The three categories of stains are dry side, tannin and protein.
Many of these stains cannot be easily identified and require the fastest and most efficient of
removal without damaging the fabric.
If a stain is identified as dry
side or protein, it is no problem
since we can go to the proper
method of removal.
Some other stains are vague
and may have a combination of
dry side, tannin and protein.
For example, chocolate is dry side, tannin and protein and coffee may also be tannin and
It is important to know the proper order of stain removal to deal with the stains properly.
Working the unidentified stains in the wrong order can very easily set the stain.
On a tannin stain, not properly identifying it and working it with a protein formula will cause
the stain to become set.
The manufacturers have the proper chemical technology making unidentified stain removal
easy and fast.
Milt and Edie’s Drycleaners in Burbank, CA, is one of the busiest drycleaners in the nation.
They handle high quality items and boast that they give a two-hour service at the customer’s
request. It is important that the stain removal method used is safe and fast.
The following method was most successful and devised in my most recent training program.
Flush. This is an important step and not wasted. A cloth is held under the fabric and poor dyes
can be noticed.
On my visit, a $3,500 Robert Mouret dress was received for spotting and cleaning.
On the initial flushing action,
poor dye on the dress was
noticed without damage to the
dress. The customer was
notified of the poor dyes and
was able to bring it back to the
Neutral lubricant. The
process of using neutral
lubricant is safer than a protein
or tannin formula.
Protein and tannin formulas
initially used can set some
stains and dyes. It is important
that the neutral lubricant be
mixed properly to avoid
excessive suds. This makes
flushing easier.
Mechanical action. This
includes tamping and brushing.
The white brush is for wet side
spotting and the black brush
for dry side spotting.
For delicate fabrics, a cloth
should be put on the brush or
use a silk brush. When
brushing delicate fabrics, the
brush should be angled so only
the sides of the brush contact
the fabric.
Flush. Flush the fabric
thoroughly into a cloth to make
sure the lubricant is removed.
Tannin formulas. This
formulation will not set protein
stains. A protein formulation
used initially will set tannin stains.
Avoid using strong acids and acetic acid. Acetic acid used on some fabrics can affect acetate
Acetic acid also has an unpleasant odor which is difficult to flush and can affect some acetate
Mechanical action.
At this point we have worked the identified stains for tannin.
Protein formula. This is used for the protein portion of the unidentified stain. Many
manufacturers make a low pH protein formula which is relatively safe to silk and poor dyes.
Avoid the use of ammonia and ammonia-based products. This will cause color loss on silks,
wools and some dyes on other fabrics.
Mechanical action.
At this point we have worked the stains for tannin and protein. The next step is to work it for
dry side using wet side detergents.
Nonionic detergent. This detergent helps to remove dry side staining such as oil and grease. It
is effective on many stains with an oil content which includes ink, mustard, sauces, etc. It is not
effective on paint, nail polish, glue, etc.
Mechanical action.
Hydrogen peroxide. This should be used at a 3% concentration.
If a difficult dry side stain is noticed after the wet side process, it must be dried and pre-
spotted on the dry side.
Oily-type paint remover.
Mechanical action.
Oily type paint remover and amyl acetate.
Mechanical action.
Expanded bleaching process for effective and fast stain removal
The last traces of staining require an effective bleaching process. At Milt and Edie’s
Drycleaners, we transferred the liquid bleaches into gel form. This gives a more localized and
safer application. This includes sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide.
We set up a gradual and more concentrated hydrogen peroxide mixtures.
The following strength of hydrogen peroxide can be effectively used.
Hydrogen peroxide: 3% 10 volume.
Hydrogen peroxide: 6% 20 volume. This must be tested.
Hydrogen peroxide: 9% 30 volume. This must be tested.
The 3% and 6% can be accelerated by ammonia or protein formula but must be tested.

National Clothesline
National Clothesline
A method for unidentified stains
eisen copy.jpg
Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh
Drycleaning Superstars Rafael Montano Head spotter and producti