Graham Doyle, Managing Director of Pilgrim Payne, explains why you should leave curtain cleaning to the experts.

When selecting a company to take care of dry cleaning valuable curtains and draperies, make sure that you do plenty of research. There are lots of companies purporting to be curtain cleaners who have very little experience of this highly specialised area of work.

Curtain cleaning is a service offered by many providers, but it is true to say that only a select few carry out this work in the way it should be done. Many garment cleaners carry out such work but, as many horror stories attest, this is not the way to look after the big investments made in quality curtains and draperies. This is why so many people are scared of having their curtains cleaned.

Garments are mostly made of pre- shrunk fabrics so the risk of further shrinkage is low. Curtain fabric, however, is almost never pre-shrunk before manufacture and so risks are higher. Failure to prevent shrinkage, therefore, can ruin valuable items – unless a quality curtain cleaning specialist is chosen.

Curtain cleaning requires dedicated cleaning units which are often four or five times larger than those found in the high street shop of a garment cleaner. Likewise, the cleaning additives used in the cleaning liquor are designed

specifically for furnishing fabrics and moisture charges are lower.

Finishing equipment is also custom made for curtain and drapery work. But the most important factor in this whole setup is the extensive, specialist knowledge of the staff within the curtain cleaning company, and this takes many years to acquire.

Before any cleaning works can begin there needs to be extensive examination of the curtains and any overhead draperies to prevent possible damage. Curtain lengths need to be measured to the nearest centimetre so that a reference log exists for re-finishing the items correctly. This is an essential step in guaranteeing non-shrinkage. Colour testing is then carried out to ensure that dyes are stable and not fugitive in the cleaning process. Further inspection of the type and quality of linings and interlinings is then made to ensure that components are not likely to present problems.

Pre-cleaning spotting work of stains and areas of heavy soiling are essential to delivering high quality finished results. The cleaning should be carried out by skilled staff with many years of experience in dealing with and caring for valuable fabrics. This level of knowledge is a very rare commodity nowadays.

The return to window and installation of the finished goods also has to be high quality in order to make the most of a first class cleaning outcome.

When choosing a curtain cleaning company, look for a business with a long history in the trade. Look for guaranteed outcomes and a long and delighted list of prestige clients. Pilgrim Payne was founded in 1850 and has evolved through time. It now makes curtains and draperies as well as cleaning them to the highest standards. This allows us to have more knowledge than others in the field when it comes to periodic maintenance.

At Pilgrim Payne, when dry cleaning units were being ordered from Firbimatic in Italy, we sent our Production Manager to be involved in the final design and specifying of the machines. Never risk giving quality curtaining to anyone who will not invite you to inspect their cleaning plant, or anyone whose history is not a testament to their knowledge and success in their trade. Look for top quality endorsements and memberships of prestigious trade associations rather than dubious internet reviews. Choose wisely and look after the investment you have made in your curtains and draperies. SPECIALIST CLEANING | 55

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