National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Milt & Edie’s spotters get a boost
If you ever are in Burbank, CA,  I suggest you pay a visit to Milt & Edie’s Drycleaners. They operate day and night for 24 hours, seven days a week.
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When you enter the store you will be welcomed by a greeter and have access to a popcorn machine. On certain days you will be treated to snacks and hot dogs.
All the counter staff as well as everyone else is well groomed, wearing uniforms and happy to be at work.
The person who keeps this complex operation working smoothly is Robert Shapiro, the general manager.
Some of the customers they serve are high-profile people in the entertainment field, but all customers walk out smiling.
Milt and Edie Chortkoff, who are the owners, are happy to meet and talk to anyone who wants to do so.
Consultation at Milt & Edie’s drycleaners
Robert Shapiro called me to do a three-day training session to update and improve the skills of their spotters.
Methods used for consultation
Supplies. I provided the following chemicals which were necessary to expand the knowledge of the spotters. This was supplied to me by Cleaners Chemical Corp.: Enzy-Spot; Oxxy-Spot; Lube-Remove.
The following supplies were also obtained for the training session: Spray-on peroxide; coloring aids for restoration; Spectralight for fabric examination.
Safe spotting techniques
To reduce color loss in spotting, there are certain procedures that must be followed.
Towel. We taught how a white absorbent towel is a valuable aid for safe spotting. Flushing out onto a towel will indicate the dye fastness of a fabric. The towel will not only indicate the fastness of the dye but also prevent dye transfer.
The towel is also a valuable aid for feathering. Feathering is a method of removing rings without the risk of damage to a fabric by force-drying the wet area at close range. The feathering process works by wiping a wet, ringed area so it blends in with the dry area.
Brushes. A key to safe spotting is to make sure that the white and black brush are separate. The white brush is used for wetside spotting and the black brush for dryside spotting. If dryside agents contact water, it releases alcohol which can damage the fabric.
The tamping and brushing action that is used is also a key for fabric safety. The brushes are brushed in one direction only, not back and forth.
On very delicate fabrics, we angled the brush in such a manner that only the outside of the bristles contacted the fabric. This reduces friction when brushing across the fabric.
Steam gun. The steam gun for proper fabric safety and not setting stains is three to four inches away from the fabric.
Chemical safety
The following chemicals were introduced in order to make chemical applications safer.
Hydrogen peroxide (3%) is usually safe on colors provided it is not heated. This is the only bleach with a neutral PH. It works by releasing oxygen to the stain and thus camouflaging it.
RSR. This is a powdered enzyme and it is the safest enzyme available because it does not require high heat, mechanical action and is totally neutral. The spotter makes up digester in a pint bottle by adding one-half teaspoon digester to warm water at 100° to 120°F.
The digester is put on a stain and allows 20 minutes before flushing. This is very effective on poorly dyed fabrics with protein and some tannin stains.
Oxalic acid. We showed how oxalic acid can be used instead of hydrofluoric acid safely on beaded and metallic fabrics. Oxalic acid is also good for some tannin stains and some dyes. This agent still requires testing but does offer a degree of a safe alternative.
There are several products on the market that have hydrogen peroxide mixed with lubricating agents. The agent that I showed to the spotters was Oxxy-Spot. The pre-spotting agent was sprayed onto a very soiled area and given enough time to penetrate. The area was then tamped and brushed with highly successful results.

Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh