Q: Why do down filled coats sometimes show dark stains on the fabric after cleaning?
A: Fabrics used in down-filled coats usually have a resin-type finish for water repellency. Some of these coatings are solvent-soluble and will be removed in drycleaning. Once the coating is removed, the shell fabric becomes more transparent. The dark feathers used in the down filling will then show on the surface of the fabric, causing the dark stains. If you look closely, you can usually recognize the shape of the feathers. This type of problem is more apparent on white and pastel-colored down garments.
In some cases, an interlining fabric is used to hold the feathers in place. The feathers can also work through this material and cause a similar type of stain on the shell fabric.
As long as the garment is labeled as drycleanable, the formation of these stains is due to the methods used in its construction and not to mishandling in cleaning.
For more information please see TABS No. 337 - Discoloration of Down Items and Fabrics & Fashions No. 490 - Problems with Down and Down Garments in DLI's Drycleaning Encyclopedia App or web application.