Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Graying Garments

A common complaint among frequent dry cleaning customers is that their white and light colored garments look dingy – sometimes referred to as ‘graying’.  This issue comes from redeposition – a situation where the dirt, dye, spotting agents, and body oils from dirty clothes get suspended in the dry cleaning solvent.  Those soils are then redeposited back on to garments in future loads.  Along with the garment’s dingy look, there sometimes can be an odd odor as well.

What causes redeposition?  Actually a number of things, so we’ve come up with a list of the most common causes:

• Using dirty solvent.  Most dry cleaners distill their solvent constantly so that each load is cleaned in clean solvent, but there are some discount cleaners that try to save money by running this process only periodically.   The result is clothes being cleaned in solvent that is at best, murky and at worst, brown.  Your solvent should always be clear.
• There is a lack of solvent exchange between the drum and filters.  There could be a number of issues causing this including dirty or clogged filters that don’t allow the solvent to pass through; a clogged pump strainer; a malfunctioning tank inlet/outlet, filter inlet/outlet, or wheel inlet/outlet valves; the pump not pumping because of either a clogged button trap or a malfunctioning valve at the button trap causing the pump not to have suction.
• Clogged bleeder lines for the filter housings, an issue that is often overlooked.  Each filter has a bleeder line to bleed off air and ensure that the filter is completely full of solvent.  These lines can clog with lint, causing the filter to not completely fill.  That means you could be operating with only half the filter area of your filter system.
• Dirty carbon filters.  Carbon filters are used to remove dye and should be changed every 1200-1500 pounds of cleaning each.
• Improper sorting.  Not only should you sort your loads based on color, you should also sort for weight.  Be sure to run lighter weight garments separately from heavier weight items.
• Overloading the machine.  If the machine is too full, it won’t allow the solvent to move around the wheel properly, causing removed soil to remain in contact with garments longer.

The good news is that the graying color can many times be removed by simply cleaning the garments again in fresh solvent.  If you’ve had customers comment on their whites, do some investigating.  If the list above doesn’t solve your problem, then contact us at or 866-885-5218.