Service: Removal of Allergens from Household Fabrics

Service: Removal of Allergens from Household Fabrics

FRENCHMAN’S CREEK – Removal of allergens from household fabrics is an important step toward reducing the incidence and severity of symptoms. Let’s hear that again. Removal of allergens from household fabrics is important, nay, critical to reducing the frequency and severity of allergy symptoms.

Pictured above is the dinning room of a beautifully appointed residence belonging to a long-time customer. The home could easily be the subject of a Good Housekeeping feature. By turns luxurious and practical.

The two children enjoy personalized bedrooms, each with its own bath. Connecting the rooms is a common work space for studying and creating. Unfortunately both the daughter and her younger brother suffer from acute sinus issues. For years their mother learned everything she could about potential means of alleviating the near constant discomfort.

On hearing of our ability to safely and effectively clean any fabric window covering, on-site, she requested the service immediately. During our initial inspection it was mentioned that upholstered furniture can be cleaned using the same process. Accordingly, the project’s scope was expanded.

A week or so later the homeowner called to express delight over the difference in her kid’s quality of life. She wished for all fabrics in their rooms to be re-cleaned annually. We’ve returned eight or nine times now. Additionally the entire residence is serviced every third visit.

The Facts

Experts agree, household fabrics are to allergens as kitchen counter tops are to bacteria. However there’s a major difference in that fabric items cannot simply be wiped clean with disinfectant.

Being permeable, fabric allows air currents to carry tiny particles deep within its fibers. Over time, any such material can acquire an amazing volume of unwelcome guests. These can then be released back into the air by a number of different factors. Subsequent air currents, billowing caused by direct contact, and even well-intentioned vacuuming.

Previously, only carpets and some upholstered items could be easily cleaned in the home. Draperies on the other hand needed to be taken down, transported to a dry cleaner, then put back up on their return. Sometimes at great inconvenience to their owners.

Other window coverings like shades and top treatments couldn’t be cleaned at all! At least not thoroughly. Until the “on-site” method, the very one we use, became widely available 25 years ago.

For deep cleaning that simply cannot be achieved through vacuuming, call (561) 644-4091.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – Paint Removal from Drapes

Requested Service: Paint Removal from Drapes

OAK HARBOUR – A property manager previously unknown to us learned through a mutual contact that paint removal from drapes is possible when an attempt is made within days. Actually, while it’s best to get after it immediately, we’ve removed paint that was said to be 2 years old.

The paint transfer shown in the ‘Before’ image above was on the order of 1 month old by the time we arrived. Several drapery panels occupying the same room had been tied back prior to commencement. Unfortunately, all were released before the paint completely dried. Several others had paint transfer on them as well.

The ‘After’ photo shows the same area shown in the ‘Before’ photo, but following successful removal of the offending substance. Given the fact that repeated spot treatments and mechanical action must be applied in specific sequence, the time spent on just this one panel amounted to approximately an hour and a half.

It’s imperative anyone attempting to remove a substance like paint understands just how much mechanical action can be used without changing the drape’s appearance. Too much, and its fabric can become abraded. Much the same as new shoes are scuffed against rough surfaces.

Latex wall paint presents the best chance of success, as far as complete removal is concerned. Oil based paints, and especially enamels are much more stubborn. Alas, removal of epoxy coatings is not possible at all.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

How NOT to Handle Luminette Privacy Sheers

Bane of Luminette Privacy Sheers

Contact. That’s it! Luminette Privacy Sheers by Hunter Douglas must hang freely, from the moment they’re installed to the end of time. Never coming into contact, and especially sustained contact with furniture, pets, other window treatments, or anything else. They should be regarded as delicate accessories.

It’s positively alarming how many times we’ve seen these expensive window coverings trashed through carelessness, or just plain ignorance.

(Fig. 1) Damaged vanes

Trouble often begins at the point of sale. In their haste to close a deal salespeople rarely educate consumers on a product’s limitations. For example, the fabric constituting Luminette’s vanes must be understood for the semi-rigid material it is. As such, it has a keen “memory.” Meaning that when bent, twisted, or otherwise misshapen it will at least to some degree retain that condition (see figure 1). The result is that misshapen vanes interfere with the smooth, uniform flow of Luminette’s sheer face fabric, thereby completely ruining its appearance.

Other problems can develop in the wake of a property sale. A woman we visited in 2014 inherited her Luminette Privacy Sheers from the home’s previous owner. One set covered the sliding glass pass-through to an outdoor kitchen and swimming area. Having noticed they were becoming sullied from heavy traffic, she called on us for a cleaning quote. I remember how sick I felt when I saw she’d tied them back to prevent further soiling – in the manner drapery panels are often tied back! I then had the unenviable task of informing her that they had been irreparably damaged.

The Floor Is For Furniture

Sure, for various reasons privacy sheers may need to be taken down at some point. Many residential high rises in hurricane prone areas have been retrofitted with impact resistant windows and doors in recent years. Clearly, anything near those openings had to be moved out of harm’s way. However, when it comes to Luminette Privacy Sheers there are only two ways to do it. The right way, and the deleterious way.

(Fig. 2)

In figure 2 we see three Luminette Privacy Sheers with a combined worth of at least $2200. These were preexisting features when the resident bought the home one year earlier. Never having purchased high end privacy sheers, she understandably was not aware of what she had. Nor, evidently, was the contractor entrusted to renovate the home.

He ordered they be removed from their openings and carefully lain in an already finished upstairs room. Recognizing the complicated manner in which the fabric is attached to its carriers, the decision was made to remove all three units in their entirety. A bad situation was then made worse by laying them across one another. Even though there was enough floor space to keep them separated.

(Fig. 3)

Several vanes sustained bends and creases as a result, forcing puckers across the face of all three when rehung. Again, the condition was irreversible.

Still more gut-wrenching images can be seen in the accompanying bisected photo (figure 3). In this case, no care at all had been exercised in removing three Luminette Privacy Sheers during a painting project. Interestingly, paint was found to have transferred onto two of them anyway! Such disregard by tradesmen is so common we’re thinking about making it the topic of a future article.

The One True Solution

Window coverings are meant to hang vertically at all times. That goes doubly for Luminette Privacy Sheers. Without exception they are permanently damaged when thrown across a bed, or on the floor.

(Fig 4) Lower portion Luminette, as seen from above

Figure 4 shows a view of Luminette’s graceful folds, a characteristic made possible by the precise bonding of its sheer face fabric to its non-woven fabric vanes (behind the sheer). You may wish to click the photo in order to see more clearly how the sheer’s bottom edge flows.

(Fig 5) Luminette shown properly prepared for storage

To preserve this distinctive look when removed from an opening, a privacy sheer must be gradually released from its carriers even as it is being carefully rolled onto a cylindrical cardboard tube (figure 5). That’s how Luminette is shipped new from the factory, and that’s how it should always be stored when taken down. If it too must be removed, the SofTrak headrail (traverse rod) is typically placed inside the same tube.

Whatever you do, never permit anyone who is not intimately familiar with Luminette Privacy Sheers to remove them from their originally installed locations. If someone tells you they’ve done it before, request a detailed description of their method to be sure it agrees with the description above. Better still, call ADVANCED ON-SITE for guaranteed safe removal when preparing for renovation projects.

Job Photo – 05/26/18

Requested Service: Hunter Douglas Silhouettes Cleaned

LOBLOLLY PINES – For aesthetics and functionality this homeowner could not have selected a better window covering for her master bedroom window openings. Elegant look with light filtering properties even as it provides visibility, during the day. Then, with a flip of the vanes, that all important privacy at night. 

One drawback is that insects have a tendency to crawl between the fabric layers and die there. (TIP: Use canned air to blast those critters out.) In this case there had also been a roof leak, causing water stains hither and thither.

Having been thoroughly satisfied with our work on previous projects, the property manager reached out. We’re so thankful for such continued confidence in our abilities.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – 04/23/18

Requested Service: Sheer Drapery Panels Cleaned

BALLEN ISLES – A lovely home in the St. James section had 5 openings (3 pictured) with sheer panels draped off iron medallions and through ornamental tie-backs. No stains, but the lady of the house noticed a bit of surface dust last month. The panels were twelve years old and had never been cleaned. She remembered a friend raving about drapery panels cleaned in her home by ADVANCED ON-SITE a couple years earlier.

We just LOVE IT when a satisfied customer recommends our services!

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – 03/22/18

Requested Service: Luminette Cleaning

This Singer Island homeowner had a very large and expensive Luminette by Hunter Douglas installed over a sliding glass door opening. (pictured) A few weeks later he hired a marble polishing company to service his floors.

The polishing process threw small amounts of a gritty compound up onto the Luminette’s face. Needless to say, the owner was very upset. That is, until he learned of our capabilities. Now he could have it restored to original condition at a fraction of the cost to replace it!

Thankfully the polishing company did the right thing. They absorbed the cleaning cost. However that’s not always the case. Which sometimes has the effect of rendering our service even more valuable.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Wet Cleaning vs. Dry Cleaning

Wet Clean, or Not?

Pictured above is a French door opening with tied back drapery panels and a matching upholstered cornice overhead. Though they both feature identical fabric, the cornice may be wet cleaned. Whereas the drapes should never be wet cleaned. Why is this?

laundry2In a word: Shrinkage.

First, let’s talk about why some fabrics do not react well to water. As we all know, items like bluejeans and cotton tees must be either preshrunk, or purchased one or more sizes larger to allow for shrinkage after laundering. There’s a specific reason for this.

The stretching of fabric during garment manufacture stresses its fibers. When the material is saturated with water for the first time that stress is relieved. This is especially true when the water has been heated.

Here’s a link to an interesting article with more info on how and why shrinkage happens: Why Do Clothes Shrink in the Wash?

How Shrinkage Manifests Itself

For our purposes here “shrinkage” may be defined as a reduction in the surface area of the material. Meaning, movement occurs as the material contracts. The result is a change in appearance. Not just because the material now appears smaller. But also because in becoming smaller, it pulls at and encounters resistance from stitching at its seams, and even its own fibers as they release stress at different rates. This commonly displays as “curling” along the edges, and “rumpling,” or “drawing,” across the face.

When fabric is stretched taut across a padded wood framework, then fixed in place using stitching or fasteners as in the case of upholstery, shrinkage is not possible. The fabric simply cannot contract, because it has nowhere to go. That’s why the above referenced cornice is exempt from shrinkage.

Loosely hanging draperies, though, are quite another matter. As are non-upholstered accessories, like skirts and arm covers found on some sofas and chairs.

Be Sure You’re Protected

Condition issues often arise when a cleaning service successfully lobbies the homeowner to include furniture and draperies in a carpet cleaning project. Greatly reduced additional fees are generally cited as motivation.

When this happens, a written guarantee of NO shrinkage or damage should be obtained. Why? Because reduced fees are often justified through the elimination of time consuming processes. Such as purging equipment for the switch from a water based solution to something safer. As previously mentioned, this may not cause problems when cleaning some upholstered sofas and chairs. However, the accompanying image shows what usually happens when non-upholstered items are cleaned in this manner.

sofa skirt circleFixed at their upper limit, where the manufacturer intended them to meet, the pictured sections of skirting have drawn away from each other below that point. The resulting “splayed” appearance (circled) is a telltale sign that this sofa has been improperly cleaned.

A closer examination reveals something more. There’s been no shrinkage of the unseen lining on the back side of the skirting. How do we know? The tendency of the vertical edges to curl tells us that the lining is not subject to shrinkage. It may be made of a non-shrinking synthetic material (polyester, acetate, nylon, etc.). Or, it may contain a lightweight plastic insert. Either way, the non-shrinking liner was forced to yield to the movement of the face fabric as it shrank.


What Is Dry Cleaning?

The term “dry clean” is a bit of a misnomer. Liquid solvent is in fact necessary to thoroughly launder any fabric material. In this context the word “dry” simply refers to the absence of water. Put another way, solvents and spot treatments used in the dry cleaning process do not contain any trace of it.

Unfortunately, Perchloroethylene (PCE) is likely still the most widely used dry cleaning solvent in the U.S. Even though it was classified toxic by the State of California in 1991, and will be banned there by 2023. That’s why ADVANCED ON-SITE made a conscious decision to purchase equipment that would utilize the only safe alternative. Essentially an odorless mineral spirit refined to the nth degree, then ‘charged’ with a compatible detergent booster, our solution is safe for use in hospitals and nursing homes.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Now, just because an item can be wet cleaned does not necessarily mean it should be. For example, though a cornice and its matching drapes may be made of identical fabric, among professionals it’s generally considered unwise to clean one using a different solution than the other. This is because differing solutions absorb, then dry at different rates. Depending on fabric type and texture, slight variations in appearance can result when drying is complete. Therefore, both the cornice and drapes should be dry cleaned.

The ability to identify fabrics and anticipate their individual reactions to cleaning and handling is the reason ADVANCED ON-SITE can offer its exclusive NO shrinkage or damage guarantee. Call 561-644-4091 for more info.

Job Photo – 07/09/16

Requested Service: Pirouette Cleaning

 This resident of Broken Sound in Boca Raton was having some work done on their roof when the contractor accidentally cut through the A/C unit’s condensation line. Water came down the walls and ultimately onto their eleven month old window shades (Pirouette® by Hunter Douglas). Pirouette cleaning was in order.

When we left you couldn’t tell where even the nastiest water stains had been. Customer = GIDDY!

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

THE SAGE: Wood Blind Parts



Hi. I have a wood blind. The strings are broken, so I need to know if they can be fixed. Thanks for your help.

sageavatar2THE SAGE

If you know from whom the blind you speak of was originally purchased, or even better, who the manufacturer was, it may be possible to obtain replacement cords.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of manufacturers, many with their own proprietary control systems, means efforts to get the exact parts needed are often frustrated in the absence of this information. It’s an issue many in the window coverings industry have moaned about for years.

Additionally, just as automobile manufacturers re-engineer components, and even drop entire product lines, so do blind manufacturers. Sometimes, as in the case of a once popular company called Bamboo Abbott, they just go out of business.

Now, if you’re unable to determine the manufacturer, and you’re feeling adventurous, you may wish to visit (no affiliation) to search for a universal repair kit. Or just to see what cording they have available, and whether it suits your needs. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a “crap shoot.” But, it’s an option even professionals avail themselves of from time to time.

Another option is to pay the necessary parts, freight and service charges to have a repair technician come to your location, determine what is needed, place the order, then return to execute the repair after it arrives. 

Thank you for your submission.

NOTE: ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services, related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.