Three Risks You Must Avoid When Cleaning Jacquard Fabrics

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Three Risks You Must Avoid When Cleaning Jacquard Fabrics!
by Jim Pemberton - Fabric Pro Specialist
Important Reminders For Cleaning Professionals!

Jacquard weaves are among the most difficult and risky fabrics to clean. You might recognize jacquards by other names, such as brocade, brocatelle, damask, matelasse, and tapestry. Regardless of the specific style, all jacquard weaves have a similar basic design.

To create a jacquard weave, warp yarns are raised to create a pattern, which is often floral. In the areas where a "plain" background is desired, the warp yarns run underneath of the fabric. If you can turn over an arm cover or skirt, or if you can unzip a cushion, you'll see the reverse of the face pattern. In some cases, the pattern on the back of the will have the appearance of wide strips of color.

This Weave Can Create Three Potential Problems For Upholstery Cleaners:

#1. Fabric Distortion:
If aggressive brushing or extremely high vacuum is used during cleaning, the yarns used in this fragile weave may be damaged.

#2. Shrinkage:
If the fabric is over wet during cleaning, shrinkage may occur.

#3. Color Bleeding:
Color Bleeding: Jacquard weaves often have brightly colored yarns running under the fabric which makes the tendency to bleed much more common in this fabric. Over wetting and/or the use of aggressive cleaning agents are the two most common causes of bleeding with jacquard fabrics.

Don't Let This Happen To You!


117a.gif

INSPECTION, TESTING AND PROPER PRODUCT USE WOULD PREVENT THIS DAMAGE!


How To Prevent Problems When Cleaning Jacquard Weave Fabrics

Testing is Critical!

Use a simple burn test to determine is the fabric is natural, synthetic, or a blend of both natural and synthetic fibers Natural fiber jacquards and blends are more susceptible to damage than synthetic fiber fabrics are. Test all jacquard weaves, regardless of fiber content, for color bleeding as well.

Follow These Steps Every Time You Clean A Jacquard To Prevent Costly Claims:


#1. Prevent fabric distortion:

a - After applying preconditioner, gently agitate natural fiber jacquard fabrics with a soft horsehair brush or a natural sponge.

b - If you use a truck mount or high vacuum portable, open the vacuum relief valve on your upholstery tool to prevent damage from excessive vacuum suction.

c - Use a plastic screening when you clean areas where the fabric may have been weakened, such as cushions and arms.

#2. Avoid shrinkage: {Shrinkage is a rare problem when upholstery is cleaned properly.}

a - Apply preconditioning agents lightly! Use dry foam, or a light mist when you apply upholstery preconditioner.

b - Do not over wet when rinsing! Extraction should be accomplished with a "dry tool"; my favorite is the Sapphire Scientific Upholstery Pro.

#3. Eliminate color bleeding:

a - Use safe formulations! Natural fiber jacquard weaves should be preconditioned with neutral detergents & rinsed with mildly acidic fabric rinsing agents.

b - Speed dry every step of the way! Use drying fans on each cushion as you proceed, and the body of the furniture as you finish. The fabric should be dry before you leave to assure color stability.

If you follow the recommendations outlined above, you will have little or no problems when you clean jacquard weaves. You run your greatest risks when you attempt to clean old, heavily stained fabrics.

Fabrics that have been abused in this manner will not always respond the special care techniques recommended in this article. Do not attempt "heroics" by using aggressive agitation or harsh chemicals in an effort to please your customer; it isn't worth the risks.

When you are in your customer's home cleaning carpet, recommend that the furniture be cleaned before heavy soiling occurs. If you and your customer work together to maintain their valued furnishings, you will be able to clean the fabric to your customer's satisfaction, and minimize any risks of damage.

************************************

Find more useful product information at PEMBERTONS On-Line Store.
 
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You run your greatest risks when you attempt to clean old, heavily stained fabrics.
Fabrics that have been abused in this manner will not always respond the special care techniques recommended in this article. Do not attempt "heroics" by using aggressive agitation or harsh chemicals in an effort to please your customer; it isn't worth the risks.
This is always the killer. Trying to be the hero has always been what got me in trouble. Very rarely are my technicians to blame, they are more cautious. I'm the risk taker that gets burned. :errf:
 
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Thank you for your suggestion Larry.

When fabrics bleed in this way, the color damage throughout the natural fiber fabric's yarns is such that its unlikely that this would be a rewarding effort.

I'm not saying this to contradict your knowledge of chemistry and stains, which I respect. Its just that I don't want readers to think they can bleed things with impunity and then be able to fix it.

Should someone encounter very localized bleeding, say from spotting efforts, it would be an interesting test to see if these products would work well on rayon, cotton, or silk, which are the usual bad actors when it comes to colorfastness issues in upholstery.
 
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I would think "if" you could remove it that it will lighten the damaged cushion enough not to match the base or other pieces. At least that has been my experience working on stains, using solutions that lighten the color of the fabric.

Good thing there is 100% guarantee on the products. Does that include shipping too? :winky:
 
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Why don't Larry send miracle product to Jim to try on photographed cushion and provide pictures. Including comparison to the base unit.

I love impunity. What does impunity smells like Larry?
 
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I once had an incident when unknowingly cleaning a jacuard weave. As I was bringing the tool up the back portion of the sofa, 3 colored streaks were following the upholstery tool. I stopped what I was doing and applied a powdered reducing agent and was able to undo it. Factors in my favor were everything was still wet and somewhat suspended in the cleaning solution. If I had let it dry before correcting it would be a different story.
 
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I think he just wants to see what it will do real world. I'll pay for the product and shipping if Jim is willing to correct his class sample piece.

I'd much rather know ahead of time if it is a true option over replacement.
 
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I would be happy to conduct such experiments, or to send fabrics to Larry if he'd prefer to, since he has the best understanding of his products and their use

As Ron mentioned, in small, localized areas such correction might make sense. The challenge in large areas is the time involved, as well as the nature of jacquard weaves. The red that you see in the picture above has come through from the back. Where I've had the most challenge when I've corrected these is where you need to remove the red next to the raised yarns that create the pattern, and that contains other colors. In a tufted carpet or rug, is a bit easier to control with shims.

But in a woven fabric, the reducing agent migrates along the yarns that run both over and underneath the pattern, and invariably the reducing agent migrates into these areas and removes the other dyes as well.

With prints or needlepoint it works if you are very careful, and also on area rugs. With jacquard upholstery fabrics, even when I've used a hypodermic needle to apply small drops of reducer, I could not control the migration of the reducer through the yarns and into the adjacent colors.

That said, if there is something in Larry's formulations that can work around this issue, I'm all for learning about it and spreading the word to help others.
 
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Larry, I'd love to correct the damage if it happens. I'd also like to know what are the chances of success and potential damage, how it will effect other adjacent colors as well as potential changes to the base color, before I go through a time consuming process.

The experiment will be interesting on the damaged piece, but will be even more helpful if we can see what it looks like in comparison to an untreated piece.

As the client is not likely to be satisfied if the entire cushion turns out to be a different or lighter color.
 
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I would trust Jim to select the appropriate product and do what he could. When I was in the oriental rug trade, I was able to remove some dye bleeds using a product called Streepene. It took me all day to remove a red silk bleed with a Q-tip and on front and back of a 4 X 6 Persian rug with wool silk blend and about 30 colors. Only the red ran but we were successful. This was probably my most stressful day in my entire cleaning career. I do not wish to repeat this experience and am not happy about this post reminding me of that stressful day.

We used to distribute Streepene but decided to discontinue based on shipping hazard, health concerns and inartful application. We need to remember that some of this delicate work needs to be in the hands of expert who has the skills of an artist. I would suggest that a product without a surfactant be used to limit spread like Jim mentioned above.
 
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Thanks Bryan. I try to write these so that they might be useful for employee training.

There are more than a few things I've learned from you that I use in my training classes and articles, by the way.
 
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There are more than a few things I've learned from you that I use in my training classes and articles, by the way.
Uh oh. I have to stop talking about things I learn the hard way.


brocade.jpg Not the best picture, but an example of a fabric that bites in several ways; The underlying fiber bleeds, the tan/gold fiber is a float, and that float fiber is rayon.

If wet cleaned you end up with bands of brown, blue and green.

A float is a fiber that skips one or more cross fibers. In the fabric above, where you see color is where there is no float. In the gold areas the gold fiber skips three or four cross threads and hides the color of the cross fiber. Floating fibers are more prone to distortion and breakage, so cleaning should be done in the direction of the floating fiber. (left to right in this photo)

If the fabric has oily soils or wear, the rayon is likely to dissolve and leave only frayed ends of rayon and expose the underlying color in those areas, even if a screen is used.

Good thing this fabric is out of style.
 
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Good thing this fabric is out of style.
One of the things that happens with style changes is that cleaners lose their memory of how to clean them or were not in business when they last existed. That's why the resurgence of white natural fibers is resulting in so much browning. "Old timers" remember Haitian Cotton, but guys with less than 10 years in the business might never have seen one.

I've also walked three different people through cleaning fabrics that were 70-130 years old just in the last few weeks. There really wasn't anything extraordinarily different that had to be done (other than being damn gentle and watching wetting), but its another reason that "remembering" how to clean such things makes sense.
 
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One of the things that happens with style changes is that cleaners lose their memory of how to clean them or were not in business when they last existed. That's why the resurgence of white natural fibers is resulting in so much browning. "Old timers" remember Haitian Cotton, but guys with less than 10 years in the business might never have seen one.
You're right Jim. Every generation is a new group of designers that don't know any better and cleaners that haven't seen the problem. I've seen some ink-printed and hand-painted fabric recently, so maybe some of the worst of the 80's are back.
 
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A really forgotten secret is "The art of walking away". Should be practiced more vigilantly.

The issue of many of these type suicidal fabrics is that usually by the time we get to them, they are quite heavily soil saturated, and the low moisture alternatives do not do much short of tickling the fabric.

And fluffing them with "dry" methods, be it solvent or shampoo foam, requires a whole new artistic talent: The art of persuading them that the soiled looking fabric (after the so called cleaning) is really "clean" and though the results look like a four letter word, it really was worth it.

In such circumstances the word heirloom should be repeated frequently.
 
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"Fluffing" is an unfortunate word in today's parlance, but I get your meaning.

I agree that it is better to walk away than to leave a fabric looking bad and a customer dissatisfied. I believe strongly that cleaners need to talk to their customer when in the home for other services and advise cleaning before some of these "deadly" fabrics become unrestorable.
 
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Streepene is a STREETS product. It's from the laundry & dry cleaning industry. My father worked in a laundry & drycleaners for 25 years. They used it whenever they had a color problem with a load.
I've seen LOTS of color changes with sodium hydrosulfite.
And browning on wool fibers. ReduceAll is not your father's reducing agent. I'll be glad to send some to Jim to play with on this fabric. Here's a wool bleeder I worked on (not finished): BleedingBefore.jpg BleedingAfter1.jpg
 
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"Fluffing" is an unfortunate word in today's parlance, but I get your meaning......
Maybe its my ESL. Please educate.

Sheesh. I checked. Sometimes wonder! I don't gonna lie about it. Is that what you meant, Jim?
Definition of fluff

fluff
Nothing is safe anymore. I want them to make English great again :winky:
 
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