Problem: A rectangular tear was noted in the sleeve of a proofed cotton-padded jacket after it had been drycleaned.

Cause: Rectangular tears of this type almost always stem from accidental entrapment in a door catch. This tear is unlikely to have been caused by the drycleaning machine door, but it is worthwhile checking the catch on the rotor cabinet and fasteners on any door through which the garment might have passed.

Responsibility: Most damage of this type stems from accidental entrapment in a domestic door. The size and shape of this tear matches this cause.

Rectification: A patch can be secured to the reverse of the torn area. The damage will still be visible but at least the garment should be serviceable.

Problem: A mid-brown sheep-suede shirt was drycleaned in hydrocarbon and suffered from loss of colour so that some panels looked much lighter than others.

Cause: It is difficult to dye leather so as to be completely colourfast and when fastness is poor there is a much greater chance of widely differing colours following drycleaning, as was the case here.

Responsibility: The responsibility in this instance lies with the garment maker and ultimately with the original leather tanner because it is possible to produce leather with better colourfastness than that seen here.

Rectification: It is rarely worth attempting to re-dye the faded panels because differential absorption of the dye means that a patchy result is almost inevitable. The customer was advised to return the shirt to the place of purchase.

Problem: Marking was noted on most panels of a navy-blue velvet blouse following cleaning. The blouse had a viscose pile needled into a silk base.

Cause: All marking to this garment revealed traces of soiling residues within the viscose pile and stemmed from staining while the garment was in use.

Responsibility: If there is obvious staining on a garment of this type, the cleaner should point out to the owner that this cannot usually be pre-treated because of the water sensitivity of the viscose pile, so the garment can only be accepted on the basis of ‘best results’ from machine drycleaning alone. The owner is responsible for the staining itself.

Rectification: Occasionally it is possible to improve a badly distorted viscose pile by lightly misting with water, brushing the moist pile flat and then allowing the garment to dry without movement. Once dry, the pile can be rebrushed and often it will look more uniform than it did before. However results are very variable and rectification is rarely perfect. So this process is only worth trying if the garment is otherwise regarded as ruined and unwearable.

Problem: An expensive bright orange jacket was drycleaned in perc on a sensitive cycle and following this it was noted that the front, back and even the sleeves had been affected by horizontal rippling.

Cause: The fabric used for this garment has been stiffened by the application of an iron-on interlining applied panel by panel. A very lightweight construction has been used which could have been applied with a domestic iron. The end result was certainly not designed to be drycleaned, mainly because the lightweight interlining has shrunk and it is this combined with the low-peel bond strength that has resulted in the unsightly result now seen.

Responsibility: The responsibility lies fairly and squarely with the garment maker.

Rectification: There is no sensible means by which bubbling of this type can be rectified. This garment should be returned to the supplier for compensation.

Problem: After a pair of ladies’ trousers had been drycleaned, circular holes were noted at the base of the darts.

Cause: Examination of these holes indicated that they had been created by a hot punch which heat-sealed the edges of the hole. This is a marking technique used by some manufacturers to help the seamstress position key darts correctly. The holes are designed to be concealed by the stitching but in this case repeated tension on the stitching during wear had caused it to open up. The fault has nothing to do with incorrect drycleaning.

Responsibility: This lies with the garment maker, although the holes should not really be classed as a fault.

Rectification: Re-tightening the loose stitching at the base of each dart enabled the holes to be concealed again.