White sofa turned pink during cleaning

Tcoulter

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So last week I cleaned a sofa, white, seemed to be mostly cotton, or cotton/ linen. I cleaned the arms and back, looked great. I proceeded to clean a cushion (prespray with prochem fine fabric, extract with hot water, sapphire scientific toool) and the white cushion turned pink only in certain areas. I couldn't get it out. I stopped the cleaning, and told the customer that I think that since it had down feathers, it was treated with a fire retardant that was turning pink when wet. So I told her I could come back and put a trash bag between the cushion filling and the outer cloth on the rest of the cushions.

Today I went back, put the interior cushions inside a trash bag, and cleand the cushions. Same thing still happened. The trash bags didn't help at all. Almost nowhere on the body of the sofa turned pink, but every cushion had pink at least somewhere on it, some worse than others.

The customer told me that she thinks it looks better having some pink spots than all the dirt and spots that were on it. But I am still upset that it turned pink. I looked online and found an article from a carpet cleaning company that said that it is caused by "indicator dyes" and said that you can just spray it with sodium bicarbonate and it will totally fix it. Seems too good to be true. Anyone have experience with this? I have cleaned probably a thousand sofas and never had this happen.

 

sbsscn

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NO its not true
Some folks go around and claim to use ammonia to correct it but that would be correcting for dy indicators.

With fire retardants the best way to avoid this is to ALWAYS test (identify) the fiber NOT by wet but by BURNing it

I always recommend everyone to take your time and test the fiber. I hate to sound cocky but it is SO important to Identify the fiber. I know I am going to get some back lash and with all do respect I dont care.
Get IICRC certified. It will educate you , teach you and help you in confidence level.

Even hot shots with 15, or 30 years of experience will run into stuff that could have easily been avoided by identifying the fiber.

Some guys will swear it wont happen on a synthetic but they are completely wrong.
A fire retardant can be applied on anything.

If the fiber would have resisted the fire then its on there. if its on there then you be honest with the client and explain it to them and all warnings.

Dye indicator can be corrected, but not Fire retardant. Only dye indicators Ive run into are blue not pink
 
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Tcoulter

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NO its not true
Some folks go around and claim to use ammonia to correct it but that would be correcting for dy indicators.

With fire retardants the best way to avoid this is to ALWAYS test (identify) the fiber NOT by wet but by BURNing it

I always recommend everyone to take your time and test the fiber. I hate to sound cocky but it is SO important to Identify the fiber. I know I am going to get some back lash and with all do respect I dont care.
Get IICRC certified. It will educate you , teach you and help you in confidence level.

Even hot shots with 15, or 30 years of experience will run into stuff that could have easily been avoided by identifying the fiber.

Some guys will swear it wont happen on a synthetic but they are completely wrong.
A fire retardant can be applied on anything.

If the fiber would have resisted the fire then its on there. if its on there then you be honest with the client and explain it to them and all warnings.

Dye indicator can be corrected, but not Fire retardant. Only dye indicators Ive run into are blue not pink

Interesting. I did explain to the customer that I was almost certain it was fire retardant, and she told me it would be ok to proceed with cleaning because she would rather there be pink spots than dirt spots. I probably should get better at testing before cleaning.
 

Fedri

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So last week I cleaned a sofa, white, seemed to be mostly cotton, or cotton/ linen. I cleaned the arms and back, looked great. I proceeded to clean a cushion (prespray with prochem fine fabric, extract with hot water, sapphire scientific toool) and the white cushion turned pink only in certain areas. I couldn't get it out. I stopped the cleaning, and told the customer that I think that since it had down feathers, it was treated with a fire retardant that was turning pink when wet. So I told her I could come back and put a trash bag between the cushion filling and the outer cloth on the rest of the cushions.

Today I went back, put the interior cushions inside a trash bag, and cleand the cushions. Same thing still happened. The trash bags didn't help at all. Almost nowhere on the body of the sofa turned pink, but every cushion had pink at least somewhere on it, some worse than others.

The customer told me that she thinks it looks better having some pink spots than all the dirt and spots that were on it. But I am still upset that it turned pink. I looked online and found an article from a carpet cleaning company that said that it is caused by "indicator dyes" and said that you can just spray it with sodium bicarbonate and it will totally fix it. Seems too good to be true. Anyone have experience with this? I have cleaned probably a thousand sofas and never had this happen.

Hmmm, I have learned something new thanks for the educational post; I will keep in mind even though I never came across non of this pink thing.
 

sbsscn

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Interesting. I did explain to the customer that I was almost certain it was fire retardant, and she told me it would be ok to proceed with cleaning because she would rather there be pink spots than dirt spots. I probably should get better at testing before cleaning.


Always, Always I Mean ALWAYS test the fiber!

If it wont burn of catch fire it has the retardant, If it turns pink then its not fire retardant its a Dye indicator which can be corrected or at least reduced. In those cases use a Alkaline rinse or a neutral (just water) no Acid rinse.

After you identify the fiber and find/or dismiss a retardant Always explain or communicate with the owner of the item(s) and put it in writing and in your case if it would have changed color then you dont need to worry about a call back.."it is what it is" and youll have a signed document.

Also what many do not understand is that there was also a change in the fire retardant formulation that would act as a reducer and strip the color from the fabric changing it into a white stain(s)/spots.

I repeat TEST. and get certified. Forget the political crud, get educated!!
 
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Tcoulter

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Always, Always I Mean ALWAYS test the fiber!

If it wont burn of catch fire it has the retardant, If it turns pink then its not fire retardant its a Dye indicator which can be corrected or at least reduced. In those cases use a Alkaline rinse or a neutral (just water) no Acid rinse.

After you identify the fiber and find/or dismiss a retardant Always explain or communicate with the owner of the item(s) and put it in writing and in your case if it would have changed color then you dont need to worry about a call back.."it is what it is" and youll have a signed document.

Also what many do not understand is that there was also a change in the fire retardant formulation that would act as a reducer and strip the color from the fabric changing it into a white stain(s)/spots.

I repeat TEST. and get certified. Forget the political crud, get educated!!

I feel like I did test the sofa, though. I actually cleaned the body of it, which had no issues. It was only on the pillows/cushions that there were pink issues, and I even presprayed with a neutral prespray and rinsed with water only and a low moisture upholstery tool, quick dried with air movers, and put a plastic bag between the outer fiber and the inner filling. I am not sure what else I could've done, really. I'm still confused as to why it turned pink.
 

wandwizard

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I was a little hesitant to share these, but if there's a problem I guess it will be taken down. Here are a couple articles that may be of help that share both why and how the flame retardant reacts as well as perhaps the only possible correction which is certainly not foolproof. I suspect that the flame retardant is the problem and that it was only applied to the cushions and not the body of the furniture. A strongly suggested test in addition to the burn test is to test for acid side ph on the ticking of cushions and to not clean it if it shows an acid side ph which may be 6 or lower. The flame retardant breaks down and turns more acidic over time and can even turn the material pinkish just from humidity in the air within months after it was purchased. I hope these articles might be of some help.
 

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sbsscn

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I feel like I did test the sofa, though. I actually cleaned the body of it, which had no issues. It was only on the pillows/cushions that there were pink issues, and I even presprayed with a neutral prespray and rinsed with water only and a low moisture upholstery tool, quick dried with air movers, and put a plastic bag between the outer fiber and the inner filling. I am not sure what else I could've done, really. I'm still confused as to why it turned pink.
I truly hope I dont appear to be a jerk or bashing on you, Cause I am not trying to be either of those two.

The advice I give is based on what I do Every single time. Sure it takes time but a call back or a claim with a dissatisfied customer will last even longer along with the lesson.

All cushions should be checked, unzip them, look inside sometimes youll see red/blue/black/orange or even pink marker numbers or letters from the manufacturer! and that can bleed and give you problems.
Do the burn test all of the time and if the cushion looks a little different than the rest of the body , then you need to test fiber on cushion too.

Also use Rob's UV flashlight it is THEEE best lamp (IMO) inthe industry. The light will also reveal some information that the naked eye just cannot do.
 

sbsscn

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I feel like I did test the sofa, though. I actually cleaned the body of it, which had no issues. It was only on the pillows/cushions that there were pink issues, and I even presprayed with a neutral prespray and rinsed with water only and a low moisture upholstery tool, quick dried with air movers, and put a plastic bag between the outer fiber and the inner filling. I am not sure what else I could've done, really. I'm still confused as to why it turned pink.

The mistake that many make is to be overly confident in doing sample cleaning.

I Don't nor will I do it, especially for free!
Dont go by what the mfg label says, Those arent always accurate. Dont be lazy, do the ID test on the area of what you will be cleaning.

1 VERY IMPORTANT note:

NEVER, I MEAN NEVER expect the problem to arise at the time of cleaning <<<< Big mistake on guys with little education and little experience.

Problems will most likely occur in the drying stage or post cleaning once everything has dried.

This is why I NEVER EVER do spot testing for free.

1st it costs me money in fuel and time and wear on my machine.
2nd. if I dont know what im doing and the majority of people who Do NOT test a fiber Dont know...hurts but its the truth!
3rd if im not charging and not disclaiming then Im setting my self up for a claim.
4th Why would you risk in doing all of that work and turning out it reacted bad or the customer said never mind! All youll feel like is a failure (and your Not) in reality it really means your desperate! DOnt be, even if its not your fault you still risk a bad review or someone bad mouthing you and all for free?

in your case the area that reacted was not even the area you tested.

Tip:

if it has down, feathers, animal hair or a regenerated fiber You SHOULD BE TESTING THE FIBER NOT TEST CLEANING.
 
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