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Glossary of dry cleaning

Acid Dyes

are water-soluble anionic dyes that are applied to fibers such as silk, wool, nylon and modified acrylic fibers using neutral to acid dyebaths. Attachment to the fiber is attributed, at least partly, to salt formation between anionic groups in thedyes and cationic groups in the fiber. Acid dyes are not substantive to cellulosic fibers. Most synthetic food colors fall in this category.


One of the steps in the dry cleaning process, assembly refers to the grouping of single garments together so that all garments received are returned to the customer.

Azo dyeing

a technique in which an insoluble azoic dye is produced directly onto or within the fibre. This is achieved by treating a fibre with both diazoic and coupling components. With suitable adjustment of dyebath conditions the two components react to produce the required insoluble azo dye. This technique of dyeing is unique, in that the final color is controlled by the choice of the diazoic and coupling components.

Basic dyes

are water-soluble cationic dyes that are mainly applied to acrylic fibers, but find some use for wool and silk. Usually acetic acid is added to the dyebath to help the uptake of the dye onto the fiber. Basic dyes are also used in the coloration of paper.

Direct or substantive dyeing

is normally carried out in a neutral or slightly alkaline dyebath, at or near boiling point, with the addition of either sodium chloride (NaCl) or sodium sulfate (Na2SO4). Direct dyes are used on cotton, paper, leather, wool, silk and nylon. They are also used as pH indicators and as biological stains.

Disperse dyes

Dyes that were originally developed for the dyeing of cellulose acetate, and are substantially water insoluble. The dyes are finely ground in the presence of a dispersing agent and then sold as a paste, or spray -dried and sold as a powder. Their main use is to dye polyester but they can also be used to dye nylon, cellulose triacetate, and acrylic fibres.

Dry cleaning

the act of cleaning fabrics with a solvent other than water, normally referred to as \'dry cleaning fluid\', along with a cleaning agent or soap. Dry cleaning can be necessary for fabrics which perform badly in water, such as wool or certain synthetics.

Dry cleaning fluid

The solvent in which non -laundered clothes are cleaned. Various fluids include perc, petroleum, silicon and carbon dioxide.


Refers to the pressing, steaming, ironing, and last -minute repairs necessary to restore the garment. Different garments, such as blouses, dresses, and suits, require more effort to finish than simpler items such as men\'s shirts.


Refers to the ironing of a garment by hand, as opposed to a machine or a press. Hand -ironing is more laborious, but often results in higher quality products.


The cleaning of garments in water, along with a cleaning agent or soap. Most cotton garments, such as shirts and blouses, are laundered.


Refers to the process of ironing cleaned shirts and/or blouses with a customized machine. Often machines can process more than one garment at a time.

Oxidized StainsM

A stain that becomes brown or yellow over time. They come in two basic types; water -based and oil -based.

Ozone Cleaning

The removal of odors, most frequently used for smoke or mildew, using ozone.


The final presentation of garments. This can refer to the bagging, boxing, and stuffing with paper. In this stage, cuff adherents and collar stays can also be added to keep garments in proper condition.

Reactive dyes

Dyes that utilize a chromophore attached to a substituent that is capable of directly reacting with the fibre substrate. The covalent bonds that attach reactive dye to natural fibers make them among the most permanent of dyes.

Rust Stains

Stains caused by corroded iron.

Sulfur dyes

are two part "developed" dyes used to dye cotton with dark colors. The initial bath imparts a yellow or pale chartreuse color, This is aftertreated with a sulfur compound in place to produce the dark black we are familiar with in socks for instance. Sulfur Black 1 is the largest selling dye by volume.