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Discoloration of Colored Dress Shirts

Dress Shirts

DLI’s Analysis Department has seen men’s colored dress shirts with local or blotchy discolorations. Testing shows the dyes on these shirts are acid sensitive and will change to pink or orange.

In most cases, this discoloration is limited to the collar, underarms, or spillage/contact areas on the garment. Additionally, some of these shirts show general, blotchy discoloration throughout the entire item, due to the use of acidic sours in commercial processing.

To determine if a dye is acid sensitive, place a drop of acidic solution in an unexposed area, and let it sit for two minutes. Normally, discoloration will be noted as soon as the acid solution contacts the fabric, but will gradually go away. However, if a change in color is still present after two minutes, the dye is considered sensitive. (Similar testing may be done with alkaline solutions to determine if a dye is alkaline sensitive.)

Regardless of the source of discoloration, we attribute this color change to the manufacturer due to the use of acid-sensitive dyes. Dyes that are this sensitive are not considered serviceable.

Suggested Reading

DLI International, Silver, Gold, and Premier members may access the following bulletins and more on DLI's Encyclopedia of Drycleaning Online in the Members Only section of this website.

Fabrics & Fashions No. 547 – No-Iron Vs. Traditional Dress Shirts

Technical Operating Information No. 748 – Avoiding Iron Wrinkles in Collars

Shirt Laundry Procedures – Any of the nearly 50 bulletins in this category

Posted By Harry Kimmel | 9/3/2019 1:41:13 PM

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