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National Clothesline
Milt & Edies Drycleaners in Burbank, California does more hand cleaning than most of my
clients and probably most cleaners thoughout the country.
This drycleaner handles many high-fashion garments from TV and movie studios as well as
museums throughout the country. There are many high quality garments with intricate design
that can not be immersed in
water or drycleaning solvent.
Some of these garments are
labeled “spot clean only” or ”Do
not dryclean or wash.” It takes a
great deal of skill to clean these
garments since the garment after
spot cleaning must be free of
stains, soil and odor.
The following is some of the new products and concepts that I have introduced. It is not
enough to just use the product but you need to use the necessary skills to make it work.
Methods and products for hand cleaning
Folex carpet cleaner. This is a product that I introduced to many cleaners who have learned to
use it effectively. This product contains a nonionic detergent with an evaporating agent. It is
very effective as a localized spotting agent that can remove soil, wet and dryside stains.
If you spray it on properly and rub out the stain, it can be air dried with the spotting gun
without leaving rings and residue of the product. Wedding Gown Preservation and Oceanside
Cleaners are some of the cleaners that effectively use this product. Testing is necessary on some
colored silk with dye limitations.
Neutral lubricant. The neutral lubricant you are using should be diluted to a concentration
that can be easily flushed out. Mix the product you are using diluted with four parts water.
Q-tips. In spot cleaning the q-tip is an invaluable aid. The q-tip can be saturated with a
spotting agent and applied to the stain using rubbing and mechanical action. This avoids over
saturating the area with a spotting agent.
Bleach stick. This agent can be obtained in a supermarket. It comes in a cream form and can
be applied locally to small areas. It can only be used on white cotton, linen or rayon. Some white
fabrics may need testing even though the concentration is marked safe.
Hydrogen peroxide. This can be purchased in a drug store as a spray. This bleach is very
useful since it can be sprayed on a fabric and simply hung to dry. A 3 percent solution is
considered safe for most fabrics and dyes.
When spraying a colored silk, two sprayings may be virtually safe but after several sprayings
the color should be checked as it can affect some colors after repeated spraying. A 6% solution
can be purchased in a hair salon in a cream form. The product needs to be tested before use.
Feathering. It is necessary to learn feathering if you are attempting  to do hand cleaning.
Feathering is necessary if you are using extensive chemicals for stain removal and soil. The staff
at Milt & Edies are all adept in the practice of feathering.
After spotting an area, there can be extensive ringing from the liquid and chemicals used.
Feathering means you break up the area with the steam gun and wipe the wet area outward so
the wet area gradually blends into the dry area.
Feathering is more effective and faster than force drying the area with the steam gun and
vacuum.
Environmentally safe volatile solvent. This is used to remove localized staining, soil and
rings from dryside agents.
Powdered drycleaning solvent. This agent is very effective for spot cleaning since it can be
applied to most fabrics to remove dryside stains without rings. It is also effective on rings that
may have been left from spotting.
Odor. There are many commercial products that can be used to remove odor. Unscented lysol
spray is a store-bought product that can remove odor from the fabric. It should be sprayed on to
a fabric at a safe distance so the fabric does not become wet or damp from the spray.
Acetic acid. If the garment can be tumbled in a warm dryer, spraying the garments a few
times with acetic acid will remove smoke, perspiration and other odors. When spraying with
acetic acid make sure the garment does not become saturated since this can cause an acetic
acid odor.

The rare art of hand cleaning
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Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh