Results that disappoint
The type of garments often termed "designer" can look fantastic, especially when brand new. Unfortunately, these garments account for a disproportionately large number of the cleaner’s problems. The reason for this is that the effort put into the overall design and the construction of the outer cloth is often far greater than the research on the internal components and the all-important care label instructions.
As a result, the cleaner may be bewildered by the considerable changes in the garment’s appearance. When the designer is contacted it often emerges that the care label was devised not by proper test cleans but by guesswork. All too frequently, the cleaner is blamed for following the care label and in so doing revealing the latent faults in the garment.
Then when the customer returns to collect, they find it difficult to believe that a garment in perfect condition and in need only of "freshening up", now looks like a second-hand item. They usually blame the cleaner but this is often unfair.
The problems of dealing with a disappointed and angry customer who demands substantial compensation, means that it is often not worthwhile accepting these high-value goods. The hassle does not repay the slender margin remaining when rectification is taken into account, even supposing that rectification is possible.
We look at some typical problems that are currently affecting both designer goods and their less expensive competition.
Unless otherwise stated, the garments in these case studies were drycleaned in perc according to the care label.

Coat loses its former sparkle
The owner said that this coat had an attractive "sparkle" when it was brought in but that this had disappeared during cleaning.
Cause: An examination under 15x magnification with good lighting revealed remnants of a coating on the weft yarns (those that run across the garment). More of the coating remained on protected pocket material but this came away in a standard perc rub test. The coating is not fast to standard drycleaning.
Responsibility: This problem relates to the maker’s design and specification – the coating on the weft yarns has not been designed for drycleaning.
Rectification: None. The owner was advised to return the garment to the place of purchase.

Print bleeds into background
During drycleaning the black print on this dress bled into the pale background.
Cause: The standard colourfastness test to drycleaning (given in ISO 105 part D02, which is non-destructive) indicated that the print is not fast to perc solvent.
Responsibility: The problem here was inevitable once the cleaner followed the care label information. The responsibility lies with the garment maker and ultimately with the original cloth printer. This fault should have been picked up by the garment maker’s checks on goods inward – a simple in-house check is quite sufficient.
Rectification: None.

Leather trousers shrink and wrinkle
These trousers wrinkled extensively during cleaning.
Cause: The leather tanner will flatten the three-dimensional barrel-shaped hide to create garment leather and this inevitably stretches it to some extent. This stretch is set into the skins and survives garment make-up and normal wear. However drycleaning solvent will relax the stretch by deeply lubricating the leather. This is recognised in British Standards, which allow the maker a tolerance of 3% relaxation shrinkage in any direction.
Responsibility: The maker, and ultimately the original tanner, are responsible for the relaxation shrinkage occurring, but the cleaner should take responsibility for rectifying it as far as possible. This is part of the cleaner’s craft skill.
Rectification: The garment should be re-finished using tension and vacuum to eliminate the pucker and regain the trousers’ original shape and size.

Peeling PU coating spoils garment’s look
During cleaning the PU coating on this collar started to peel away, spoiling the garment’s appearance.
Cause: PU coatings usually perform perfectly in test drycleaning when they are brand new. In wear, they develop tiny surface fissures. The skin sebum and hair oils that can collect in these breaks attract bacteria, which grow and penetrate deeper into the coating and also spread underneath it. Then, when the garment is drycleaned, the coating peels off in the way seen here. Note that the areas in contact with the skin and hair are the worst affected. Some others have been left untouched.
Responsibility: This is a common problem with many PU coatings. It is a feature of the material and not the result of a manufacturing fault. Some makers will now only guarantee the coated fabric for 18 months from the date of purchase. Nevertheless the maker is responsible. There is nothing the cleaner could have done to foresee or avoid this happening.
Rectification: None.

Rubbing from seat belt damages dyes
White marks developed on the edges and proud points of this jacket’s right lapel during cleaning.
Cause: This jacket has been worn in a car with the driver’s seat belt fastened. The belt was probably made from heavy-duty nylon and the edge and face have rubbed the jacket continually. The drycleaning machine process has flushed away the damaged dyes and fibres, revealing the extensive damage now seen. The other lapel is unaffected.
Responsibility: The wearer is responsible. An expensive designer jacket would not have the hard-wearing qualities normally expected of more everyday wear and of fabrics such as polyester cotton. A designer jacket is not normally constructed to withstand abrasion from a nylon seat belt.
Rectification: None.

Pocket trims fray at the edges
The edges of the pocket trims were frayed when this garment was taken out of the drycleaning machine.
Cause: Examining the garment with a hand-held magnifying inspection glass revealed that the trim is based on coated cotton ground fabric but when this trim was cut out, the edges were left raw.
The coating on the cloth will have kept the edges intact in normal wear but they have broken-up during the machine process.
Responsibility: This lies with the garment maker. This fault should have been revealed in the cleanability test, if this was carried out correctly.
Rectification: None.

Local snagging on high-quality wool jacket
This designer suit was made from high-quality, very fine wool yarns. After it had been cleaned, an area of broken and frayed yarns became visible on the jacket.
Cause: The damaged yarns are now fluffed out and very visible and this indicates that the damage occurred before the jacket was cleaned. The damage is localised so it did not result from a loose scalpel or other sharp object left in the load. The reason it was not visible before cleaning is that the damaged yarns would have been held into the fabric by the yarn oils. It is only when the cleaning solvent has removed the oils that the yarns have risen from the surface and fluffed out.
Responsibility: The damage could have occurred if there were scissors on the counter or if the cleaner uses wire hangers. In this instance it is far more likely to have occurred during a period of normal wear, so the owner should be taking responsibility.
Rectification: This is a prime candidate for re-weaving. The repair will not be invisible but will certainly create a wearable garment.