7% Ammonium Hydroxide

mrcarpet

Active Member
Dec 6, 2009
975
75
28
46
Columbia, MO
www.maxcaremark.com
Real Name
Rob Decker
Business Location
United States
I need to know how to mix a 7% Ammonium Hydroxide solution, as I have just had a brush with a chair bleeding.IMG_0969.JPG

I have some chemistry background. From what I understand, Ammonium Hydroxide is simply ammonia and water. I also understand shelf life of the mixture can be an issue, so I am asking for a bit of professional advisement here.
 

mrcarpet

Active Member
Dec 6, 2009
975
75
28
46
Columbia, MO
www.maxcaremark.com
Real Name
Rob Decker
Business Location
United States
IMG_0998.JPG
I got it to the point illustrated above with a white towel and steam iron applied for heat. It began to bleed into my towel, and I stopped because I know I can make it migrate. Now I just need to mix the ammonia solution and use an air compressor to blow the fugitive back into the backing.
The point should be made that a colorfastness test was used before cleaning, and it did not show as a bleeder. I think a missed step during drying actually caused this, and I am willing to learn this lesson publicly, in order to help others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wandwizard

mrcarpet

Active Member
Dec 6, 2009
975
75
28
46
Columbia, MO
www.maxcaremark.com
Real Name
Rob Decker
Business Location
United States

Tron

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2010
14,886
47
113
Business Location
United States
My IICRC UPT manual says that 7% Ammonium Hydroxide, when applied to fugitive dyes, will cause them to migtate to the backing when used in conjuction with an air compressor to "blow" the dye past the face fabric.
Sounds like a good idea, please keep us posted on how this works, I'm learning on this thread, not teaching. I'd have probably skipped this upholstery job myself, kudos for trying it.
 

Johnny Bravo

Hacking my way though life, one room at a time.
Apr 25, 2011
23,766
8,157
113
San Pedro, Ca
TheJohnnyOnTheSpot.Com
Real Name
John Sheridan
Business Location
United States
View attachment 9810
I got it to the point illustrated above with a white towel and steam iron applied for heat. It began to bleed into my towel, and I stopped because I know I can make it migrate. Now I just need to mix the ammonia solution and use an air compressor to blow the fugitive back into the backing.
The point should be made that a colorfastness test was used before cleaning, and it did not show as a bleeder. I think a missed step during drying actually caused this, and I am willing to learn this lesson publicly, in order to help others.
Mr. Carpet, Got to respect you for sharing this with us. Thank you and good luck. Johnny
 

Dewitt

Well-Known Member
Dec 22, 2010
1,642
234
63
37
Illinois
Real Name
Dewitt
Business Location
United States
This bleeding stuff is one of my nightmares. Going to follow this to see how you fix it up Mr. Carpet.
I agree Choke, who knew upholstery cleaning could be so complicated. Because of red scare situations and bleeding, I'm really tempted to just limit my upholstery cleanings to dark colored fabrics only. I'm watching this too
 

mrcarpet

Active Member
Dec 6, 2009
975
75
28
46
Columbia, MO
www.maxcaremark.com
Real Name
Rob Decker
Business Location
United States
Mr. Carpet, Got to respect you for sharing this with us. Thank you and good luck. Johnny
Thanks! You can really get blasted around here, but I weighed my options. If one other person can learn from my mistake, it's worth any hits I take in public. Most instructors I have trained under readily admit their mistakes, and try to learn and teach from them.
 

Tron

Well-Known Member
Aug 3, 2010
14,886
47
113
Business Location
United States
I agree Choke, who knew upholstery cleaning could be so complicated. Because of red scare situations and bleeding, I'm really tempted to just limit my upholstery cleanings to dark colored fabrics only. I'm watching this too
Encap cleaners can help these scary ones too.
 

Johnny Bravo

Hacking my way though life, one room at a time.
Apr 25, 2011
23,766
8,157
113
San Pedro, Ca
TheJohnnyOnTheSpot.Com
Real Name
John Sheridan
Business Location
United States
I agree Choke, who knew upholstery cleaning could be so complicated. Because of red scare situations and bleeding, I'm really tempted to just limit my upholstery cleanings to dark colored fabrics only. I'm watching this too

Dewitt, You're a smarter man then me. My biggest problem is I'll see some upholstery that I think may be over my head, my brain says pass, then the money gets discussed and I lose all common sense and just go for it. One day I'm going to pay for this and I know it. Johnny


Thanks! You can really get blasted around here, but I weighed my options. If one other person can learn from my mistake, it's worth any hits I take in public. Most instructors I have trained under readily admit their mistakes, and try to learn and teach from them.
MrCarpet, If I had one complaint here, that would be it. Constructive criticism is one thing, but other then that I think it's stupid. Thanks again for having the cajones to post this thread. I know I will learn from it. Johnny
 

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
16,254
6,831
113
67
West Jordan, UT
www.interlinksupply.com
The solution you are seeking is ammonia mixed with water. Look for clear ammonia at a grocery store. You do not want the sudsy type of ammonia or ammonia with any fragrance. Check the label for the percentage of ammonia, but likely you will be using it straight to get 7%. What we buy as ammonia in the quart bottle is already mixed with water and will be something less than 10% mixture.

Now that I have told you what to get, let me say, go carefully. Ammonia is highly alkaline. High alkalinity causes many dyes to bleed. The process works by getting the dyes to bleed again. Then while they are bleeding, you blow them into the backing. The air movement often needs to continue until the fabric is dry and the ammonia has completely evaporated. Don't use much ammonia. Don't stop to soon or the problem may be worse. Work on a small area at a time.

While the manual is technically correct that this can be done, it comes from the dry cleaning industry and was usually done to clothing not upholstery. It was easier to blow the dyes through thinner clothing fabric. Doesn't always work great on heavier upholstery fabric.

There are some formulated products that make the job easier, but they may also weaken the fabric making it more likely to tear. So, learn, but learn cautiously whatever path you choose.

The best lesson - If you think there is nay chance of bleeding, do this first. Mix 3 ounces of Dye-Loc in a gallon of warm water. Apply a heavy mist of this solution to the fabric. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before cleaning. This will make the dyes less likely to bleed. It also keeps the fabric from accepting any new dye. So if any dyes does bleed, it just stays in the water instead of transferring to some other area of the fabric.
 

mrcarpet

Active Member
Dec 6, 2009
975
75
28
46
Columbia, MO
www.maxcaremark.com
Real Name
Rob Decker
Business Location
United States
Scott, thank you so much! This is the thing-- I did a colorfastness test with hot water before I ever touched the chair! That's what is really getting me. Is there a better test? I use a white towel, and the hottest water I can get, apply wet rag to suspect area, wait 30-40 sec and check for transfer.
I did all this trying to keep in mind that I was working on a WHITE Chair with RED and BLUE stripes, that did set off the RED flags in my head (ha ha for the pun...). To be safe next time I will put cushion on a plastic sheet to dry AND use the Color dye-lock prior to cleaning. It does look like I can fix this problem, but I will be looking for a better colorfastness test, and never ignore red flags again!
 

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
16,254
6,831
113
67
West Jordan, UT
www.interlinksupply.com
I would use the most aggressive cleaning product you intend to use mixed with hot water. pH can effect color-fastness. So, using your cleaner gives a more accurate result than just using hot water.

Some bleeding happens during drying. To be sure that a fabric is not a bleeder, you have to get it as wet as your cleaning process will and then allow the spot to fully dry. Of course, sometimes you don't have the time for this. You have to decide if it is worth the risk.

Any jacquard type fabric - the pattern on the back of the fabric will be a reverse of the pattern on the front - should be a warning. Especially watch out for "railroad" patterns. There will be long parallel strands of color fiber on the reverse side of the fabric.

Just got another call where a white fabric turned pink during drying. Likely a reaction to flame retardants and moisture. HEaring this at least once or twice a week.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom Forsythe

davenjai

Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2009
1,975
250
83
Peachtree City, GA
Real Name
David Tassa
Business Location
United States
So the dye is from the seat cushion stripes, yes? In that case, I would apply some blue painters tape over the colored areas then use an reducer on the white part. Dry with a hair dryer and be done.
 

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
16,254
6,831
113
67
West Jordan, UT
www.interlinksupply.com
I am going to attempt the procedure with an air compressor this week. Will 100 PSI do the trick, or do I need to step up the pressure?
I only attempted this a few times to practice and see if it could really be done. Not enough experience to say what pressure will work or not work. I was using 120 PSI and it worked fair.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom Forsythe