Unfortunately for everyone, some stains are permanent. They simply become part of the fabric. Continued attempts to remove them will cause dye loss or fabric damage, known as chafing or fraying.
Many stains are removed by the dry cleaning machine and require no additional effort from the cleaner. A group of stains, called stubborn stains, require the attention of a stain removal specialist. The art of removing stains is called “spotting” and the person doing the stain removal is called the “spotter”. Spotting stubborn stains requires a high level of skill, knowledge and experience.
The Spotter’s Dilemma
When presented with a stubborn stain, spotters are eager to do everything possible to remove the stain, however they must avoid damaging the fabric in the process. Stubborn stains often require a combination of strong stain removing solutions and a significant amount of mechanical action to get them out. Not knowing how much effort it’s going to take, the spotter will try using the mildest stain removal methods and solutions first. If the stain remains, they will try something a little stronger. They will continue to repeat this process until either the stain is successfully removed or the fabric begins to show signs of dye loss or chafing. At this point, they must stop working on the stain. If they continue, they risk damaging the fabric.
How do stains become permanent?
A stain can consist of virtually any liquid substance that comes in contact with your clothes. Time usually determines whether a stain can be removed or not. Almost all stains can be removed if treated quickly enough.
However, most stains will become permanent if left untreated too long. When first coming into contact with fabric, most stains will initially remain on the surface and can be removed relatively easily. Over time, stains absorb into the fabric and permeate the fibers. They begin to react with the fabric’s dye. A chemical change takes place and the stain literally changes the color of the fabric. Stains often turn light fabrics darker or dark fabrics lighter. These color changes in the fabric are almost always permanent. Once this takes places, even if the spotter removes the original stain, the fabric where the stain was is now a different color. It looks like the stain is still there, but it’s not. What you are seeing is the permanent damage that the stain caused.
Heat causes the same type of stain “setting” that time does. You should never apply heat of any kind to a stain. Do not iron a stained garment and do not put it in the dryer.
Comforters: Why some stains come out & some don’t?
It’s a very common problem. When you have your comforter cleaned, some of the stains come out but some don’t. Why?
The most likely reason is time. When it comes to stain removal, time is the biggest factor. The age of the stain often determines whether it’s removable or not. If treated quickly enough, in the hands of a trained professional, almost any stain can be removed from almost any fabric. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Given enough time, an otherwise removable stain can cause permanent damage to the fabric.
Removing stains on household items such as bedspreads, comforters, blankets, curtains, and rugs are particularly problematic, because some of the stains can be very old. Even if the cleaner is able to remove the original stain, you can often still see where the stain was, because the stain changed the color of the underlying fabric. This type of fabric damage is often irreversible.
As a general rule, as soon as the stain hits the fabric, immediately blot up as much of it as possible with a clean cloth. Then, as soon as possible, have the stain treated professionally, the quicker the better.