The most common question faced by drycleaners when they receive a bedspread or comforter is whether it should be washed or drycleaned. Complaints of color loss or change of finish frequently accompany the cleaning of these items. Color loss usually becomes apparent when the cleaned bedspread no longer matches a coordinating uncleaned accessory, such as a pillow sham or drapery. The difference can range from slight frosting or fading to an overall change or catastrophic change of all colors.
Starting at the counter, ask the customer whether the item is one piece of a matching ensemble. If it is, as is often the case, recommend that all pieces be cleaned at the same time. This will help avoid slight variances in color. Also ask the customer about the manufacturer’s recommended care procedure. Missing care labels should be noted and test the bedspread’s dyes or pigments for colorfastness with water and detergent and/or solvent. Even if a care label is attached, testing for colorfastness is often in your best interest. If testing shows that following the recommended care process will cause problems, inform the customer before proceeding.
Dryside or wetside agents may be required to remove staining. These should also be tested for colorfastness before attempting treatment.
More information on this topic can be found in the following bulletins in DLI's Drycleaning Encyclopedia (available online and as a mobile app to DLI Silver, Gold, Premier, and International Members):
Technical Analysis Bulletin Service (TABS) 494 - Faded Bedspreads
Technical Operating Information (TOI) 723 - Testing Dyes for Colorfastness
Technical Operating Information (TOI) 724 - Testing Pigments for Colorfastness