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How Do I Clean A Designer Dress That Says "Spot Clean Only?" This is the #1 question we are asked about all the time.

Posted by David Whitehurst

We received a question about a designer dress with a care label that says to "Spot Clean Only."  This is a common problem that consumers encounter, and not just on designer dresses.

Here is the question we received from Elaine:

"I purchased a lovely Adrianna Papell dress that can be neither laundered nor dry Adrianna Papell Dress that allows Spot Clean Only resized 600cleaned. It has a beaded decorative pin at the neck that would crumble I'm sure. Could you suggest what I might use to freshen it. Just needs something for under the arms (I wore it on a warm evening)."

Why Does The Care Label Specify "Spot Clean Only?"

Elaine probably had it right when she identified the beaded decorative pin.  Pins like this often prevent an otherwise dry cleanable dress from being cleaned (other than through Spot Cleaning).  Subjecting the dress to normal dry cleaning agitation can damage the pin and the pin can damage the dress.  Sometimes the pin can be removed and the dress otherwise cleaned with a normal dry cleaning process.

But sometimes, the dyes in the garment may not withstand a normal dry cleaning process with any dry cleaning formula available to the dry cleaning industry.  I'm not sure why any manufacturer would design a garment that cannot be dry cleaned or wet cleaned, but it happens often.

Ric Pevey, our General Manager at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama and a Certified Garment Care Specialist, gave Elaine our response.  This is an approach DIY Cleaning Solution for Spot Clean Only garments, especially for garments that aren't really dirty...when they just need a little freshening up:

If No Stain Is Present

If the fabric has no apparent stains, manipulate the fibers using a fabric sheet (such as Bounce).DIY Solution for Spot Clean Only Garments  This should help freshen the dress.  This method does not remove stains but it does help absorb the odor and will give you at least another opportunity to wear the dress again.

If Stain Is Present

If the dress has stains, test an inconspicuous area with water and woolite mix to see if the dye in the dress can retain it's color with this mix.  If successful, use the mix on the area needing freshening.  Then let the dress air dry.  Once dry, use the dryer sheet to manipulate the fabric needing freshening.

If you have a garment needing cleaning and the care label allows Spot Clean Only, take it to your professional dry cleaner and discuss the best way to clean the garment.  Many dry cleaners will not clean the garment without a waiver of liability.  But it the garment cannot be worn again without a proper cleaning, you don't have much at risk.


Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaning, DIY Cleaning Solutions, Spot Clean Only

Is your Garment Spot Clean Only?

Posted by David Whitehurst

 

Spot Clean Only
 

Spot Clean Only is an instruction that is found on many care labels.  What does it mean and how do you deal?  Did you know that there are sometimes ways around a Spot Clean Only label? 

Understanding Spot Clean Only

Often a garment is labeled Spot Clean Only, but that is not always the case.  Clothing manufacturers are only required to list one possible way of cleaning an item and may put Spot Clean Only as thier preferred method even if other methods exist.  This can be due to the use of a delicate fabric or ornamental beading.  Unfortunately, this is seldom the best method for cleaning anything. Certain ornamentation may be removed prior to cleaning and re-attached afterwards seamlessly.  More indepth ornamentation may require the use of alternate methods such as hand dipping and hand agitation. 

 

One of the main downfalls of an piece of clothing labeled Spot Clean Only is that doing so usually results in a substantial and quite obtrusive watermark.  Fabrics like silk do not fare well with water or water-based chemicals and leave a ring that is always larger than the original spot. The solution to this watermark is to clean the entire garment.  This can be done in a number of ways and it is always best to consult with a Professional Dry Cleaner like Champion Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama to ensure the best possible outcome.

 

It is unfortunate, but there are certain items that just cannot be cleaned. Generally most cheap formal gowns, (usually constructed in china), with heavy and intricate beading are meant for only a single wear. While these are few and far between, an experienced professional can tell you what is and isn't possible with your particular garment.

So what do I do?

The bottom line is that every garment is a different creature.  Knowing the best approach is the job of the professionals.  Stop by today and let us take a look at your Spot Clean Only items to advise you on the best course of action.

 

 

spotting

Get Help With All Your Spots From Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama

Don't Know What That Spot is or How to Get It Out?

Call 205.824.7737 for assistance or visit any of our three locations.

 

Topics: Spot Clean, Care Label, Spot Clean Only

What is Spot Clean Only?

Posted by Brandi Kane

So that beautiful dress you found at that trendy little boutique fit perfect and looked amazing on you! Yay! It's definitely a keeper, so now it's time to clean it and have it ready for your next fancy shin-dig. Looking at the care label, you realize it says Spot Clean Only... Well what does that mean? Should you do it at home or take it to the cleaners?

Unfortunately this is a situation I see daily.  Clothing manufacturers are required by law to attach care labels to indicate the best way to clean a piece of clothing.  If any part of the garment is too delicate to be machine washed, dry cleaned, or even hand washed, then it may be labeled Spot Clean Only.

Spot Clean

In theory, to spot clean something means to only clean a stain and not immerse the entire garment for cleaning.  Realistically, this is quite difficult or impossible. To treat most any stain or spot, water or chemical formula must be used. Even if the stain is removed, the water may leave a ring or the chemicals may leave a stain of their own requiring immersing in water or dry cleaning solutions. The chemicals must be flushed out as long term effects are uncertain. They may bleach, erode, or completely eat away at the fabric. The chemicals can also give you a nasty allergic reaction. When pressed, ironed, or steamed, the chemicals may also oxidize into an ugly yellow stain that is sometimes impossible to remove. So how does one go about removing this new hassle?

Well, that's where knowledge and expertise come into play. For most garments, there's no real way to "Spot Clean Only." Usually the entire garment will have to be immersed or cleaned in some way to avoid water rings or residual chemicals. A Certified Professional Dry Cleaner will be able to determine the best method based on the garment. If she feels there is a risk to the garment, she should let you know in advance and have you make the decision as to whether or not you feel comfortable. Sometimes, especially with high value items, they may ask you to sign a waiver releasing them of responsibility in case the garment doesn't come out as planned.

But why are some garments labeled as "Spot Clean Only?"  Usually it is because of the combination of fabrics in a garment that require different and mutually exclusive cleaning methods, the presence of embellishments like beads and rhinestones that cannot hold up to immersing, or fabric that does not hold dyes when cleaned.  Unfortunately, the care labels don't have to say why it cannot be cleaned using traditional dry cleaning or wet cleaning methods.

 

spotcleanhem phixr  

It may happen that a Dry Cleaner will not clean a Spot Clean Only item. This usually means that they know that any cleaning will ruin the item or that the item is already beyond salvaging. It's unfortunate, but it does happen. There have been a few times that I've had to suggest creative alterations be done to a Spot Clean Only Gown.

To the left is the ruined hem of a Spot Clean Only Debutante’s gown. The hem was poorly sewn with raw edging under the skirt. This dress would have shredded if washed. The only issue was with the hem so I suggested she make the dress shorter and salvaged it into a party dress.

Finding out an item is Spot Clean Only after it's been worn is a real bummer. Here are a few tips to avoiding a blunder:

  • Always check care labels when shopping. If something is spot clean only, you can then decide if you love it enough to be worth potentially only being able to wear it once.
  • If you wear a spot clean only item, take precautions. Avoid getting things like hairspray and perfume on the garment. Don't use spray tan. Be extra careful to keep it clean.
  • If you do happen to get a stain or spot on the garment, take it to a dry cleaners immediately.

If you happen to see that a garment is labeled Spot Clean Only, take it to a Professional Dry Cleaner immediately. Attempting cleaning at home will more often than not lead to a ruined item.

Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaning, Spot Clean, Care Label, Spot Clean Only

How Do I Clean A Designer Dress That Says "Spot Clean Only?"

Posted by David Whitehurst

We recently received a question about a designer dress with a care label that says to "Spot Clean Only."  This is a common problem that consumers encounter, and not just on designer dresses.

Here is the question we received from Elaine:

"I purchased a lovely Adrianna Papell dress that can be neither laundered nor dry Adrianna Papell Dress that allows Spot Clean Only resized 600cleaned. It has a beaded decorative pin at the neck that would crumble I'm sure. Could you suggest what I might use to freshen it. Just needs something for under the arms (I wore it on a warm evening)."

Why Does The Care Label Specify "Spot Clean Only?"

Elaine probably had it right when she identified the beaded decorative pin.  Pins like this often prevent an otherwise dry cleanable dress from being cleaned (other than through Spot Cleaning).  Subjecting the dress to normal dry cleaning agitation can damage the pin and the pin can damage the dress.  Sometimes the pin can be removed and the dress otherwise cleaned with a normal dry cleaning process.

But sometimes, the dyes in the garment may not withstand a normal dry cleaning process with any dry cleaning formula available to the dry cleaning industry.  I'm not sure why any manufacturer would design a garment that cannot be dry cleaned or wet cleaned, but it happens often.

Ric Pevey, our General Manager at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama and a Certified Garment Care Specialist, gave Elaine our response.  This is an approach DIY Cleaning Solution for Spot Clean Only garments, especially for garments that aren't really dirty...when they just need a little freshening up:

If No Stain Is Present

If the fabric has no apparent stains, manipulate the fibers using a fabric sheet (such as Bounce).DIY Solution for Spot Clean Only Garments  This should help freshen the dress.  This method does not remove stains but it does help absorb the odor and will give you at least another opportunity to wear the dress again.

If Stain Is Present

If the dress has stains, test an inconspicuous area with water and woolite mix to see if the dye in the dress can retain it's color with this mix.  If successful, use the mix on the area needing freshening.  Then let the dress air dry.  Once dry, use the dryer sheet to manipulate the fabric needing freshening.

If you have a garment needing cleaning and the care label allows Spot Clean Only, take it to your professional dry cleaner and discuss the best way to clean the garment.  Many dry cleaners will not clean the garment without a waiver of liability.  But it the garment cannot be worn again without a proper cleaning, you don't have much at risk.


Dry Cleaning Equipment  

On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management

At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site.  This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.

Topics: dry cleaning, DIY Cleaning Solutions, Spot Clean Only

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