Job: Roman Shades Cleaned

Roman Shades Cleaned

Roman Shades Cleaned in Your Home!

LAND’S END, MANALAPAN – That’s right! If you need your Roman shades cleaned, I’m Dave Smith and I’m your man.

Located near a cooking environment, the pictured shades acquired a greasy film over a period of 20 years. Naturally that film attracted dust.

Still, it wasn’t evident until one of the shades was lowered. As it unfurled, the hidden inner folds were revealed to be dust free. Protected from airborne contaminants the entire time.

Well, when the homeowner noticed this she knew it was time to have them cleaned. Her dry cleaner referred me and everything happened pretty quickly after that.

Full disclosure: For thorough drying, shades like these need to remain unfurled at least 16 hours after saturation. As I was not invited to stay overnight, the featured photo was taken before cleaning.

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.

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.

Attention: Property Managers

Attention: Property Managers

CRYSTAL POINTE – Attention property managers, and rental agents! The foregoing photo shows a property transitioning between occupants. The owner’s agent wished to freshen it up. Suspecting these drapes to be the source of a faint musty odor, she requested my cleaning service. Voila! No more odor.

Any number of nasty contaminants can defile window coverings. Mildew, tobacco smoke, pet hair and associated oils, cooking grease, things that get on little fingers, candle soot, just to name a few.

Previously drapes needed to come out of the opening and go to a dry cleaner. Now, they’re just as effectively cleaned in place! Along with the shades and top treatments dry cleaners could never accept.

When a change in decor is desired and cost is no object, replacing soiled window coverings is a no-brainer. To have replacement forced on you due to misadventure is another matter entirely.

While cleaning expensive window fabrics is no minor operation, its cost is generally less than twenty percent that of replacement. Furthermore, it prolongs life expectancy!

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: 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.

Service: Regular Cleaning of Fabric Window Coverings

Service: Regular Cleaning of Fabric Window Coverings 

PRESIDENTIAL PLACE (BOCA RATON) – Pictured, is a waiting area off the kitchen of an upscale condominium belonging to a long-time, loyal customer. She’s had me schedule regular cleaning of fabric window coverings throughout her home for nearly 10 years now.

Her Hunter Douglas Silhouettes, especially, are prone to the unsightly collection of dead insects inside their vanes (fabric louvers). One or two tiny ones here and there are not necessarily that noticeable. However, the buildup increases over a two or three year period and I inevitably receive the call.

Some homeowners request regular cleaning due to concerns over allergens trapped in their window fabrics. Others are simply obsessive about cleanliness.

I’ve even made repeated visits to a private home whose Muslim prayer room contains an eternal flame. It’s an oil lamp that continually throws off small amounts of black soot, which over time builds up on the home’s snow white Silhouettes. In as little as 6 months they begin to appear dingy. After a year, downright grimy! My ability to reverse the condition (below) keeps me in good standing.

Black soot removal in progress.

Notes & References

 Silhouette’s manufacturer recommends a thorough cleaning every 3-5 years, to prolong life expectancy. This is a good rule of thumb for any fabric window covering.

Though not always visible to the naked eye, pollutants in the air are ever present. Some possess the ability to break down fabrics. Check out this TIME magazine feature to learn about some of the components the dust in your home may contain.

Info on avoiding Black Soot through an investigation into what causes it, can be found at this link.

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.

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.

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