Weather damage in houshold Fabrics

Draperies, Curtains, Furniture Covers and Spreads

FACTS ABOUT WEATHER DAMAGE

During use, household fabrics are subject to more deteriorating elements than garment fabrics. Draperies, curtains, furniture covers and bedspreads are continuously exposed to sunlight (direct or indirect), heat and atmospheric gases. This steady exposure is extreme because household fabrics are seldom moved. Portions of the fabric may be near a radiator or baseboard-heating unit. This results in streaks, discolorations, stains and the deterioration of the fabric. Fiber content and construction will determine the degree of serviceability.

FABRIC DAMAGE PROBLEMS

Sunlight, whether direct or indirect, will discolor the fibers of almost all fabrics used in draperies, curtains, furniture covers and spreads. Sun fading (burning and streaking) and dye fading are characteristics of this type of damage. Due to extreme exposure to sunlight, draperies and curtains are subject to fabric weakening and degeneration.
Atmospheric gases are pollutants that can attack both the dye and the fiber of household fabrics. Such gases include home heating exhaust, cooking gas fumes, fumes from fireplaces and automobile exhaust, and chemical fumes.
Moisture and heat affect the life of household fabrics. The proximity to an open window, heating pipe or radiator, can cause permanent staining and fiber weakening.
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong bleach, which is created when some dyes are exposed to sunlight. This results in color loss and fabric degeneration.
Fiber content and fabric construction will determine the degree of serviceability. Silk and acetate fabrics have poor resistance to weather damage. Sheer fabrics have little resistance to weather damage. When fabrics contain thick and thin yarns, the thin yarns weaken, which results in fabric splitting. The thin yarn is usually the lengthwise yarn (warp) and it may be difficult to detect. Linings give draperies some protection against the elements and increase their life expectancy. This includes coated backings or black out fabrics.

INSPECTION

Because the degeneration of the fabric caused by weather damage is usually masked by an accumulation of soil, it is difficult to determine the extent of the damage. Drycleaning (or wetcleaning) reveals the condition. Even the gentlest of cleaning procedures will cause a weakened fabric to disintegrate. The extent to which the fabric has been exposed to these elements, will determine the degree of fabric deterioration. Fading, streaking and fabric degeneration is usually more severe on draperies and curtain fabrics. The hems and pleats of draperies and curtains may show signs of weakening from the friction of opening and closing. A signed customers release must be obtained, since the risk of damage in cleaning is much higher than in garments. Furniture covers are often not property constructed to withstand drycleaning or wetcleaning. Careful inspection of coatings or loose construction is necessary.

WATER STAINING

Removal of water staining is hazardous because light areas and difficult rings may occur. Obtain a release from the customer before proceeding. Flush the area with the steam gun. Apply neutral lubricant with mechanical action (cautiously.) Use a special padded silk brush to reduce mechanical action. Flush area. Then apply neutral lubricant and ammonia, and use mechanical action. Flush area. Test 3% hydrogen peroxide accelerated with 26% ammonia on an unexposed area of the fabric. Heat with the steam gun and flush area. Neutralize with an 28% acetic acid. Flush and use a leveling agent Hang to dry before drycleaning.

DRYCLEANING

Remove any hooks and securely cover any other sharp objects on draperies and curtains. Run household fabrics on a fragile cycle in a separate load. Run 3 to 5 minutes in a high solvent level with absolutely no moisture. Reclaim at the minimum temperatures required by the type of solvent used.

WET CLEANING

Wetclean only those household fabrics that can withstand moisture (polyester, nylon and fiberglass).

FINISHING

Since there is a possibility that the fabric has weakened, use extreme care to avoid pulling or tension on the fabric.

SUMMARY

Regardless of the appearance and apparent good condition of a household fabric, degeneration of fabric, dye fading and staining may have occurred. The damage is usually masked by the accumulation of soil. Cleaning will reveal the damage. Use care not to pull the fabric during finishing. A signed release of liability must be obtained for every order of household fabrics.

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