finish is a finishing and retexturing agent with a cool fresh fragrance, designed to work in tandem with Ahoy Wash for a fresher finished garment.
The Ahoy wetcleaning range can also be used with the Ideal Professional Spotter Kit for treating stains before processing.

COMPREHENSIVE RANGE: Hemant Zavery from Ideal Manufacturing is pictured with the company’s latest Ashore Finish detergent, together with Avnish Patel of The Dry Cleaning Business