Dye bleeding is the number one problem in upholstery cleaning and the fault is
not always be with the cleaning technician. There are two sets of official industry
standards governing this type of problem. The first comes from the furniture
manufacturers association in a group called JOINT
INDUSTRY FABRIC STANDARDS COMMITTEE. Their standard is called WOVEN
& KNIT RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERY FABRIC STANDARDS & GUIDELINES. The second
standard comes from the Institute Of Inspection Cleaning
& Restoration Certification or the IICRC who publishes the Standard and Reference
Guide for Professional Upholstery Cleaning IICRC-S300.
The cleaning technician has choices between using a wet or dry method and the JOINT INDUSTRY FABRIC STANDARDS COMMITTEE requires a cleaning tag be place on the upholstery to recommend either a wet or dry method of cleaning. The IICRC-S300 requires cleaners to perform a test for colorfastness. The wet methods are preferred because they remove more soil, but the dry methods are seldom cause dyes to bleed. In the absence of a manufacturing cleaning tag, the cleaning technician is left with a colorfast test to make a reasonable determination between wet or dry methods. Pretesting for colorfastness detects most, but not all potential bleeding problems.
When the cleaning technician has performed a colorfast test and has found no bleeding, yet the fabric has bled, then there is a test that can be preformed to see if the dye is defective.
The cushion below is made of Chenille and has experienced dye bleeding after cleaning. Note the dark areas.
A Blowup of the yarn of the cut sample reveals that yellow and not black has actually bled indicating that yellow dyes were improperly selected or applied. Note that the dye has also bled into the small yarn more than the other yarns.
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