Linen garments have always presented potential problems for the drycleaner.

For example, who is responsible if local colour loss occurs on a linen garment that has been pre-spotted with a general pre-spotting detergent?

In most cases, the cleaner would be responsible even if the pre-spotting detergent was specifically designed for use on sensitive textiles. At present, product manufacturers do not offer a guarantee against colour loss or other unexpected adverse effects.

This may seem unfair but textile manufacturers cannot be expected to test for dye fastness against the multitude of drycleaning products that are available to drycleaners.

Similarly, drycleaning product manufacturers cannot effectively test their chemicals against all available textiles.

However, dyes should be fast to cold water and if they are not it is unlikely that the garment would be considered “fit for purpose.” In this case the responsibility for colour loss is likely to lie with the retailer/garment manufacturer.

Pre-spotters should not be used on textiles such as linen and silk if there is a risk with regard to colour.

Remember that it is not possible to accurately colour test externally for the conditions that prevail in the drycleaning machine. Localised stain removal can be carried out on the post spotting table but always do a colour test first.

Avoid pre-spotting garments from manufacturers where a problem has been experienced in the past. Always take account of the relationship between the garment’s value and the risk involved.

Cleaners should remember that complete stain removal and drying on the spotting table before cleaning is very much safer than pre-spotting.