BULLE TIN NO. 764 By Brian Johnson, DLI Director of Education & Analysis Stain Removal Tools: Are You Using Them Correctly? TECHNICAL OPERATINGInformation One of the more unfortunate aspects of the cleaning busi- ness is that occasionally fabrics get damaged during stain re- moval procedures. An even more unfortunate fact is most of this damage can be traced back to incorrect use of steam guns, air guns, spotting brushes and spatulas. Although these tools are important and necessary for successful stain removal, they have the potential to be hazardous when used improperly. Steam and Air Guns The steam coming from the gun is a source of high pres- sure and high temperature. The air from the gun emits only high pressure which is slightly heated. The force of either the air or steam is concentrated at the nozzle or tip. This force is sufficient to produce yarn slippage or rupture of a fragile or weak fabric when the nozzle is held to close. Hold the nozzle perpendicular (at a 90° angle) to the fab- ric at least four inches (10 cm) from it. In this position, the force of the steam or air will be directed straight down onto the fabric instead of at an angle to avoid separating the yarns. The distance of four inches (10 cm) from the fabric will en- sure a safe temperature since high temperatures are produced by the steam and the hot water that condenses from the steam. The heat is greatest at the nozzle, but it drops rapidly as the distance from the nozzle increases. Excessive heat from a steam gun can cause dye bleeding, color changes and setting of heat-sensitive stains. Over-heat- ing of spotting agents can cause fabric damage. For exam- ple, 28% acetic acid and general formula can be used safely on most acetate fabrics, but these same agents, heated ex- cessively with a steam gun, can permanently damage some dyes. Therefore, we recommended flushing these agents with cool water. If no cool water is available, at least hold the gun no more than 4 inches (10 cm) away from the acetate fabric. THIRD QUARTER 2018 29 To avoid fabric and color damage, keep the steam gun nozzle perpen- dicular to and at least 4 inches (10 cm) from the fabric. Holding the gun incorrectly at an angle can cause fabric damage.