How to Evaluate Materials and Test for Colorfastness
Evaluate the material and color. Is it cotton, silk, wool, synthetic, or a manufactured material like rayon? For the most part you can wet any material if done properly; but washing it is a different issue. Light color cottons, and synthetics can be machine washed in hot water. Dark colors should be done in cold water to protect the color of the garment. Mix fibers like cotton spandex can be washed in the machine using the delicate cycle. The water temperature will depend on the color and colorfastness of the garment. Protein fibers such as silk and wool are better off left for the professionals unless you have experience in handling these materials. Protein fibers are easily damaged with water if incorrectly handled.
Testing 1-2-3:Test the color in a hidden area to see if it’s colorfast. Using a white towel apply a small amount of the spotting solution on to the towel. In a hidden area of the garment dab the solution on the garment several times to see if any color transfers over to the towel. Depending on the amount of color that transfer to the towel (if any) will dictate the process to use. Test all materials for colorfastness before beginning. Different manufactures use different techniques and dyes to achieve a certain look and result.
Examples: A fresh blood stain on white cotton is easy to handle as oppose to the same stain on red silk.
White cotton can be spotted directly without damage whereas red silk will require you to soak the garment to protect the color.
A white cotton garment is the easiest to handle, but colored (black, blue, red) cotton is an entirely different story.
A white silk is much easier to handle and a color silk will be the most difficult to handle (not because of the material, but because most colored silks are not colorfast) whereas a white silk is not as difficult.
Evaluate the color and material carefully to reduce the risk of damage to the garment. Consult a professional dry cleaner when you are unsure of which procedure to use.
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