Everyone knows that if you get a stain on your clothes that you can’t get out using an “at home” stain remover, or if the garments are not the type that can be washed in a washing machine in order to attempt to remove the stain, that taking your garments to the dry cleaner is probably your best bet. Naturally, you do not want to just throw away that expensive suit, wedding dress or shirt because you got a stain on it, but you also realize that some stains are going to be far harder to remove even for a professional with access to cleaning tools that you do not have access to. With that said, one of the most common questions asked of dry cleaners is “what is the hardest type of stain to get out using the dry cleaning process?” The question is very difficult to answer because there are so many different types and blends of fabrics, all of which have a different resistance to stain removal and all of which must be treated in different ways in order to make sure that the garment is not ruined by the stain removal process itself. Most dry cleaners are going to be honest with you about certain stains having little chance of being completely removed, but you have a better chance by allowing a professional to attempt the process than you do if you use something from the supermarket at home.
The first thing we need to discuss is the type of stain and what that stain is made of, as well as what kind of garment it is and how that garment was manufactured. One of the most important considerations with regards to stain removal is the colorfast nature of the garment, and how much it will potentially discolor f a very aggressive stain removal process is used. Another aspect that must be considered is how long the stain has been on the garment itself. The old rule that your mother taught you is very true here too, and if the stain has had a long time to set in and dry it is going to be far harder to remove than a fresh one. All things considered, the toughest stain to remove using the dry cleaning process is probably an ink stain on a colored fabric. This will have a lot to do with the chemical composition of the ink itself and the dyes that were used to color the garment itself. The stain removers that are used in order to break up the ink will also begin to remove the natural color of the garment itself as it is similar to the chemical composition of the ink. It is very difficult to remove one without also removing the other. These are dyes we are attempting to remove without removing other dyes in the garment itself, and you can see how difficult that would become.
As far as white garments, an ink stain is also considered one of the most difficult to remove, but oil stains that have oxidized are just as difficult. The oxidization process happens over time, so older stains become far more difficult to get out than newer ones. Food greases contain the oils that will be very difficult to remove, and even the oils produced by your body that stain around the collars and armpits of garments are considered very difficult to remove if allowed to build up over time. While ink and other stains on white garments will potentially be able to be removed using bleach, oxidized oil stains are not affected by bleach in the same way, and therefore remain very tough to remove using the chemicals that most dry cleaners are willing to utilize. This is one of the reasons that it is important to dry clean shirts and other garments that come into close contact with your body often. By not allowing the ongoing staining to build up, you have a better chance of prolonging the life of your clothes.