The laboratory analysis department of a drycleaning association has reported
spandex blended fabrics consisting of rayon and polyester.
Spandex is an elastic yarn similar to rubber but consists of polyurethane. It is
used to give
fabrics better fit and wearability.
Spandex blended fabrics may
consist of rayon or polyester or
The dyes on polyester and rayon
are usually stable to both
drycleaning and wetcleaning when
not blended with Spandex.
When polyester and rayon yarns are blended with Spandex, the fabric can be
drycleaning solvent or water or both.
I do not know the reason why the Spandex blend produced a less serviceable
Spandex blended fabrics are often used in expensive women’s designer garments. The garments
may consist of mostly black dresses or womans suits with white trim or mostly
with black trim.
Testing to drycleaning
The serviceability of the dyes on these fabrics can easily be tested. Wipe an
with a Q-tip damp with solvent or oily type paint remover. Note if the dye
transferred to the Q-
It is important to note that if the drycleaner uses hot solvent in their
cleaning machine the test
is not accurate and bleeding can occur.
Drycleaning and hot solvent
The biggest source of bleeding problems occur with those drycleaners using hot
was documented by the problem garments sent to my garment analysis laboratory.
Many manufacturers advocate heating up solvent to increase the KB value of less
solvent such as GreenEarth and hydrocarbon. Although drycleaners may obtain a
aggressive solvent, they run a greater risk of dye bleeding and possibly a
It should be noted that drycleaners using cooler solvents have not encountered
I had a problem with these garments in a recent consultation. Five spandex
with white trim bled in the drycleaning process.
The spotter tried batching the garment and wetcleaning with no results. We then
each one in the drycleaning machine separately. The result was that they were
The high solvent level in agitation prevented dye transfer. The rule is if
something bleeds in
drycleaning it should be drycleaned again.
The fabrics can also bleed in wetcleaning even if labeled washable. Many
drycleaners may run
these garments on a gentle cycle for fabric safety. A gentle cycle or soaking
The more time a fabric soaks and is not flushed the more chance it has of
Dye setting agents usually do not stabilize poor dye.
The easiest way to test is to place a clean cloth under the garment and flush
with the steam
gun noting dye transfer.
The easiest way to attempt correction is to run the fabric over again in a
regular run. The
constant agitation and flushing with warm water prevents dye transfer from
On dye transfer, a titanium sulphate bath may work well. Testing is necessary to
how readily the rayon is affected by the bleach.
Sometimes if the testing shows the dyes are affected by stripping agents it can
often still be
stripped by immersing the garment in the bleach bath for a few seconds.
This immersion process can be repeated several times until correction is
When making up the bleach bath make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.