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History of Non-Immersion Drapery & Fur Cleaning Machines

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Drapery/Fur Cleaning Machine Utilizing Non-Liquid Cleaning Agents Certain fabrics and furs cannot sustain cleaning with liquids ([1], [2],[3]). Non-immersion cleaning machines for furs and drapes have been developed to provide a safe and effective cleaning solution for these delicate textiles. There have been several iterations of these machines over the years.

Traditionally, cleaning of furs and drapes was performed through immersion in water-based solutions, which posed the risk of damaging the materials or altering their natural characteristics. To overcome these challenges, non-immersion cleaning machines were developed. This is a completely dry process, utilizing powder as a cleaning agent. This is a similar process found in nature where animals will roll in dust to clean their fur coats.

These machines are different than traditional dry cleaning equipment as “Dry Cleaning” actually uses liquids in the form of various solvents. Many fabrics, once immersed in fluids either water or dry cleaning solvent, will lose their original shape and hand feel. Non-Immersion machines typically use specialized cleaning agents and methods, such as gentle agitation and application of cleaning solutions to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the textiles without wetting them. The cleaning solution is then extracted from the textiles using forced air and agitation of the materials, cleaning them but also preserving the materials. Overall, non-immersion cleaning machines have revolutionized the cleaning of furs and drapes, providing a safe, effective and eco-friendly solution.

With the decreasing popularity of furs and growth in the use of synthetics, many of which can be immersed in liquids, the use of non-immersion cleaning has diminished. There remain some industries still using this technology, in particular to clean Stage Drapes and Hotel Blackout Curtains.

Non-immersion drapery cleaning has several advantages over traditional immersion cleaning methods: 1. Gentle Cleaning: Non-immersion cleaning uses no water and no harsh chemicals, making it a gentler cleaning method that is less likely to cause damage to delicate fabrics and textiles. 2. No Shrinkage: Because non-immersion cleaning does not use water, there is no shrinkage of the fabric. 3. Drying Time: With no liquids used in the cleaning process, drapes and curtains do not get wet, which eliminates the risk of mold or mildew growth. 4. Environmentally Friendly: Non-immersion cleaning methods use no water, do not require heat, produce minimal waste and use fewer chemicals, reducing the environmental impact of the cleaning process. Cleaning powder can be made from renewable natural ingredients such as corn cob grit. 5. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Non-immersion cleaning methods can help to remove allergens, dust, and other pollutants drapes and curtains, improving the indoor air quality. ([4], [5]) 6. Cost Effective: Non-immersion cleaning methods are often more cost-effective than traditional immersion cleaning methods, as they use no hot water and chemicals, reducing the cost of supplies and utilities. 7. Won’t remove flame retardant properties of textile if present ([6]) 8. Won’t crack the liner in Hotel Blackout Curtains.

The development of non-immersion cleaning machines for drapes has seen significant progress over the years, as evidenced by several patents that have been granted in this area.

Machine for Cleaning Fur Inventor: Samuel Friedman US Patent #2351198. June 13, 1944[7] Machine uses a non immersion method of cleaning drapes and furs with saw dust and a tumbler to clean. The invention uses a pressurized spray of cleaning solution and air to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the textiles. Brushes were used to prevent accumulation of sawdust. Had blades to agitate powder into furs and extraction using air. This patent marks the early stages of the development of non-immersion cleaning machines for drapes.

Burgo Fur Cleaning Machine Inventor: H.C.Burgo US Patent #3381507. May 7, 1968[8] Burgo et al Invented a machine for dry cleaning Furs and other textiles. Combined the previous use of both a tumbler and a cage into a single drum. The machine uses a rotating drum to agitate the textiles and apply cleaning agents, followed by a heating and drying process. Pioneered baffles with a movable partition to enable removing of the cleaning agent during the extraction cycle. This patent marks a significant step forward in the development of non-immersion cleaning machines for drapes, as it provides a more automated and efficient solution for cleaning these textiles.

Freze Drapery and Fur Cleaning Machine Inventor: Daniel Freze US. Patent #3504510. April 7, 1970[9] Uses term non-immersion and describes the process of the material coming in contact with a dampened and slightly abrasive cleaning agents. Machine uses a vacuum and heated air stream. Fabrics cleaned using a wetting process with liquids are subject to stress, in particular the high centrifugal force required to extract the liquids. Advantage of non-immersion cleaning is they can clean even weakened fabrics. Freze’s invention was the first to combine the cleaning and extraction into one machine, previously it required two. He also utilized a direction reversing rotating drum. Low rotation speed, 28 RPM, is used so the materials will fall to the bottom of the drum, carried to the top by risers in the drum. This patent represents a further improvement in the technology, as it provides a more effective and efficient means of removing dirt and debris from the textiles.

Lieb Drapery Cleaning Machine Inventor: Jospeh Lieb US Patent #: 3938357. Feb 17, 1979[10] Cleaning Machine Utilizing Non-Liquid Cleaning Agents

Described as a method to clean drapes, furs or other objects with the aid of powdered/granular cleaning agents and heat. There are two parts to they cycle, the first the materials are tumbled with the cleaning agent in an oscillating drum. During the second part of the cycle, air is used to draw out the cleaning agents combined with the dirt on soil embedded in the object. In his patent application, Lieb claims that prior versions including US Patent #3504510-Freze and US Patent #3381507-Burgo, did not provide an adequate method of removing cleaning agent without becoming clogged. His solution was baffles in the fins which trap the cleaning agent during the cleaning cycle and permit its removal during the extraction cycle. This patent marks a further advancement in the development of non-immersion cleaning machines for drapes, as it provides a more comprehensive solution for cleaning these textiles.

The cleaning cycle started by loading the textiles into the machine and adding two cups of cleaning powder which consists of ground up corn cobb or other grit, mixed with soaps to give it a wet sand feel. The drum rotates at a slow rotational speed to agitate the cleaning powder into the fabric fibres. The drum counter-rotates to prevent textiles from twisting and bundling up. During this cycle, the embedded dirt and soil sticks to the powder. After the agitation cycle a powerful blower motor is used to create a vacuum around the drum. This vacuum pressure pulls the powder and dirt out of the fabrics and into a filter.

Lieb manufactured these drapery cleaning machines in California in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Costing roughly $25,000, they were sold to furriers, cleaning companies and dry cleaners. Units were sold overseas also with known international locations including Scotland, Australia and Canada.

The development of non-immersion cleaning machines for drapes has seen significant progress over the years, as evidenced by these patents. These innovations have revolutionized the cleaning of drapes and other textiles, providing safe, effective, and efficient solutions for these valuable materials.

One area of recent focus has been the development of more environmentally-friendly and sustainable cleaning solutions. This has led to the introduction of new cleaning agents that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and do not release harmful chemicals into the environment.

Another area of focus has been the development of more advanced cleaning machines that can provide more thorough and efficient cleaning with reduced damage to delicate textiles.

In recent years, there has also been increased interest in the use of automated cleaning systems, which can provide consistent and efficient cleaning with reduced labor requirements. These systems often incorporate features such as computerized controls and monitoring systems to optimize cleaning processes and improve the quality of the final product.

Overall, there has been continued progress in the field of non-immersion cleaning, with a focus on developing new and improved cleaning technologies and methods that are safer, more effective, and more environmentally-friendly. Non-Immersion cleaning provides a safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of cleaning delicate textiles such as drapes, curtains, furs and other items.


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