Garment Spotting, Process of Spotting and Spotting Equipment

No customer would like to wear a garment with undesired spots on it. Knowing this well, garment manufacturers make sure that their finished garments should not have any spots, stains or processing marks. We also know that the quality of the garment cannot always be perfect at the first time. Even if the sewing and finishing are done perfectly, some of the garments are always get rejected in the initial checking after the stitching process. The number of defective garments is more for unwashed garments. The main reason for these are stains, spots, and marks that are picked up by the garment during the processing. To remove these stains, the garments are then sent to the spotting room and treated to remove spots. 

garment spotting

All of the incoming orders for a manufacturer are of two types, washed or unwashed. For washed garment after assembly, it goes through a washing process and then to inspection. On the other hand, unwashed garments are sent directly for checking and inspection. As a result of this unwashed garments are the most to go into the spotting room.

Sources of Dirts, Spots, and Stains

During this process, the garments get in contact with surroundings and as a result picks up dirt in the form of grease, oil, dirt, pencil marks, etc. which need to be removed for it to be passed in the inspection. The following are some of the places where a garment can pick up these stains

  1. Sewing machine: stains from oil spots, colours from previously sewn garments
  2. Washing: mostly watermarks
  3. Material handling: This being the key reason as the garments become more prone to rust, grease, dust, other contaminations
  4. Worker Contamination: These include dirt, sweat, food oil, etc.
  5. Cutting Dept: stains like oil spots, markings
These kinds of defects not being acceptable are being sent to the spotting room for removal of these stains. The person responsible for cleaning the spots is called the Spotter. Their job is to remove these stains as much as possible and send them back into the finishing department. 

Solutions and Chemicals used in spotting process

Following are an example of chemicals/solutions which are mostly used for the removal of the stains. The process includes brushing the stains with the chemicals or uses a spray gun with solvent chemicals.

1. Pyratex LV: It is formulated to take on heavy-duty stains like paint, oil, grease stains, lipstick, cosmetics, etc.

2. Stree PRO: Its formula safely and efficiently removes protein stains. Stains in this group often require alkaline action for complete removal. However, certain sensitive dyes may be damaged by products with unknown alkalinity. StreePRO is specially formulated to remove frequently encountered stains like food, milk, blood, perspiration, baby formula, and urine. It is safe for most fabric and colours.

3. Stree TAN: StreeTAN’s acidified formula safely and efficiently removes beverage and tannin stains. Stains in this group seldom respond to a neutral spotter and often require acidic action for complete removal. However, certain sensitive dyes may be damaged by products with unknown acidity. It can be used safely for coffee, beer, grass, liquor, mustard, soft drinks, tea, wine, and other tanning stains.

4. Adco Rust and Stain Remover: It is a dry-side spotter similar in action to acetone. It dissolves and aids in the removal of lacquers, nail polish, shellac, adhesives, varnish, grass stains, plastic, cement, gum, ink, melted buttons, cosmetics, other dry-side stains and it is safe on most fabrics.

5. Johnsons Baby Soap: It is used for most of the water-based stains like watermarks, minor contaminations, etc. With the help of a brush, the spot is washed off.

These are just a few examples of a range of cleaners used in the spotting department. There are numerous companies with various products in the market so a proper study of the requirements before purchasing one.

Spotting Gun

As the name suggests it is used for clearing off the spots in the garments and it does so by shooting a high-pressure jet of the solvent through the offending spots. Due to this, the solvent is forced into the spot, break it down by the sheer pressure of fluid stream until it is blown out the back of the fabric often through a backdrop or vacuum-based station. The function of the vacuum is to dry away from the vapor and help dry the fabric. It is most preferable to use for porous material as in woven or knitted fabric and cannot be used for vinyl, plastic, leather, animal skin, etc. Some of the major Spotting Gun manufacturers are Red Arrow and Snuter.

Some of the guidelines for using Spotting Gun are:

  • Adjust the nozzle according to the fabric. High pressure should not be used for sheer or lightweight fabric as it may tear the fabric.
  • Use of cleaning fluid that is only specific to the type of dirt or soil.
  • No water-based solutions are to be used as it can cause rusting in the nozzle which can lead to a replacement
  • 4. On the creation of a halo around the spot-on cleaning, adjust the pressure of the nozzle to increase the spraying area and spray around the halo. The halo is easily removed from this and if not, a simple rubbing can do it.

Cautions inside the Spotting room

With chemicals an essential inside a Spotting room, a few precautions must be taken around
  • Use of face mask, impervious gloves, and splash goggles is a must while using spot gun.
  • While using spot gun it should be taken care that the jet should not get in contact with skin as it can tear through causing injury.
  • With the use of chemicals, the spotting room should have enough ventilation.

Soumyadeep Saha

Soumyadeep Saha holds a Master's Degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT, New Delhi. He is also a graduate in apparel production. His area of interest includes Quality Assurance and technology implementations in Apparel Production.

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