Those who are using portable injection-extraction machines like the Kleenrite 204Hx or the old US Products PB3 can use an infinite variety of cleaning chemistry to clean fabric shades, blinds or draperies. However the difference between the professional and the novice comes down to knowing not only what types of chemicals should be used, but how to properly use them. We offer more detailed information for our Members on this topic in the secure side of the website and go over the basics in this area and many others in our training classes. Our network is for the type of professionally minded drapery and blind cleaners who recognize their need to invest the time and research to learn from us or others the basics of the types of cleaning they wish to perform for their clients. Trying to find a quick "How To" article to read doesn't make one an "Expert" nor competent to offer the services that can be performed with the right equipment and chemistry. It takes a knowledgeable technician to assess the situation and know how to best use the resources at their disposal to accomplish the task. As cleaning chemistries and equipment changes over the years - as do the types of fabrics being cleaned, one should regularly be doing things to improve stay current or improve their knowledge base.
What chemicals should be used to clean draperies, fabric blinds or shades all depends upon several common sense limitations. Despite one's best intentions, you can't break the laws of science and change outcomes. Wrong techniques, wrong chemicals or using the wrong things in the wrong ways will always results in poor outcomes. Using chemicals that aren't tolerated by the equipment, fabrics or colors/dyes/paints involved will result in damage that is expensive both in terms of what is done to the window treatment and to one's reputation. Knowing how the construction of the fabric, color applications and the performance of the various chemicals interact is crucial to obtaining great results. What chemistry is the best for any given situation is NOT a matter of the type of window treatment, but of its construction, condition and level or type of soil load. Use of techniques and chemicals for cleaning, flushing, rinsing, spot removal or other specialty work will have consequences. The better one's knowledge, techniques or cleaning chemistry the more likely there is to be a predicable positive results achieved with ones cleaning on a wide variety of treatments.
Dry Cleaning or Wet Cleaning?
While water is the known as the universal solvent, it also can rinse out water based finishes, cause some dyes to bleed or cause natural fibers to swell resulting in fabric shrinkage or distortion. The use of dry solvents that contain no water paired with the right cleaning detergents can do a decent job of cleaning fabrics for which wet cleaning is a risk or not ideal. The fabric content, construction of the item being cleaned and its overal condition have to be assessed to know which method is the best choice. Care tags and manufacturers recommendations do not always give the information an experienced cleaner can glean from inspections and fabric tests or research.
A professional cleaner uses three basic types of cleaning chemistries in their process. Combined with various cleaning techniques they will be using at least one or more of the following types of solutions:
A cleaning solution that is either water or dry solvent based that contains basic detergents and additives suited for the paticular type of cleaning being done.
Pre-Sprays are typically a mix of the cleaning solution applied minutes before the main cleaning to allow soils to loosen up or in a two part cleaning process the "cleaner" is sprayed on and the cleaning head is delivering a rinse solution to flush out soils. In a one step process the cleaning head delivers a dilute cleaning solution which doesn't need to be rinsed out. Spotting Chemicals are various cleaning solutions one can use that are formulated for specific types of soils like grease, proteins or discolorations when a general cleaning agent isn't effective. The more one knows about cleaning the larger their collection of cleaning tools and chemistries is likely to be to address common and not so common challenges.
It is also important to remember as some point a spot may become a stain as it permanently impacts the material it is on for one or more reasons and can not be removed by cleaning. Time, UV exposure and the pH of the soils and fabric are all variables. Cleaning done regularly and soon after soiling get better results than hoping neglected materials are going to "look like new" after years of negative exposure to airborne contaminants.
Dry Cleaning Chemicals:
Wet Cleaning Chemicals:
Degreasers or other Treatments for Heavier Soiling/Soots etc.