The meaning behind the label

Drycleaners are usually familiar with the primary message conveyed by most care labels but some have a secondary message and ignoring this can lead to problems.
The one dot iron indicates a maximum iron soleplate temperature of 110C but it also warns cleaners that using free-steam could pose risks. Using free-steam on a modacrylic fun fur will crimp the fibres and make them hook shaped. If a fabric with elastane is finished using free steam, fibres will snap and sprout through the material in places.
The label P in a circle with bar beneath is often misunderstood. This symbol carries implied warnings about solvent and drying temperatures and about mechanical action and moisture. To avoid excessive shrinkage, the maximum air-out thermostat setting for modacrylic curtains is 40C, for acrylic curtains it is 50C. For most other fabrics it is 60C.
Wool, cashmere, mohair and angora need pre-drying before cleaning to avoid felting shrinkage: The extent of such shrinkage will depend on how dry the fabric is before it goes into the drycleaning machine.
Net-bagging is widely used to protect delicate items from mechanical action and from being thrown against the metal wall of the cage while it is rotating. Yet the British and International Standard (BS/EN/ISO 3175) does not specify the use of a net bag for sensitive items. Even these articles are supposed to be robust enough to be cleaned with higher dip and a shorter cycle so, ultimately, the maker should take responsibility if a button or other trim is chipped or broken in this way. However, long experience has taught cleaners that using a net bag may reduce the risk of damage.

Bespoke buckle tears away from fabric
The buckle stitched onto this smart wedding dress was purely ornamental and did not need to be unfastened. The mechanical action in the drycleaning process wrenched the stitching free, damaging the fabric.
Cause: A designer is very unlikely to use a buckle like this for decoration and almost certainly it was not on the dress when the maker labelled it with P in a circle with a bar beneath. A local retailer has probably applied the clasp as a bespoke extra to make the garment "unique". Whoever applied it did not realise that machine drycleaning involved tumbling the garment in a heavy liquid solvent and then tumble drying it in a metal cage.
Responsibility: The person who added this clasp should take responsibility but as the risk is very obvious, a professional cleaner should have removed it before processing the dress. If failure to do so properly has led to the damage, the cleaner should share responsibility.
Rectification: A professional seamstress should be able to effect a repair to make the garment wearable.

Logo adhesive breaks down
The logo appeared to be quite firmly attached to the polo shirt, which was labelled for cleaning in perc, but the trim disappeared in the drycleaning machine process, leaving just an adhesive mark. The supplier suggested that the perc solution was too strong.
Cause: A test on an undamaged garment revealed that the trim adhesive softened and lost its power after a few minutes in cold perc solvent. This had caused the problem.
Responsibility: The maker is responsible for the damage here because the garment was labelled with a circled P, which specifically allows the use of perc. The solvent has to be used neat so the suggestion that perc was too strong was right but using it in solution is not feasible
Rectification: None, unless a replacement logo is available.

Fun fur suffers badly in the heat
This modacrylic fun fur was not finished but hung immediately after cleaning. The owner complained that several patches in the main body of the coat were matted and harsh.
Cause: The air-out thermostat must be set at 40C to avoid modacrylic fur fibres being affected in this way. British Standards specify this unusually low setting as an example of the protection needed for highly sensitive fabrics.
Responsibility: The cleaner should take responsibility here. The label P in a circle with a bar beneath was correct and the modacrylic content was given in the fibre label.
Rectification: Unfortunately none is possible.

Some beads will even melt in hydrocarbon
The cleaner was very experienced and on seeing the beading decided to clean the dress in hydrocarbon, which is far milder than perc. Unusually for this method, the beads started to soften and then stick to the silk chiffon creating a real mess.
Cause: It was fortunate that the cleaner had the option of hydrocarbon as in 99% of cases this would have given a superb result without damaging the beads. This is the first case of beads that could not withstand hydrocarbon that DTC has seen and it should be a warning to all cleaners. We carried out the British Standard test for resistance to drycleaning solvent (BS 4162 method 6) on the least damaged beads, using hydrocarbon on some and perc on others but the beads failed in both cases.
Responsibility: The maker is responsible for the selection of the inappropriate beading found here and for the lack of any care label.
Rectification: None.

OBA detergent affects colour of lace trim
A wedding dress was labelled for wetcleaning but when it came out the machine, the colour of the lace trim contrasted with that of the dress instead of matching it.
Cause: The cleaner has not realised the importance of choosing a detergent that is right for both the colour of the dress and of the trim. In this case the detergent has contained an optical brightening agent (OBA), which has attached itself to the natural fibres of the lace. The OBA converts the normally invisible ultraviolet portion of natural daylight into brilliant white light, replacing the original cream shade with bright white. Placing an ultraviolet filter over the dress reveals the original colour as seen in the left of the picture.
Responsibility: The cleaner should take responsibility here. Coloureds and pastels should always be wetcleaned in an OBA-free detergent to avoid this fault. This is part of the cleaner’s craft skill and not an inadequacy of the labelling.
Rectification: Unfortunately none is possible.

Jacket needed airing before cleaning

Fault: This jacket was made from a blend of cashmere, silk and mohair. It was unmarked before cleaning but had several black smudges when it was unloaded from the drycleaning machine.
Cause: An examination under magnification showed that the black wool fibres had felted and there were large numbers of these on the fabric’s surface. It is this that has caused the black marks, not dye bleeds or stains. The felting was a result of damp patches on the jacket when it went into the machine.
Responsibility: The cleaner should take responsibility here as the garment was correctly labelled with P in a circle with a bar beneath and the fibre content label mentioned mohair and cashmere as well as silk. The presence of hair fibres always indicates the need to ensure the garment is fully dry before cleaning, so it should be aired in a warm dry place for at least a couple of hours before cleaning. Even if the jacket were damp when brought in, the cleaner would still be responsible. Awareness of this requirement is part of the cleaner’s craft skills but this would not apply to customers.
Rectification: None

Free-steam finishing snaps elastane
The cleaner could not remember what this garment looked like straight after cleaning but after it had been finished on the steam air former, hairy fibres could be seen sprouting from the fabric in the under arm areas and also from other places.
Cause: Elastane fibre has been incorporated with weave to give a bi-stretch property. This fibre has been snapped, either by the power of the solvent or by the steaming on the former. Here, the garment is labelled with a one-dot iron, which specifically warns the cleaner against using free-steam. The results of ignoring this warning can be seen in the picture.
Responsibility: The cleaner has not understood the full meaning of the one-dot iron symbol and so should be taking the blame here.
Rectification: None.