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Spotting Rings and Leveling Agents

Thursday, March 25, 20100 comments

A common problem that many cleaners seem to have is with spotting rings, redeposition, dye fading and even some localized shrinkage, after doing wet side spotting. Over the years, calling on fellow dry cleaners here in the south, this has always been a common question that I get, more so from the newbie, but even the veteran dry cleaner from time to time. With the influx of hydrocarbon machines, there seems to be even more reluctance to do the often needed wet side spotting.  This fear usually always comes from the lack of understanding  of the  much needed relationship between detergent, solvent and water (when managed properly) and the irrational idea that any moisture in the dry cleaning machine will result in bacteria growth. Now that is a subject to dive into sometime! For those who do not know, wet side spotting is the procedure used when water and other wet stain removal agents are necessary for the removal of water soluble stains. Water soluble stains. That sounds like water would be needed to dissolve those stains, doesn't it? These stains can be caused by a multitude of things, but some good examples are food, beverages, blood, milk, etc.
I am not going to go into the stain removal procedures for all of the different potential wet side stains that there are, my goal today is to explain how to prevent the rings after wet side spotting. 
So here goes.  After you have removed the stain and rinsed the wet side stain removal agent from the fabric, you want to start drying the moisture.  I like to use a technique called "feathering", where I dry the outer edges with the air gun and the vacuum on and slowly work to the center of the stain. This will leave a little residual moisture  in the garment.  This moisture is where the ring is formed.  At this point, I would use a "leveling agent".  This will control that residual moisture and prevent the ring from forming.  Apply the "leveling agent" directly to the pre-spotted area.  Do not flush, rinse or dry.  From this point the garment can be placed in the dry cleaning machine. That's all there is to it!
Remember, always use a high quality product, backed by a reputable company with support available. And always remember to pre-test garments in an un-exposed area, with the same procedure you intend to use to remove the stain.  I hope this helps you out.

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