This can be attributed to the failure by manufacturers to have their garments tested against BS/ISO standards.

However, if the manufacturer uses the circle P or circle F labels without having them tested against the relevant standard by an accredited testing house, then the failure of such garments in drycleaning will usually be the responsibility of the retailer – provided the cleaner employs process parameters indicated by the label.

Some manufacturers send garments to a local cleaner in the mistaken belief that a good response confirms that an item can be drycleaned.

One common mistake is to label silk garments and also delicate items with a circle P label rather than circle P underlined.

All silk and delicate items are sensitive to abrasion and/or mechanical action and should have the symbol underlined. Pay attention to colour fastness, trims and beads before cleaning and test all these areas when handling high value and designer items, If still uncertain, refer the customer to the retailer.

In some cases it may be advisable to explain the precise nature of any potential risk in cleaning and ask the customer to sign an owner’s risk form.

If a correctly labelled garment fails in drycleaning and the cleaner believes the business is not to blame he should check that it has been tested by an accredited testing house.

Ask the retailer/manufacturer for the name of the testing house and the test certificate number.