Emily May

Dry Cleaning Labels

We have been asked on many occasions what the symbols on a manufacturers cleaning label mean - normally after someone has had their gown cleaned by another dry cleaners and has had a very unfortunate mishap.

Sometime we are aghast at what some cleaners have returned to brides as a finished job telling them it was best results - the dress is all but ruined and the brides are in tears. Sometimes we are able rectify the situation other times there is nothing we can do.

So briefly below are some of things you may find sewn into your dress with their meaning and other things to bear in mind.

Dry-cleanable in hydrocarbon or white spirit or Perchlorethylene

Dry-cleanable in hydrocarbon or white spirit

As P above, but with restrictions on heat, water addition and agitation

As F above but with restrictions on heat, water addition and agitation

Dry-cleanable in any dry-cleaning solvent

Do not dry clean

THE BAPTISTE PROCESS® is a registered trade mark held by an individual dry cleaning company. The name stems from Jean Baptiste Jolly who knocked over a paraffin lamp on to a tablecloth back in 1800’s and discovered a clean patch. Paraffin is a Hydrocarbon F.

The Baptiste Process® was registered in 2001 – Emily May at Upstage had our first imported, specially adapted Hydrocarbon machine installed in 1998 – we clearly missed a trick!

GREENEARTH® cleaning is a fairy new concept – it is cleaning in liquid Silicone, the developers state that “Liquid silicone is essentially liquefied sand”! It promotes itself as environmentally friendly because it’s by products are nontoxic. It claims to achieve excellent cleaning results similar to Perk P whilst being kinder to fabrics. A couple of years ago when we were investing in new equipment we went to see first-hand how good GreenEarth® was with a mind to buy – having seen the cleaning results - we bought new Perk and Hydrocarbon machines instead!

SPOT CLEAN ONLY We call this the lazy label! In this day and age almost all gowns can be dry cleaned as long as the dry cleaner understands fabric and beadwork and has the knowledge and equipment to protect them. It is easier for manufacturers to use this label as it absolves them of any problems that may arise due to the components and construction of the gown.

PERSONALISED GOWNS Many gowns are personalised – bra cups, beads, diamanté, feathers – this then renders the cleaning instructions worthless as the trimmings may not be dry cleanable in the same cleaning solvent/conditions as the basic gown – be sure to highlight the additions to the dry cleaner and if in any doubt remove them or clean in F.

STAIN REMOVAL Few stains are removed by dry cleaning solvent. All stains and marks need to be treated by hand, layer by layer before cleaning. DIY treatments will make them harder/impossible to remove. Red wine needs to be treated within 2 weeks to achieve the best results.