Make allowances for shrinkage

1 June 2011

A curtain service can attract complaints about shrinkage and this problem can be particularly difficult to resolve, if the cleaner has not measured the curtains very precisely before cleaning them.

Precision is the key word here. Most cleaners do measure curtains to establish the cleaning charge but quite often they fail to do so accurately enough and they also forget to record the dimensions.

In the event of a complaint, accurate records of the original lengths and widths will help cleaners to assess the level of shrinkage.

They can then judge whether it falls within the 3% tolerance allowed by the BS5867 specification for curtain and drapes fabrics.

While taking and recording accurate measurements can be tedious and time-consuming, it will be difficult to discuss the degree of shrinkage with a customer if the measurements have been rounded off to the nearest metre or foot for the purposes pricing.

Claims for damaged curtains or furnishings can run into several hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

Therefore, if a cleaner can produce precise pre-cleaning measurements these records could prove invaluable, especially if the measurements have been recorded in the customer’s presence.

To try to make discussions about shrinkage easier, I recommend that cleaners should always make customers aware that curtains may shrink by up to 3% before the work is accepted for cleaning .

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