Drapery AND Upholstery Cleaning

Requested Service: Drapery AND Upholstery Cleaning

ADMIRAL’S COVE – Homeowners are often pleased to learn the process used by Advanced On-Site is suitable for Drapery AND Upholstery cleaning. Good thing too, because designers often specify coordinating fabrics.

In such cases a difference in appearance can occur after cleaning one, but not the other. It’s also less disruptive to have everything cleaned at once, rather than by different specialists at different times.

Don’t Entrust To Just Anyone

Carpet cleaners, maid services, and even restoration services offer drapery and upholstery cleaning. However, most require a signed form releasing them from any responsibility should damage or shrinkage occur. Such conditions are common when the same cleaning solutions are used across the board.

Carpet is made of rugged materials. It can withstand heavy traffic. Stretched taught and held in place by tack strips, properly installed carpet cannot shrink. More powerful water-based cleaning agents are therefore deployed with impunity.

Drapes on the other hand are free-hanging and much more delicate. Lined drapes are especially susceptible to shrinkage when water is present during the cleaning process. Upholstery, too, requires careful handling. Most sofas and chairs can in fact be wet cleaned. However, some accessories like sofa skirts and arm covers must be dry cleaned.

Choose Wisely

It’s important to select the right man for any job. As to drapery and upholstery cleaning, a technician trained in the myriad fabrics and configurations is the wise choice. He employs less powerful injection/extraction, as well as special attachments for delicate work. Most importantly he’ll never use the wrong cleaning methods on a given product. That, more than any other factor is why he can offer a NO shrinkage, NO damage GUARANTEE!

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.

Project: Dry Cleaning Cellular Shades

Project: Dry Cleaning Cellular Shades

VILLA LOFTS – Dry cleaning cellular shades becomes necessary when blackout material lines the inside of each cell, or when certain fabric protectants are present.

Known alternatively as honeycomb shades, and less frequently accordion shades, a vast majority of cellular shades can be wet cleaned. The shades pictured above are one exception. (Sorry, not the best photo ever.)

Applause Blackout Shades

Manufactured by Hunter Douglas, Applause® blackout shades are highly coveted for their ability to block ambient light in bedrooms and home theaters, while at the same time provide an extra layer of insulation against heat or cold at the window.

High-rise condominiums with ocean-views are another popular application. The brilliance and heat of morning sunlight can be significantly magnified as it glances off the ocean’s surface. Its sheer intensity has been known to severely damage household fabrics.

The penthouse in the above photo belongs to an ADVANCED ON-SITE customer at a prestigious North Flagler address. Concerned about sun damage to tapestries on the opposite wall, she purchased the Hunter Douglas product several years earlier.

One look at the photo reveals just how effectively the shades block bright sunlight, as seen streaming in at a different angle through light filtering shades at left. The shade fabric does not in and of itself possess such capability. It’s the thin metallic foil laminated to the inside of each cell that gets the job done.

Solutions and Caveats

Water compromises the process used to bond foil to fabric during manufacture and for that reason Applause® must never come into contact with it. Dry cleaning cellular shades involves the use of a solvent that, although fluid, contains no water and therefore preserves this bond.

However even dry cleaning can further aggravate a condition arising from previous exposure to moisture. One customer was dismayed to learn that a water stain on her shade was a clear indication that it had already sustained damage. Damage that even with proper handling would only get worse.

Possible sources of moisture shade owners should be aware of and guard against include humidifier use in close proximity, morning dew entering through an open window (rain too, of course), and even condensation forming on metal window frames when the temperature outside is vastly different than that of the interior.

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.

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.

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 – 10/31/15

These very heavy lined draperies and matching top treatment really drank up the dry clean solution.

The main ingredient in dry clean solution is a solvent that can best be described as mineral spirits, subjected to several more levels of refinement. As such, it is a petroleum derivative, and therefore much more expensive than the distilled water used for wet cleaning. 

Interestingly, while the cost of gasoline has dropped by up to $2.00 a gallon in the year preceding this writing, dry clean solution has remained pretty much steady. Primarily because the main costs are associated with the comprehensive refinement process, as well as special cleaning agent additives. For these reasons, a dry cleaning project can end up costing half again as much as a wet cleaning project.

Coming soon, a post explaining why certain window coverings must be dry cleaned rather than wet cleaned.

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


Removing Stains from Household Fabrics

Oh No! That Stain’s Gotta Go!

Your grandson marks up the upholstery of a beloved chair with crayons. The family dog returns from a scrap with your neighbor’s cat and spatters blood all over a white, sheer drape as he shakes himself in front of it. You’re confounded by the appearance of mildew on a fabric window shade, with no apparent source of moisture nearby.

These are all actual scenarios described to ADVANCED ON-SITE by individuals seeking removal of notoriously difficult substances. Truthfully, while all WERE removed, and the overall success rate exceeds 95%, elimination of all traces of a substance can never be guaranteed. Primarily because there’s no way to know for certain that previous attempts to remove it have not already been made.

First, Stop and Think About the Risk

Consider the fact that a stain can be permanently “set” if the wrong method is used to remove it.

Any substance with the potential to gain a foothold in textile is going to have a protein, oil, or tannin base. Some substances actually contain elements of more than one base. In such cases the correct spotting agents must be applied in a very specific sequence, often repeating each more than once, before moving to the next. These sensitive operations are best left to a professional.

Even then, certain factors reduce how aggressively a stain can be attacked. Including fabric type and weave. More on that in a minute.

Mechanical Action

Rarely does a stain just dissolve away with the simple application of a spotting agent. Anyone who does their own laundry knows, more often than not mechanical action is necessary.

While the agitation that occurs in a washing machine is a form of mechanical action, it is less effective than other, more direct means. For example, washboards used from colonial times right up, and into, the 20th Century. Then there’s the ancient method of beating clothes on rocks. On the other hand, a simple fingernail can sometimes coax particulates from the fibers of a garment, or other household fabric.

Scrubbing a stained area against a non-stained area of the material is also effective. Commonly available stain removing formulas are usually applied, allowed to “dwell,” then reapplied for this purpose. The key is knowing how much mechanical action can be brought to bear before the material sustains damage. Too much, and “abrading” will occur.

Inherent Dangers

Abrading is something we’ve all seen. Think of a rope rubbing against a rock or a tree. The first sign of damage will be a fraying appearance at the point of contact, indicating that small fibers have been severed and lifted from the main body.

Natural fibers are quicker to abrade than synthetics. But, all will eventually show signs of wear. Even before abrading occurs, the trajectory of individual threads can be disrupted in coarse or loosely woven fabrics, thereby making them appear twisted and uneven.

The Safe Solution

By now you’ve likely concluded that stain removal can be a tricky business. And you’d be right. In addition to everything else, when a stain is treated without, first, cleaning the entire chair, drape or shade, it ends up looking like just that – a stain treatment. In other words, it appears obvious that you’ve cleaned the stain and the area around it, while the rest of the item retains dust and other pollutants that have accumulated over time.

When a stain must be removed from an expensive window treatment, what you need is a company that guarantees against damage. ADVANCED ON-SITE is that company.


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