Extensive water-based staining on moisture sensitive “dry clean only” items can be a potential problem for the drycleaner as such items cannot be dealt with on the spotting table.

When heavily stained items are deposited for cleaning, it is important that potential risks are discussed fully with the customer. “Owner’s risk” may be required for shrinkage/distortion and possible colour loss or colour migration. Do not accept the item unless you are fairly confident of a good result.

For 100% polyester garments, it may be possible to machine wash the item using an appropriate program such as a 30C gentle wash and a suitable detergent. The 30C program is generally suitable for polyester wedding gowns although it is recommended the detergent does not contain an OBA.

Some delicate/sensitive garments can be dipped in tepid water that contains two or three drops of washing up liquid to reduce the surface tension of the water.

However, if the colours are slightly loose, add around 5ml of 10% acetic acid instead of washing up liquid. This should reduce the risk of the colour running. Hang the garment on a coat hanger and allow to drip dry. If streaks develop during drying, repeat the procedure until the fabric is clear.

For very delicate materials, and especially all taffetas, put the garment on a hanger and spray it with water containing a drop of washing up liquid or, for sensitive colours, a few drops of acetic. The garment must be thoroughly saturated to allow the water to drain through and the garment left to dry dry. If streaks develop in the fabric after drying, repeat the procedure until the fabric is clear.