Button Dye Stains

Manufacturers often add trim materials to garments to enhance their appearance. Such items may include buttons, beads, appliques, or leather patches. Decorative buttons are one of the more popular trims.

Buttons may be plastic or shell buttons, or may be dark, colored, fabric-covered buttons. Care must be taken when cleaning garments that contain dark, colored, fabric-covered buttons. Before drycleaning, colorfastness testing should be performed to determine if the button trim bleeds. To be on the safe side, it may be beneficial to remove the buttons prior to cleaning even if testing shows that the button dye does not bleed.

When stain removal procedures are necessary in areas around the buttons, the buttons should be tested with water, detergent, and wetside agents. If the dyes bleed, the buttons should be removed and re-attached after the garment is completely dry.

If dye bleeding and staining occurs, remove the buttons and follow standard dry-side and/or wetside stain removal procedures to determine if the staining can be removed. On lighter-colored fabrics, testing should also be performed with bleaching agents.

Suggested Reading
DLI's Encyclopedia of Drycleaning Online features thousands of garments about all things drycleaning and is included as part of Standard, Gold, Premier or International memberships. Here are some bulletins to help further your understanding of this issue:

  • Technical Analysis Bulletin Service (TABS) No. 434: Button Dye Stains
  • Fabrics & Fashions (FF) No. 443: Problems with Buttons