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WET & DRY CLEANER GUIDE – “Holes in the fabric after washing”

“Holes in the fabric after washing”
A special case study at EXPOdetergo International

by Carla Sperotto

The presence of Ritex as a first-time exhibitor at EXPOdetergo International was highly stimulating and rewarding. Ritex, as a partner of Detergo, had the opportunity to fully experience the diversified reality of both the industrial and professional laundry process.
There were many interesting new products on display, especially those pertaining to the latest technologies for wet cleaning, washing and drying of delicate garments such as pure wool outerwear. The array of new cleaning chemicals was just as interesting, and particularly silicone-based solvents which can effectively replace perchloroethylene (bound to be banned due to its harmful effects) as well as the less aggressive but hardly used hydrocarbon-based solvents.
During and after the exhibition, manufacturers of laundry chemicals and detergents, especially foreign ones, expressed an interest in Ritex’s services. This happens to be the direction in which Ritex can place the most qualified resources in the field to develop flexible and personalized procedures to support those in the business of formulating new products that clean more effectively and better protect the textiles, mankind and the environment.
Last but certainly no less stimulating was the interaction with wet and dry cleaning operators who often face and/or are affected by issues ensuing from textiles of poor quality and erroneous instructions on their care labels.
Overall, EXPOdetergo was indeed a very interesting and rewarding experience, surely worth repeating.
Over the course of the industrial laundry and dry cleaners trade expo in Milan we had the opportunity to interact with many companies and discuss technical aspects as well as their wide ranging issues and needs. In this regard, this month’s issue includes a study on a sensitive issue often encountered by those in the industrial laundry field.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ISSUE
• AFFECTS – 100% white cotton workwear, t-shirts, trousers.
• TRIGGERING ACTION – Sodium hypochlorite-based professional wash
• DEFECT: holes of different sizes appear at random locations on garments that exhibited no apparent damage prior to being washed.

completo_DETERGO OTT 14 ok-002

THE LAB INVESTIGATION

STEP 1: EXAMINATION UNDER THE MICROSCOPE AND CHEMICAL REACTIVITY TEST
The test can determine if the cotton was damaged by an acid or other chemicals. Below are the typical reactions of cotton and the state of damage of cotton subject of reactivity testing as it appears under the microscope.

11 completo_DETERGO OTT 14 ok-003

12completo_DETERGO OTT 14 ok-003RESULT: the fibres taken from the edge of the holes in the damaged area reacted positively to the chemical degradation test, which proves that the damage on both the trousers and the t-shirt is of chemical origin.

STEP 2: DETERMINATION OF THE DEGREE OF POLIMERIZATION – UNI 8282
This test is designed to verify the overall state of integrity or degradation of the base textile.

completo_DETERGO OTT 14 ok-003

RESULT: the degree of polymerisation of both fabrics tested is above standard. This confirms that the problem does not generally affect the fabric of both garments: a condition which results in significantly lower DP values when the problem originates from professional cleaning.

CONCLUSIONS
Having concluded the tests, and as proven by the verified DP values, we can affirm that the fabric was not affected by generalized degradation. Therefore, from a polymerisation standpoint, the integrity of the cotton allows us conclude that professional cleaning could not possibly have caused the problem.
Microscopic examination of the cotton treated with a specific reactant clearly revealed localized chemical degradation near the holes; the defect can therefore be attributed to the accidental action of a chemical product.
To summarise, we deem the defect resulted from localized pollution by an acidic chemical agent, which probably occurred while the garments were being worn at work and became apparent after the regular laundry treatment.

ecochem s.r.l.
Via L. L. Zamenhof, 22
3600 Vicenza
Tel. 0444 911888
Fax: 0444 911903
e-mail: info@ecochem-lab.com
Laboratorio
Centro Ricerche e Prove Tessili
Via Maglio di Sopra, 3
36073 Cornedo Vicentino VI
Tel. 0445 446393
Fax: 0445 459042
e-mail: info@labritex.com
www.labritex.com

detergo – October 2014

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