Problems with household textiles can be of great concern for professional cleaners. Suite covers or curtains are constantly on show in the room, and any damage here will be much more obvious and difficult for the owner to overlook than a single spoilt suit in a wardrobe. If cleaners make a mistake they can face high claims.

It is unrealistic to expect that mildew can be totally removed unless it appears on pure white curtains. Mildew is the responsibility of the user and it can only be removed completely if it is caught when it is young, before the spores have developed and grown deep into the cloth, producing the characteristic dark blue, green and black spots.

More suite covers are now being designed for washing and so food and drink staining is easier to remove. However, the washing and drying must be carried out correctly with the right (OBA-free) detergent, appropriate mechanical action and careful drying. Many suite covers are still being labelled over-optimistically and fading, dye migration and limpness problems abound. There are many traps for the unwary cleaner!