Many spotters using dryside spotting agents do not use them properly and do not fully
understand their characteristics.
Dryside spotting agents are used
to remove the stains that the
drycleaning machine does not.
Some oils and greases which do
not oxidize are removed by
drycleaning, but oxidized oils and
greases are not removed in
drycleaning. Some of the stains
which need to be spotted are ink, paint, oxidized oil, lipstick, cosmetics, glue, nail polish, some
ground-in soil and some dyes.
Oily-type paint removers
Many manufacturers make oily-type paint removers but the ingredients they use may vary.
Most oily-type paint removers are made with dry solvents, oily lubricants, alkali carrying
lubricants and alcohol.
Oily-type paint removers are safe to fabrics and most dyes. They will, however, remove
pigment, dyes, surface prints and flock prints easily. They will not affect fabrics and base dyes
unless the alcohol and alkali ingredients are activated by moisture.
Some spotters may activate the oily-type type paint remover with steam to aid in removing
some difficult dye stains. This procedure may work but not without danger of affecting the fabric
and base dye.
The alcohol and alkali, when contacting moisture, will most readily affect silk and acetate. If
moisture is used with the paint remover, it should be pre-tested first for safety.
Another problem associated with paint remover is applying it to a fabric and cleaning the
fabric after a long period of time. This gives the moisture in the air a chance to activate the
alcohol and the alkali causing oxidation, color loss and loss of fluorescent dye.
The strength of the paint remover you are using can be judged by the darkness of the aging
and the strong odor it emits.
Drycleaners who are in the habit of using large amounts of paint remover in pre-spotting run
the risk of forming odor in their solvent. When solvent containing paint removers is distilled, the
odor sometimes carries over into the distilled solvent.
Oily-type ink removers
Manufacturers provide ink removers with nearly the same ingredients as paint removers. The
difference is the lubricants carry an acid composition rather than an alkali to serve as an aid in
removing dryside inks more effectively than the regular oily-type paint removers.It should not
be combined with oily-type paint remover but should be used individually to remove ink.
Volatile dry solvent
This spotting agent is a mixture of several solvents that have high grease cutting
characteristics. VDS is fast drying and sold under several trade names.
Some states by order of the EPA have restricted some volatile type solvents that can be used.
The suppliers, however have substitute dry solvents that are acceptable by EPA.
VDS is primarily used for the removal of smudges and pick up dirt in order to avoid re-
cleaning. It must be feathered out to avoid rings. This involves putting VDS on a towel and
wiping the ring outward so it blends into the fabric.
Cleaners find it effective for surface cleaning non-cleanable items such as belts, cloth shoes
and hand bags.
It will affect surface prints, flock prints and gilt prints.
Amyl acetate
Many cleaners have the misconception that amyl acetate damages fabrics such as acetate and
silk. Amyl acetate is safe to all fabrics but will affect surface prints and dyes.
It is also used with oily-type paint remover to aid in the removal of all dryside stains.
It is used primarily for the removal of plastic-based stains such as nail polish, some glues,
some paints, foot corn removers and fabric stain by melted polystyrene, plastic buttons and
other plastic trimmings.
It is also used as a corrective procedure where resin finishes have broken down and left rings
and swales. These rings and swales are not removed by any other spotting agent or in
The amyl acetate is brushed on the affected areas and then recleaned. It is often referred to
as banana oil because of its odor. It is highly flammable and evaporates quickly.
It is the best way to test the serviceability of trimming. Apply a drop of amyl acetate to your
fingertips and touch the beading. If it becomes soft and tacky it may be damaged in drycleaning.
Work method for dryside stains
Oily-type paint remover.
Mechanical action.
Oily-type paint remover and amyl acetate.
Mechanical action.
On dryside stains, mechanical action using a tamping action is very effective.
On difficult plastic-based stains, it may be effective to allow the amyl acetate to stay on the
fabric for a period of time to help loosen the stain.
Removing dye stains.
Test unexposed area for safety.
Apply oily-type paint remover.
Testing for redeposition
To test whether the fabric turned gray due to drycleaning, the following process should be
Oily-type paint remover.
Mechanical action.
Apply steam and flush.
If the area turns brighter or whiter, the garment picked up redeposition of soil.

National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Using dryside spotting agents
eisen copy.jpg
Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh