Fabric Colour Fastness No fabric, even those tested to industry requirements, is 100 percent colour-fast and it is impossible to prevent fading if the right precautions are not taken. Winter sun sitting low in the sky can have the largest impact, particularly when curtains are pulled back. However, any room with a lot of daylight can cause susceptible fabrics to fade.
Fading and Sun Damage Dyed fabrics, particularly those dyed in bright colours, are susceptible to fading. North facing rooms are exposed to the most sunlight. Constant exposure to the direct rays of the sun can break down the fabric fibres, causing them to become brittle and increasing the risk of a rip or tear during cleaning.
Oxidation Fumes from fires of all kinds, car exhausts and kitchen stoves produce a sulphur compound which, when combined with humidity and oxygen, produces a mild sulphuric acid. This can cling to the fabric and contribute to deterioration and discolouration. Regular professional cleaning can help minimise the impact of this.
Yellowing Tobacco smoke will cause a yellow or brown stain on most fabrics and is a particular problem on light coloured materials. Pilling This is often a result of wear and tear, but climatic conditions and air quality can also contribute. Fibres in some clothing can transfer pills to the furniture. Pilling is not a defect and can easily be removed using a battery operated pilling appliance available from most haberdashery stores.
Shrinkage Sufficient allowance should be made for shrinkage as all fabrics are prone to it. An allowance of three percent is an acceptable industry standard. Spills and Stains Attend to stains and spills as quickly as possible after the incident. Mop up any spilled liquid and scrape away any dirt, then clean as recommended for the type of stain. Be careful about over saturating fabrics, especially with detergent, as this can create watermarking or other stains. There’s also a big difference in the approach for oil and non-oil based stains.
Oil Based Use warm water mixed with household soap (test first on a hidden part of the fabric). Rub gently and blot dry with a clean towel. Then use clean, cold water (rain or distilled water is best) and go through the blot drying process again. To finish use a hair dryer held at least 30cm from the surface, working outwards from the centre of the stain. Clean entire panels of fabric rather than specific spots as this will prevent the spot from standing out when the cleaning is done.
Non-Oil Use the same method as for oil but use a dry-cleaning solvent in place of the soap and water solution. The solvent is available from supermarkets and chemists.
Specific Stains Test cleaning products on a hidden part of the fabric and check care labels for specific instructions.
Alcohol Mop up excess liquid, dab at the stain with rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth, then blot repeatedly with a solution of cool water and detergent. Repeat and blot dry with a clean towel.
Blood Ammonia is the best solution for blood. Mix a solution with one teaspoon of ammonia in a cup of cold water and dab at the spot. Do not over rub. Blot with a clean towel and repeat the process. Once the spot is gone, continue to dab the stain area with water and blot. Repeat after fifteen minutes, this time with white distilled vinegar. Blot once again, using a dry towel.
Chewing Gum Rub an ice cube over the gum to harden it, then carefully scrape it up with a blunt knife. This should remove most of the gum. The remainder should clean up with dry cleaning fluid.
Coffee and Tea Sponge the stain with warm water then apply warm glycerin. Leave it for thirty minutes and blot with warm water, drying quickly.
Cosmetics Sponge with warm water then apply warm glycerin. Wait thirty minutes then blot with warm water, drying quickly.
Fruit/Fruit Juices Blot or wipe up as much as possible, leaving the stained area dry. Blot with cold water. If any trace remains, dab the spot with a mixture of liquid detergent, vinegar and water. Once the stain is removed blot with water to remove the vinegar and detergent traces.
Grease Dry cleaning fluid is the best solution for grease, including hair grease. If any trace of stain remains after dabbing with the fluid, go over it with a mixture of detergent and warm water then finish with a clean slightly damp cloth.
Ink Add some warm glycerine, then leave for at least ten minutes. Apply some liquid detergent and rub gently. Finally, use clean water and blot dry quickly.
Milk Blot with a clean soft cloth, then use clean water on the area. Blot with a solution of water, detergent with a small amount of ammonia. Wait until dry, and then go over the area with some dry-cleaning fluid. To finish, blot lightly with a cloth that has been wet with some rubbing alcohol.
Ice Cream Wipe or scrape away the excess and blot with clean water mixed with liquid detergent. Make sure you do not saturate the cloth. Once dry, use dry-cleaning fluid for any remaining stain.
Soft Drinks and Confectionery First sponge the stain with water, and then add some warm glycerin. Finish by blotting with water. Iodine Cut a lemon and apply to the area then sponge with warm water. Apply a small amount of detergent with a cloth then blot with a cloth wrung out in a solution of two thirds warm water and one third white vinegar.
Shoe Polish Apply liquid paraffin to loosen the stain then sponge with dry cleaning fluid.
Urine It is vital to get to urine stains before they dry, as urine can affect the dye and discolour it. Use a solution of water with white vinegar then blot dry. Then use another solution of liquid detergent with cold water. Finally dab the spot with cold water, making sure you blot it thoroughly.
Vomit Same technique as for milk.
Water Spots Blot the area with a cloth and then apply some white vinegar. After a few minutes wet the area with cold water, blotting with a dry cloth. Always brush in the same direction of the pile when dry.