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How does a blind man spot a bad rinse?

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A blind man spots a bad rinse by the spots on his (or her) mini blinds or faux woods, or lines on the sheer of a Silhouette or near the lower pleats of a fabric shade which are waving back!

   Pure water dries without leaving any residue.  If there are dissolved minerals or other contaminants in solution, when the water dries the charged particles in the water are left behind on the edge of the area of evaporation leaving a crusty pile of debris we see as spots.  Sometimes these charged particles even chemically react with  metallic or other surface materials if conditions are right.

   Around the vanes of the Luminettes, along the lower edges, near hems or near pleats or edges of fabrics, a mountain range appears.  The “water marks” in these cases may be a result of poor cleaning, slow drying or poor procedures; however, it’s possible that poor rinsing is the culprit. 

   If the fabric wasn’t cleaned thoroughly the water carries the residual dirt until it evaporates.  The fastest  evaporation takes place around the edge of a pile (water spot) or along the edge of the drying zone (evaporation) so here the residues pile up as the water leaves them behind.  One can reduce the problems from water spots on hard blinds (minis, faux woods, vinyls) by using rinsing agents in the rinse tank that contain surfactants to reduce the water tension causing the water to sheet off the surface more easily and not to form big drops.

With fabric blinds a second rinse with clean water helps - even before the lines form or the item is dry if dirty rinse water or an extremely dirty shade shows evidence of water lines forming.  Better rinsing techniques such as allowing the fabric enough time in the rinse tank or adding some movement to more thoroughly flush out any residual dirt from the wash tank will make a big difference.  If one vacuums out excess water from the stack of fabric blinds or blows out sheers or blows the excess water off mini blinds it will reduce the amount of water left behind to cause problems during drying.  Drying times will improve and with the aid of fans for better air circulation one can further reduce the chance you see wicking lines waving back at you as faster evaporation means less time for any sediments to pile up.

   Rinsing is the operative word when doing fabric shades. Thicker multiple cell honeycomb blinds like Graber Crystal Pleat, if they are not gently sloshed or queezed while in the rinse water to flush cleaner rinse water through them will hold surprises when they dry!  The residual water (especially if they aren’t vacuumed out well or fan dried fairly quickly) will carry the residual contaminants out to the edges and ends where it will leave nice fuzzy darker colors or yellow nicotine lines, if it was a smoker’s shade.  If the wicking is light you can  often spray the closed shade with clean water and use a clean towel to damp out the discoloration.  Using an On-Site machine to touch it up quickly is also an option, a few quick strokes over it and a little air and it will be dry again in minutes. For more severe cases, a second cleaning or at least a second rinse is the solution.  Just be sure to allow the fabric enough time in the tank to soften and remove the contaminants this time around!

  Remember spots come from something in the water. If you take steps to remove the opportunity for deposits to be created on the blinds, you reduce spotting.

 

   The use of DI water (deionized water is filtered to remove the impurities through special resin beds in tanks etc.) to rinse blinds is certainly one solution.  However,  one can also eliminate the spots by reducing contaminants in the rinse tank by paying attention to water quality (soft water not hard water loaded with minerals).  The use of rinse agent additives to reduce water tension and increase the sheeting action of the water also help.  Most importantly one must reduce “drag out” of the dirty solution from the wash side by allowing a few moments for it to drain off the blind before they go into the rinse tank.

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