Caption: Salt and Pepper garments can pose tough stain removal challenges.
Q: I am having trouble removing a
stain from a fabric that has very dark yarns mixed with very light yarns. The
light yarns seem darker after flushing the area with steam to remove stain
removal agents. What is the problem?
A: You have
a salt and pepper fabric, a term referring to the light and dark yarns in a
woven or knit fabric. This type of fabric may be found with a variety of
fibers, such as silk, wool, rayon or polyester and frequently has a nubby
texture. The dye in the dark yarn is water soluble and transfers to the light
yarns, resulting in a dark or shaded area.
If the dye is very sensitive to water, the fabric
is not serviceable. Dye may bleed out during stain removal attempts, but in
many cases, contact with water-based substances in use can cause similar
Test carefully before attempting to remove stains
on a salt and pepper fabric. If you notice a lot of dye bleeding immediately
after contact with water, do not proceed with wetside stain removal procedures.
If you do attempt to remove a stain, work in a small area with a towel
underneath to absorb moisture. Dry the area quickly. The item should be hung
aside to dry thoroughly before drycleaning.
- Fabrics & Fashions No. 555: Salt and Pepper Yarns
- TABS No. 352: Salt 'n Pepper Dyes Bleed
- TABS No. 385: Black Dyes Bleed into White
- Numerous garment examples from Not In Vogue and Heads Up!