The make-up of a designer garment in terms of its response to cleaning is critical. Relatively short production runs can mean that manufacturers frequently do not go to the expense of having their creations tested against BS/ISO standards for drycleanability.

They use circle P or circle P underlined symbols on care labels even though the garments have not been tested and this is not illegal.

If a manufacturer uses the symbols without testing and the garment fails in drycleaning, the responsibility usually lies with the retailer or manufacturer – provided that the cleaner used the appropriate circle P or circle P underlined cleaning process and that the process parameters conformed to care label specifications (for example, the outlet air temperature for circle P drycleaning must not exceed 60C).

Where a problem arises and the manufacturer/retailer insists the garment was tested, ask for the name of the test house and the test certificate number. Only accredited test houses such as SATRA can test against the standards.

If you accept high value or designer garments, consider the following: The more exclusive the label, the less likely it is that the garment has been tested against the relevant BS/ISO standard.

It is usually safer to remove trimmings such as buttons and beads rather than protect them.

Consider the cleaning, spotting and finishing requirements – do you have the necessary skills and equipment?

Your customer is likely to expect very high standards.