Q: Is “Spot Clean Only” valid on a care label?
A: According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this care label falls under the guidelines of the Care Label Rule. Care labels stating, “Do Not Dryclean; Do Not Wash; Spot Clean Only,” sometimes appear on expensive, heavily-beaded or sequin-covered gowns. The coating on such beads is often not resistant to drycleaning processes or solvents. In other cases, the base fabric is not resistant to washing processes.
As a result, drycleaning or washing such articles may not be possible. Such a label mandates that the garment be cleaned with localized stain removal only. This can be extremely difficult on some of these gowns because of their fabric type. For example, removing stains from taffeta and similar fabrics can be especially difficult without leaving circles or rings where the area was spotted. Removing discolorations from underarm areas can also be difficult without disturbing sizings.
Do not attempt to process the article in any way other than that recommended by the care label without the customer’s consent. If you process the article through another process without the customer's consent, and the garment is damaged, you will be held liable. Inform your customer of the limitations of the procedures that can be used to care for the gown. If the garment is heavily soiled or stained, localized stain removal may not be possible.