Color restoration after wetcleaning

Color loss is a common occurrence for dark silk and single-color cotton whether you wetclean or dryclean. Silk pants or shirts from Tommy Bahama are notorious for such a problem. The problem mainly comes from less stable dye job and/or strong alkaline soap. So, when you are processing this kind of clothes, it’s best to use a neutral soap. But with a bad dye job, no amount of precaution will prevent a color loss.

There may be many ways to restore localized color loss but I would like to tell you how I do it. The success rate will depend on the degree of the color loss, how old it is and fabrics but I find this method quite handy.

Supplies needed

  1. Grease Out: it’s an EMC product and is neutral.
  2. Conditioner: it’s an EMC product and is neutral.

The Goal

This process is basically creating a small degree of color loss all over and, then, redye and deepen the color so that the original look can be restored.

The process

1. Degreaser bath

For 1 shirt, add 2 oz. of Grease Out and 2~3 oz. of Conditioner to 1.5 gallon of cold water. Submerge the shirt and move it occasionally. Monitor how much dye has been released. Remember our goal is to cause a small degree of color loss. Color loss problem usually occurs with a single darker color clothes. Stay away from alkaline soap.

The bath lasts 2~3 hours depending on the severity of color bleeding. Silk’s color bleeds faster so you need to be monitoring it closely.

2. Rinse

You usually do not need to rinse. Give it a light squeeze and hang dry. Grease Out’s main ingredient is citrus oil so it has orange smell. The smell disappears when dry so there is no need to rinse it out.

3. Conditioner treatment

If the color is not restored by the bath, you need to give it a conditioner treatment. Add 3~4 oz. of conditioner to 1.5 gallon of water. Submerge the shirt and let it soak for 10 minutes. Low or medium spin and hang dry. The role of the Conditioner is to deepen the color and add surface sheen. After it’s dry, tumble dry it with heat. The conditioner works better when heated.

The red cloth has multiple spotting stains which were removed after the treatment. The treatment bath was made with water 1.5 gallon, Grease Out 2 oz. and conditioner 2 oz.
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Picture of Yangsoo Kim

Yangsoo Kim

The author is the developer of Aqua Master wet cleaning chemicals and is currently operating Green Life Cleaners, a 100% wet cleaning service. You can contact him by phone (201) 699-7227 or email at yangkim50@gmail.com.

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