By law, most garments must have a care label listing at least one safe method of cleaning. The 1972 Care Label Rule clearly states that the care instructions on the label must apply to all permanently attached parts of the garment. This extends to decorative trim. Statements, such as Dryclean Only, Exclusive of Decorative Trim are considered to be unacceptable as no explanation is made on how to care for the trim or to remove it before the garment is cleaned. As a matter of fact, it is unfortunate that in many cases the stated care instructions actually cause damage to the trim. The following is a list of common problems related to a garment's decorative trim.
Colour change and loss: The dyes used on buttons, sequins, and surface designs may not act in the same way as those used in fabrics. They may not be resistant to dry cleaning fluid, becoming faded, dull, or totally eliminated during any step of the cleaning process. Sometimes, these dyes can also be transferred to the fabric causing a permanent stain. The most susceptible to moisture is red dyes, taking on a bluish hue in some instances.
Trim that detaches, dissolves or breaks: Sewn on trim should have well-bound edges and be well-fastened to the garment. Some garments feature a trim that is glued on. Unfortunately, glue is typically unable to resist dry cleaning solvent and, more importantly, can melt in the heat of the process. For this reason, inspect trim prior to cleaning. Polystyrene, the material commonly used to make buttons, beads, buckles, and other trim, can dissolve in dry cleaning solvents, particularly if the solvent is perchloroethylene. The manufacturer of the garment should be held accountable if a garment with such trim is incorrectly labeled Dry clean. Other buttons, such as those that are pearl-like, can be quite fragile. The cleaning process may crack, chip, or break them.
Inaccurate labeling: If the label says Dry clean then it should be made to withstand properly performed dry cleaning procedures, from start to finish. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, damage can be caused when steam is used to remove wrinkles and restore a garment to its proper shape, particularly with suede, leather, fur, and certain synthetic materials. Ironing and finishing may also be difficult on garments with trim that is constructed with elements placed very close together. In these situations, your dry cleaner may have to return the garment in substandard condition. Hundreds of garments are processed weekly by cleaners who are members of the International Fabricate Institute (IFI). If they suggest that the garment and/or trim you wish to have cleaned is at considerable risk of being damaged by following the care label, the cleaner may ask you to sign a consent form prior to cleaning. Do not hesitate to return a garment to the retailer with a care label that states an inaccurate method.
Fake leather and leather look alikes: Vinyl is commonly used to construct trim that looks like suede or leather. Some vinyls may stiffen, pucker, or curl when exposed to dry cleaning. solvents while other leather look alikes may lose their surface finish, stiffen, or fray. Plastic finishes, used to give fabrics the appearance of smooth leather, may also separate, peel, or blister during the dry cleaning process. In fact, some imitations are so realistic that no one can predict their cleanability. It must be assumed that the trim is compatible with the care procedures stated on the label.
Fur Trim: Some garments comprised of cloth and fur can be problematic to dry clean since they often do not share the same care methods. Trim made from small pieces of older or thinner fur can crack, peel, or shed. Some furs that are tipped with dyes may not be colourfast, fading or disappearing during the cleaning process.
Any question, problem or concern you may have regarding trim, care labels, or other clothing care issues can be directed to an IFI clothing care professional.