Responsibility of the Trade - Dry and Wet Cleaning - Their Respective Merits - How to Remove

Stains at Home - Advice on Dyeing

It is the custom of the dyeing and cleaning trade to take no responsibility for shrinkage or damage to an article during cleaning or dyeing. A defect due to wear, exposure to weather, or some error in manufacture, may easily ruin the work of a perfect dye; hence, though a good firm does its best with a soiled or faded article, it declines responsibility for results.

Mention has been made of the two processes of cleaning - wet and dry. The former is the old method of cleaning by the use of soap and water; the latter involves treatment with some solvent, a spirit, such as petroleum, benzine, or benzol, and, during this treatment, the material is scrubbed with a brush. As to which process is to be followed, no definite rules can be laid down, because materials are often of mixed composition. They may be partly silk and partly wool, partly silk and partly cotton, partly wool and partly cotton, or partly wool, cotton, and silk. Some contain china-grass, or jute, while their linings may be of quite different material.

In the case of dyeing the colour the material already bears much affects the result. Many factors have therefore to be taken into account.

The dry process of cleaning has a distinct advantage in obviating the necessity for removing trimmings of laces, ribbons, and fancy-work; it is also quicker. The actual dry cleaning can be done in one day, and the finishing, including ironing, in about two days or so, though "special" orders can be hurried through, particularly mourning orders.

When a garment is to be subsequently dyed, the wet process of soap cleaning usually comes first, and stains may have to be removed.

Perhaps a few hints on the removal of stains may prove serviceable for home treatment. The nature of the material in question must always be considered. Grease-spots are very common. They may be removed from silk by applying ammonia; from woollen fabrics by ammonia and soapy water (one tablespoonful to one gallon of soapy water); from white linen or cotton by soap, and from coloured linen or cotton by lukewarm soapy water, or rubbing with rectified benzine (highly inflammable); also from cloth materials by petrol (inflammable).

Removing Stains

Benzol will remove wax, tar, and pitch stains; and, in the case of tar and pitch, oil may first be rubbed in, or turpentine substituted for benzol, finishing by washing with soap.

Turpentine and chloroform are used at works for removing old paint and varnish from most materials, followed by soaping in the case of cotton fabrics and coloured woollen fabrics. Apply turpentine alone to fresh paint-stains.

Glue, sugar, and blood stains are cleansed with warm water. Inkstains can be taken out of coloured cotton or woollen fabrics by applying a mixture of glycerine and soft soap; from white cotton, woollen, or silk with warm oxalic acid liquors; but with acids extreme care is needed, lest the remedy prove worse than the disease. Much depends on the ingredients of the ink. Stained linen freshly inked may be soaked in milk. Tea or coffee stains on linen are generally removed by boiling water.


Another question of interest is what are the best shades to dye coloured materials? For instance, pale blue takes almost any colour; dark blue takes dark brown, green, olive, claret, cardinal; brown takes brown, olive, claret, dark prune; light green takes most colours, but not pink, rose, yellow, or pale blue; dark green takes dark brown, Navy blue, maroon, claret; mauve takes dark brown, olive, claret, prune, maroon, all with a reddish tinge; pink takes any colour; grey and fawn take most colours, except light ones, such as pink, pale blue, rose, and yellow; while scarlet takes dark red, brown, and dark Navy blue.

Further practical knowledge of cleaning, brushing, and preparatory treatment of articles is within the scope of a girl who intends to understand cleaning and dyeing.

The work of a receiving office is not arduous. The customers are usually pleasant, and as the work is one which leads to a distinctly profitable business it can be recommended. A recommendation is that it requires no stock-in-trade.