Service: Removing Mildew from Drapes

Service: Removing Mildew from Drapes

IBIS COUNTRY CLUB – Experts agree, removing mildew from drapes is vital to good respiratory health in the home.

Interestingly, the mildew we see most often on fabric is not the dark gray, or black variety more common on other surfaces. It is in fact an orange-ish color, and usually manifests as circular colonies of one-eighth to one-half inch in diameter.

For an in-depth look at what can cause mildew on draperies click here.

Don’t Try it at Home

Removing mildew from drapes is best left to a professional. His, or her trained eye can identify each of the many different weaves and fabrics used. This is critical to determining which might react adversely to the cleaning agents and mechanical action necessary.

Synthetic sheers offer the best chance of complete removal, as they are easily cleaned using water and detergent. They can also withstand a great deal of mechanical action and the use of effective water-based agents such as peroxide and degreasers.

On the other hand, drapes made with natural fibers can become limp, and even shrink when water is present. Lined drapes such as those pictured nearly always contain at least some natural fibers. Use of a water-free solvent is therefore imperative. Unfortunately solvent based spot treatments are never as effective as their water-based counterparts against mildew. Or for that matter most any stain. But fear not.

The Dry/Wet/Dry Method

A process known as the Dry/Wet/Dry Method has been perfected in recent years. It involves soaking the fabric with solvent to seal out moisture, attacking the surface with a commercial degreaser and appropriate mechanical action, then flushing again with solvent. After that, it’s kind of a “lather, rinse, repeat” scenario until all traces of mildew are gone. Or the technician determines that further mechanical action could damage the fabric.

When partially dried it gets a very light spray of industrial grade peroxide. But only if its color is closer to white than black. Peroxide has brightening characteristics that can produce uneven results on darker colors. Its effervescing characteristics are the key here, though.

Just consider how the peroxide in your medicine cabinet works when applied to a cut or scratch. Its bubbling action literally beats bacteria-containing contaminants out of the wound. Now, multiply the strength of that peroxide by 5 or 6 and you have an all-natural substance that’s so strong it’ll sting your fingers if you touch it! However on fabric it’s actually safer than bleach by a mile.

As the World Turns

I’ve gotten to the point on certain projects where I know the mildew is dead, yet its faded footprint is still visible. That’s when peroxide’s brightening and effervescing action becomes so important. It continues to work for as much as six hours after drying. On returning later, or occasionally the following day, I’m nearly always pleased.

Only twice have I observed little to no improvement following treatment. Even after reapplying peroxide, then checking back after the requisite amount of time. Don’t know why.

Alas, while the process renders mildew unable to proliferate, it seems we must stop just short of guaranteeing the elimination of all traces.

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.

Enemy Sun

The Toll it Takes

Most of us are aware that the sun’s powerful rays can damage unprotected skin. We know its intense heat often transforms metal objects into firebrands. Less discussed, is its effect on fabrics.

Shown in the featured photo is a Silhouette® shading by Hunter Douglas, whose rear fabric layer has been ravaged by years of exposure. The shade was one of three, covering a guest bedroom window (inset).

Interestingly, the three were in varying stages of deterioration, with the one pictured suffering the worst of it. A small area of its bottom vane showed a mottled, slightly out of alignment appearance when viewed from the front. Otherwise, all three looked just fine at first glance. In fact, the owner had initially summoned us to clean them. She had no idea what bad shape they were in.

The Bearing Location Has

highrise condo
High-rise condos have associated elevation values

At this point a little background on the residence may be in order. An eighteenth floor penthouse condominium, situated on the Southeast corner of the building, it’s Eastern exposure receives as little as two hours of morning sunshine, daily, thanks to a large patio overhang. The Southern exposure gets almost no direct sun during the summer months. However, with no overhang, in winter the sun is on it all day looooooong. Welcome to the side of the building occupied by our opening with the wrecked shades.

Now, the openings facing East were also fitted with Hunter Douglas Silhouette® shadings. But they did not show anything approaching the same extreme damage. Likely, owing to two factors. They were newer by two years, and they never saw the sun at its most intense, for prolonged periods.

dilapidated barn
This barn appeared sound the day before it collapsed

SIDE NOTE: Given that this level of damage to window treatments is seen much more frequently in high-rise settings than at ground level, one is left to wonder what part elevation, however marginal, may play in intensifying the sun’s damaging rays.

As it is primarily a winter home, the residence is occupied only about 150 days a year. It’s understandable, then, that the progression of damage escaped the homeowner’s notice. Especially when you consider the fact that a dilapidated barn, for example, may appear to be structurally sound for years before deterioration accelerates as it nears the day when, inevitably, it falls down.

Plotting a Solution

Also understandable, the homeowner’s dismay at what a short life her now useless window shades had enjoyed. As well as her reluctance to replace them with the same type of product. But, what to go with, instead?

Manufacturers make no representation as to which of their fabric products fare better under extreme conditions. And perhaps wisely so, for there are many factors that can hasten sun damage. These include, but are not limited to, heat, humidity, dust, convection, and even the type of glass damaging rays pass through before actual contact with the fabric. The unofficial position is that, since there are so many possible combinations, and that they differ from opening to opening, such factors simply cannot be quantified.

That said, consensus seems to have it that non-woven fabrics, such as those used in honeycomb shades, have a greater life expectancy than woven fabrics, like those found in Silhouette®. However, they all utilize glue lines to hold their respective cells, louvers and vanes together and these are also known to break down with long term exposure to sunlight. In the final analysis, it seems the consumer must decide on his or her own which product to purchase. In this particular case, honeycomb shades were selected.

Nothing is Exempt

blown out drapery hem
Drapery side hem with area of compromised stitching

As discussed in our response to a visitor’s comment at the bottom of the Avoiding Damage to Vertical Blinds page, plastic components like carriers, carrier assemblies, and tensioners, dry out and become brittle with prolonged exposure to sun and heat.

The same condition befalls stitching in the pleats and side hems of drapery panels. Even when the recommended monofilament is used. Yes, that’s right. A “medium test” fishing line is the preferred thread for stitching drapes. All too often light duty monofilament, or even all purpose threads are used, and these degrade much quicker. Once the first stitch goes, the rest soon work their way lose until a hem or pleat is completely blown out.

The truth is, any material will eventually succumb to sun and heat. Still, due diligence pays off. To the extent possible, research the quality of any window fashion you wish to purchase. Have windows tinted. Layer treatments, so as to protect the most expensive of them with heavy duty underlying barriers like roller shades or plantation shutters. Also, if you’re the owner of a ground-level home, consider making use of shrubbery, awnings and anything else with the potential to shield windows from the sun.

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.

National Window Covering Safety Month

Increasing Awareness

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) has designated October “National Window Covering Safety Month.” Every property owner is urged to check for exposed or dangling cords that could present a strangulation hazard.

Window Covering Safety Month
Cords like this present a strangulation hazard

In 2012 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that during the previous sixteen years as many as 1,590 children were treated for injuries occurring as a result of entanglement in control cords. A consumer group, Parents for Window Blind Safety (PFWBS), documented 285 deaths and serious injuries over the same period. Little wonder that these cords have been listed as one of the CPSC’s top five “hidden hazards” in the home.

The Window Covering Manufacturer’s Association (WCMA) was quick to point out that over 80% of those cases involved older products that did not conform to current standards. Many had been installed and/or used improperly.

Indeed, the industry has implemented constructive changes over the years. Cord cleats, breakaway in-line components, and tensioners have helped curb the risk. As well, warnings about the danger of strangulation are attached to virtually every product entering the market. Still, there can be no question that child safety is the foremost issue confronting manufacturers.

 Currently Available Alternatives

Several groups, including Parents for Window Blind Safety, have petitioned the CPSC to mandate cordless window coverings. Methods include hand operated wands, cordless lifting systems, and motorization. All are typically more expensive and have advantages, as well as disadvantages.

The “wand” appeared in the 1980s as a method for traversing freely hanging treatments like drapes and vertical blinds. Initially touted as a way to reduce stress on wall and ceiling mounted components, it soon became evident that the absence of control cords eliminated strangulation hazards. Wands have been widely panned by consumers, primarily because they are difficult to conceal.

So-called cordless lifting mechanisms began to arrive in the late 1990s as a means to eliminate cords on horizontal treatments, like honeycomb shades and roman shades. They’re typically spring loaded and prone to a shorter lift expectancy. Proprietary components often require factory repairs, which can be quite expensive when shipping fees are taken into account.

Motorization is probably the most desirable option. But, while easiest to operate, it is also the most costly. And uncertain as to long term viability, due to the technology’s continually evolving nature. In order to incorporate new and improved designs, manufacturers end up re-tooling their motorized products every three to five years. This has the effect of rendering comprehensive lifetime warranties, prohibitive. Because honoring them would mean the continual manufacture of old parts from preceding generations. Some manufacturers offer to retrofit new technology. But, again, the associated cost can prompt one to question the advisability of this.

Be Aware of Implications

Through the use of kits and instructions made available on their website, the WCSC advocates modifying existing window coverings to make them safer. While these materials are offered out of genuine concern, we cannot recommend that you take such action. Especially on your own.

There’s a potential for inadvertent damage to the window covering itself. One of the modifications promoted by WCSC involves cutting control cords for the purpose of eliminating loops that might encircle a child’s throat. On the face it seems like a simple matter, especially with a lofty goal like child safety in mind. However, unless you’re a professional it can be all too easy to misunderstand just how this may affect the product’s functionality.

As with any other home furnishing, window coverings are an important investment. When you’ve paid good money for a custom treatment, there’s a tendency to be very upset when it suddenly becomes an expensive piece of junk. Additionally, even if it continues to function properly, modifications void warranties. Aftermarket alterations are nearly always considered “damage” by manufacturers.

Surefire Solutions

window covering safety month
The fence surrounding this pool keeps children away from danger

Consider this: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death among American children 5 and under is drowning. The most common location? The family swimming pool, by far. To prevent such occurrences the CDC makes several recommendations, including enhanced supervision and safety fencing to block off the area. There is no mention of re-engineering the pool itself. Or, heaven forbid, eliminating the water!

This serves to illustrate how misguided it may be for us to expect window covering control cords to completely disappear from our homes. They exist. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to keep children away from them. Just as they must be kept away from hot surfaces, electrical outlets, top-heavy furniture, items that should not be swallowed…and the list goes on. Parenting is very much like an extreme sport. Continual focus, and an ability to react instantly are prerequisites.



If you wish to reduce the challenge your existing window treatments pose to child safety, please be sure to enlist the services of a professional. ADVANCED ON-SITE is qualified to execute such modifications.

Call us to help you formulate a plan: 561-644-4091


THE SAGE: Accordion Shades



We saw an accordion shade basically turned on its side and it hangs from a track on a sliding glass door. Do you have those and how much? Our door is 80 inches high and 109 inches wide

sageavatar2THE SAGE

Your description resembles a product called Vertiglide™. Its manufacturer is Hunter Douglas, a longtime leader in the window coverings industry. To view a video demonstrating its use click here.

Vertiglide™ is a traversing honeycomb shade (sometimes called accordion, or cell shade), made up of vertically oriented pleats. It could in fact be described as a honeycomb shade turned on its side, but a more complex operating system is required.

Base pricing has been sent to the email provided when you posted your question (includes installation). It reflects your stated dimensions, which would need to be confirmed with a visit from an ADVANCED ON-SITE representative.

The base product can be ordered to stack on either the left or right side of the opening. Additional surcharges apply if split stack, traveling center stack, or Duolite™ design options are desired. Likewise, expanded color pallets, patterns, fabric types and pleat sizes can be obtained through additional charges.

Please use the comment form at the bottom of this page if you have additional questions. Should you wish to move forward with ordering and installation please respond with a daytime telephone number to the email mentioned above.

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.

Avoiding Damage to Plantation Shutters

Perhaps as much as eighty percent of all plantation shutters sold in the past ten years utilize a “rear tilt” (left) method, rather than the traditional “tilt bar” (right) they were originally known for.

While both are connected to each and every louver, the “tilt bar” is typically made of the same material and located on the front center of the panel. “Rear tilt” can be either metal or plastic and located on the rear of the panel, usually at the same end of the louvers as its hinges.

This post focuses on the traditional tilt bar. Some aficionados still insist upon it, though many do not properly understand its purpose.

It is NOT intended as a handle for moving the louvers, so let’s clear that up right away. In fact, you should never touch it!

The correct way to open and close louvers is to grasp one in each hand, as far apart, both vertically and horizontally, as you can. When you begin to move them, the tilt bar’s true purpose becomes evident. Namely, to ensure that all the louvers move in unison. That’s it! There’s no other reason for its existence.

When the tilt bar is used as a handle, its connectors are subjected to undue stress. This dramatically reduces their life expectancy.

Wooden and composite shutters most often use opposing wire staples. These are prone to rust and corrosion, not to mention fatigue. Polyvinyl shutters use various types of plastic connectors, which dry out and become brittle as a result of the constant heat inside a window opening.

In either case, connectors are not easily replaced. Where vinyl shutters are concerned, there’s the matter of, first, determining who the manufacturer was. This can be surprisingly difficult, as most do not place their name anywhere on the product.

Manufacturers of polyvinyl shutters often use their own proprietary connectors. If a homeowner is unable to recall where their shutters were purchased, he or she may end up with a very expensive piece of junk covering the window.

Wood shutter connectors are generally easier to replace, but there are occasional exceptions.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services, including shutter installation & repair. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Luminette®: What You Should Know

Luminette - wide shot

Luminette® Deconstructed

In 1996 the Hunter Douglas corporation unveiled its latest in a series of innovative window fashions. Luminette® privacy sheers combined the soft look of traditional sheer draperies with the function of a vertical blind, and its ability to control light and privacy. This proved to be nothing short of groundbreaking.

Drapery-like Folds of a Luminette
Graceful drapery-like folds of Luminette

It was not the first attempt at such a marriage, but it was the first to employ “solid state” characteristics. Whereas other products consisted of a vertical blind with sheer fabric attached to, or interwoven among its PVC vanes, this new product utilized semi-rigid fabric vanes permanently affixed to machined creases in the sheer.

There was no stitching! Through a process involving heat activated adhesives the sheer and its vanes effectively became individual components of a larger whole.

Handling Do’s and Don’ts

Fabric vanes put less stress on supporting track components than their much heavier PVC counterparts. That’s a distinct advantage when you consider the fact that sunlight and heat weaken plastic carrier assemblies over time.

 Never drape Luminette fabric over a table or bed
Never drape Luminette fabric over a table or bed

However, semi-rigid vanes fused to a supple sheer can just as easily become a disadvantage when certain product requirements go unheeded. Chief among these is proper handling.

A common mistake is when Luminette® is taken down and lain across a bed or table. Rather than flowing uniformly, as the sheer is intended to do when hanging vertically, the rigidity of the vanes forces it to rumple in places. The fabric’s “memory” then retains this characteristic after re-installation. Steaming cannot be guaranteed to return it to its original condition.

Worse still are creases the vanes can easily sustain during take down, or when the fabric is stored improperly. They’re considered permanent damage, and will also result in unsightly rumpling and drawing of the sheer.

Luminette rolled onto shipping tube, for proper storage
Luminette rolled onto shipping tube, for proper storage

There is only one way to prevent such condition issues. In the process of removing Luminette® from an opening, one must roll the fabric back onto its original shipping core – a cardboard tube similar to the type carpets are rolled onto, only larger in diameter. Painter’s tape is used to hold the last vane in place.

The additional step of placing the rolled fabric inside something known as “drapery tubing” is commonly taken. It’s a lightweight plastic covering capable of being sealed at each end. This protects the fabric from construction dust and other contaminants.

Freedom of Movement

It is important to remember that Luminette® protrudes significantly farther into a room than a vertical blind does. From 4½ inches farther in it’s “Classic” incarnation, to 6½ inches when ordered with the larger “Quintette” vane size.

Therefore any top treatment or side panel must be mounted far enough from the opening to leave ample room for Luminette® to traverse, and for its vanes to tilt without coming into contact with one of those other treatments. Likewise, if Luminette® is to be mounted inside a vertically recessed header, that recess must provide ample room. This may all seem obvious at the outset, but it’s shocking how often these rules go unobserved.

 Luminette forced to interact with other treatment
Luminette forced to interact with other treatment

For example, enthusiastic decorators sometimes try to pull off layered treatments where there is simply not enough space. Depending on the treatment types, as well as how they are mounted, a four layer configuration can protrude as much as 15 inches into a room! Taking up that much floor space in a 2,000 square foot room is one thing. In an 800 square foot room it can look like an elephant.

Aware of this, decorators will often instruct the installer to “make it all happen within 10 inches of the opening.” The experienced and principled installer will decline such a directive. He or she understands the implications. Any resistance met by a drape or shade as it moves through a confined area means additional force must be exerted on control cords. In turn, components like tensioners and brackets are stressed beyond their limits. Not to mention the wear and tear that occurs when fabrics repeatedly drag across each other’s surfaces.

Luminette® is an Island

Luminette® can develop condition issues stemming from anything which prevents its fabric from hanging freely. For instance, its semi-rigid vanes will bend if they touch the floor. Or anything on it. As discussed, this influences the appearance of the sheer fabric. And remember, Luminette® fabrics retain bad memories.

So-called “fish mouth buckles” prevent folds from stacking uniformly

To illustrate just how important it is for Luminette® to enjoy complete separation from anything in close proximity, consider the visual at left. What you’re seeing is a snapshot of a section of Luminette®, drawn across the opening so all its vanes stack to one side. Next to it, the same section is shown partially inverted so as to highlight the circled condition issues.

This Luminette® was custom made and installed to clear the floor. Not the interior door mat the homeowner later placed just inside and near the center of the sliding glass array it was meant to cover. The thickness of the mat brought it into contact with the Luminette’s vanes, pushing them up slightly. Not enough to alarm the homeowner, but enough to buckle the folds of the sheer.

Note that only the folds left spanning the mat, when the fabric was drawn closed across the opening, were affected. The rest were stacked neatly and proportionally as they should be. It’s the buckles that prevent this.

For safe and effective cleaning of a Luminette, call: 561-644-4091
For safe and effective cleaning of Luminette, call: 561-644-4091

The Conclusion of the Matter

A Luminette® retaining its fresh from the factory appearance after many years of use, is one that has come into contact with only three things,

  1. its original shipping core
  2. the carriers it hangs from when installed
  3. a cleaning head in the hands of a professional who knows how to use it

In addition to cleaning, ADVANCED ON-SITE is specially trained and equipped to take down Luminette® should painting, or other modifications to its surroundings become necessary.

Job Photo – 08/21/15

Requested Service: Installation


A “before and after” shot. Shows how much a minimalist approach can transform a space with limited possibilities.

Customer’s selection of Silhouette® shadings was clearly the best option, considering that others would either project further into the room or completely block the lovely view.

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.

Black Soot: Bane of Household Fabrics

candle flame

A History of Black Soot

Before modern marvels like the light bulb and central heating, homes were plagued for centuries by black soot from open flames. Candles, oil lamps, fireplaces – they all spew microscopic carbon particles, easily carried along on even the most feeble air currents.

The problem reached critical mass during the industrial revolution when outdoor air quality, too, was threatened by soot-belching factories and locomotives. Just as dirt found its way into homes during the Dust Bowl, Londoners learned that “the black” knew no barriers.

The soot hangs on the curtains, the books and the little cracks of the ceiling; and the ladies wonder how it is that they cannot keep their finger ends clean.”   – Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth

As they had for millennia, wool and linen remained the most widely used textiles of the time. With its loose weave and high absorbency, linen, especially, trapped the tiny black particles like a filter feeding sea fern traps plankton. Hopelessly locked in its fibers, as much as twenty percent of the stuff defied attempts at removal.

Times Changed, Black Soot Remained

Air quality standards and environmental regulations have drastically reduced the amount of black soot in our lives. But it hasn’t disappeared from the home, completely.

The warm, rosy glow of candles is an irresistible diversion to some, who often do not realize that even modern fabric blends with stain resistant properties can be tainted by their emissions.

As stated in an article by BEC Engineering, a leader in indoor air quality services, certain widely available candles can produce as much as 100 times more black soot that others. These include aromatic varieties poured into glass or ceramic containers, candles containing unsaturated hydrocarbons (most soft wax varieties), and any candle placed in an air draft caused by a fan, air conditioning vent, open window or other source.

In addition to avoiding the foregoing, the article goes on to suggest that users consider burning candles with thin, braided wicks trimmed to ¼” before each use. Further, they should be snuffed after an hour and allowed to cool before re-use.

Other sources claim that candles made with bee’s wax, or vegetable oils produce significantly less black soot than those with petroleum bases. It is, however, important to remember that all candles produce some black soot, a natural byproduct of the incomplete combustion that occurs in a yellow flame.

Black soot, DURING and AFTER removal
Black soot, DURING and AFTER removal

What We Can Do for You

Thankfully, ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s exclusive cleaning process is capable of removing black soot from draperies and shades, where they’re often deposited most heavily through a process called convection. Still, one should be aware that there can be no guarantee of complete removal from certain materials such as those found in Graber Crystal Pleat® honeycomb shades and the vertical vanes of Luminette® shadings by Hunter Douglas.

Verified by MonsterInsights