National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Wetcleaning for wedding gowns
Michael and Sue Schapiro own and operate Wedding Gown Preservation Co. The company was started in 1913 by Sara and Joe Schapiro, Michael’s grandparents.
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The Schapiros have always shared their extensive cleaning knowledge with the drycleaning industry. Michael says that the key to his company’s success is having the best trained people in the industry. All of the staff at Wedding Gown Preservation Co. have attended schooling at the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute.
Every year, Wedding Gown Preservation has me do training sessions for his staff. This year, as we have in the past years, I trained his staff for five days, eight hours a day, on spotting, drycleaning, wetcleaning, restoration and bleaches.
Each morning there is a written test for the employees on the previous day’s lessons. Several conference calls are made as a follow-up to the training program. I also bring new chemicals and formulations to make their job easier. Bob Edwards from A.L. Wilson Chemical Co. joined us in the training sessions and he follows up on a regular basis with the staff of Wedding Gown Preservation on the proper use of Wilson’s chemicals.
All fabrics for restoration and wetcleaning are tested for colorfastness and trimming serviceability. The fiber content of the fabric is tested even when the fiber content is stated on the labeling since the labeling is frequently inaccurate.
Electric pulley system
Wedding Gown Preservation has a unique electric pulley system that can lower part of a gown or an entire gown into a wetcleaning basin. This means that they have the option of wetcleaning either the hem of a gown or just the sleeve area.
Hemline area
In my last training session I introduced the product called OXXY-SPOT which is a Cleaner’s Chemical Corp. product. The solution contains an oxygen bleach and lubricants which are sprayed on the hemline before wetcleaning. This ensures after wetcleaning that the soil is removed.
Bob Edwards from A.L. Wilson Chemical Co. introduced a new product called Ritego, which easily removed heavy ground-in soil.
The staff works soil hemlines with a soft brush using the proper amount of mechanical action.
Off-white and colored silk
The object in wetcleaning is to remove soil and yet still maintain the original feel and look of the fabric. We introduced a product made by Cleaner’s Chemical Corp which is a cationic enzyme based detergent. The wetcleaned silk came out clean, no color change and minimum wrinkling. This detergent also worked well on rayons, acetates and crepes.
Wedding gowns consisting of polyester and other fibers that can be wetcleaned are cleaned in state-of-the-art wetcleaning machines with controlled water temperatures and mechanical action. Kreussler Co.’s wetcleaning chemicals are injected in the machines.
The first injection is anionic detergents for soil removal, the second injection is sodium percarbonate with a nonionic detergent for grease removal. The third injection is pure sodium percarbonate for whitening. The fabrics then go through a rinsing, neutralizing and rinsing.
Restoration (whitening)
The bleaches used for restoration are sodium perborate and sodium percarbonate. This is not the same bleach that is present in detergents. This is the pure product and is not diluted with any other ingredients.
Sodium perborate is used when hot water is needed for the restoration. Sodium percarbonate is used when cooler water temperatures are needed.
The gown is soaked for a period of time depending upon the oxidation. It is then lifted by a pulley system and transferred to a rinse, then an acid bath and then a rinse again.
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide bleach is very effective for removing yellowing on off-white silk gowns. The bleach does not have a whitening effect that perborate or percarbonate have. The concentration to use is 6%, 20 volume. Use two or three ounces of bleach per gallon of water. This should be rinsed thoroughly and does not have to be neutralized.
For whitening some gowns, sodium hydrosulphite may be effective. Wedding Gown Preservation uses A.L. Wilson’s Drogo A and Drogo B. This combination uses sodium hydrosulphite with a brightening agent. The brightening agent gives a white fabric an additional whitening effect. This type of bleaching is acid by nature and does not have to be neutralized, only rinsed thoroughly.
Spot bleaching
The cleaning staff is experienced and trained enough to use hydrogen peroxide in various concentrations. This depends on the staining and fabric. Hydrogen peroxide for spot bleaching ranges as (1) 3%, (2) 6%, (3) 14%. The bleach is left on the fabric for a period of time before rinsing.
Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh