THIRD QUARTER 2018 37 Drapery Water Rings & Splotches What Is The Problem? Staining on draperies or curtains that became more noticeable after professional cleaning. What Does It Look Like? Dark “water-mark” staining that can appear as streaks, splotches or an irregular edged “ring” in no particular pattern. Many times the discoloration is more noticeable on exposed edges, folds, or near the hem, but can be seen on any area of the drape or curtain. What Caused It? As a drape is hanging the fabric accumulates household smoke, gas fumes and other atmospheric impurities. In addition many drapery fabrics have sizing or other finishes imparting luster or body to the fabric. These finishes, as well as any accumulated soils, are mostly water-soluble. Any contact with moisture such as inclement weather or windowpane condensate can disturb the sizing or soils in the fabric, causing objectionable streaks or water marks/rings. Can It Be Prevented? There is no practical means to prevent contact with fumes and soil while curtains are hanging in use. Also, the sizing or finish on the fabric is applied during fabric manufacture. Incidental contact with moisture in any form while hanging is eventually inevitable, thus water marks are unavoidable. Who Is Responsible? Although such staining is a circumstance of use, once the soluble soils are removed in later professional cleaning, the remaining “water-rings” and/or sizing disturbance splotches will become more apparent. Is There A Remedy? Drapery watermarks are basically water soluble and not readily removed by any drycleaning process. If the drape fabric, as well as the colors, can withstand wet side agents, then some improvement may be possible by a combination of water based stain removal procedures and professional wet cleaning. By Jim Kirby, DLI Textile Analyst TABS T E X T I L E A N A LY S I S B U L L E T I N S E R V I C E BULLE TIN NO. 492 This curtain got wet near the bottom while hanging and now we see rust colored water marks. The water ring at the middle of this antique satin drapery is from contact with moisture on the windowpane.