The Fabric Care Research Association reported, in its September technical circular, that during development work carried out on professional wetclean systems, it was noted that some shrinkage occurred on materials which were drycleaned using perchloroethylene subsequent to wet cleaning.

The hypothesis was offered that possible shrinkage in wetcleaning could be masked by the process and that this shrinkage was released by the drycleaning process. Although it was emphasised that this work needed validating in trials with a representative sample of garments, the implications were that wetcleaning and drycleaning could be mutually exclusive cleaning processes, for some garments at least.

This, says the FCRA, could have considerable implications in respect of care labelling and the commercial handling of customers’ garments by cleaners. Current thinking is that professional wetcleaning would be denoted using the “w” symbol and that garments, for which testing had shown could be cleaned by either wetcleaning or drycleaning, would carry both a “w” and a “p” symbol.

  The implications of work to date, says the FCRA, suggest that this may not be the case for all garments, especially wool, and that some may need to be labelled either/or and not both. A programme of work was proposed to investigate further this aspect of commercial cleaning. The FCRA stresses that only the results of Phase 1 of initial tests on standard wool test-pieces, designed to shrink to predictable parameters, are reported. The results therefore need to be treated with caution. The next phase will involve work on known susceptible garments.