A continuing problem over the years is the manufacture of draperies using poorly stabilized fabrics. During a later acceptable cleaning process, the drape shrinks. Usually, these fabrics show no evidence of any improper handling on the part of the cleaner.
Some shrinkage can be expected to occur on most household fabrics, such as draperies. In many cases, the materials used for these drapes are left in an overstretched condition from weaving.
If the fabric is not stabilized prior to construction of the end product, shrinkage of 2-4% may be expected to occur during the agitation of accepted drapery cleaning. This type of relaxation shrinkage is not the result of any improper cleaning process.
Unfortunately, this shrinkage can be a rather annoying problem, so cleaners should always recognize the possibility of shrinkage and take some extra precautions. The agitation cycle should be reduced and the relative humidity of the solvent needs to be tightly controlled.
In many cases, the shrinkage is minimal and can be rectified by expert finishing procedures. However, alteration may be necessary on fabrics that don’t respond to this process.
A little care during the inspection and cleaning of draperies can reduce customer complaints of shrinkage.