Guidance Notes

These Guidance Notes also constitute our Terms & Conditions of Acceptance

We recommend you read all these notes. For queries, contact us at or phone 0161 485 3421

 PLEASE NOTE: We cannot dye anything made of, or containing a percentage of POLYESTER or WOOL, including HAIR fibres such as camel, goat, angora, cashmere and mohair.

WE ONLY DYE:  cotton, linen, silk, nylon (polyamide), modal, viscose, acetate, canvas, flax and lycocel.

Other fibres & trimmings we do not dye or are unsafe to dye are: acrylic, (dralon) and modacrylic, tencel, rame, polyurethane, polysonic, fashion weight tri-acetate, pashmina fibre blends, all types of leather, suede, sheepskin and fur. Decoration & trimmings at risk are: Cast, fashion zip pullers, buttons, buckles, sequins, stones set in clasps, metal fibres and metal trim, feathers, pearl-type lacquer coated beads, plastic and glass beads/droplets, stitched-in plastic/metal bust bones and foam bust cups.

Buttons and shoulder pads are best removed.

Polyester thread does not dye. We are unable to identify the fibre compositions of threads and materials without a test (see Test Dyeing below for more information).

Colour Range

For practical reasons our on-line colour chart can only illustrate a small range but we can usually make up a formula for almost any colour you might want. For example, you can have a chart colour or we can alter its shade, but if there’s nothing suitable you can send a sample (which need be no bigger than a large postage stamp) of the colour you want with your order. Also, our colour formula library includes a 1990’s pantone range, mostly 4 digit numbers ending in C or U which you can quote from if you have access to it (but we cannot accept colour codes from any other pantone range). We regret, we cannot offer dip-dyeing or offer florescent dyes. All dyes & chemicals we use are ecologically safe, and do not pollute the environment.

Test Dyeing

We offer a free dye test to ascertain if a material will absorb and hold a dye but it cannot determine any shrinkage potential. If the dye take up is successful it will only be an indicative shade of the colour requested and may not be an orders’ eventual formulated colour. Only one test is free. Extra tests per colour are £18.00. When submitting a sample*1 for testing (which should be at least the size of a large stamp but no larger than a credit card) it is essential you list a description of, or enclose a sample of the colour you want (unless black), your email address (clearly printed please), phone number, postal address and a stamped SAE for the sample’s return, otherwise we will advise by email of the result. (We can send a photo but have found they cannot be relied on to depict true shades).

*1 Curtain Sample: If wanting to retain the maximum length on your curtains (in case of shrinkage), cut a piece approx. postage stamp size from an inside facing just underneath the heading where it won’t show.

Because our test unit can only accommodate a sample up to a credit card size, anything larger is classed as an order, which we can quote for according to its size and dyeing requirements.

Note: We cannot produce a colour formula off a card or fabric sample that has a pattern, a pile or contains two or more shades.

What’s Worth Dyeing?

Except for silk wedding & evening dresses, curtains, suite cover sets, bedspreads and high value clothing, it is not usually cost effective (for a customer or ourselves) to dye everyday single items of clothing, (see price list) though we will gladly offer our opinion as to suitability and cost.

Such items with a weight of less than 4kg (8.8lbs) may be more economic to dye in a washing machine with a home dye. However, be aware most domestic washing machines are too small in capacity to safely accommodate sets of suite covers, curtains and other bulky items so streaks/patchiness can result. Splitting into smaller amounts invariably results in shade variations. We are frequently asked if we can remedy such situations but in most instances a successful result can be speculative for the cost involved.

Harry Berger’s Terms & Conditions of Acceptance.

Orders are only accepted on the understanding that because our dying formula preparation costs, machine occupancy and processing time expenses are the same, irrespective of a result we regret, we cannot refund any charges (except for any uncompleted part of the scheduled processing) or accept any financial liability for the order’s subsequent physical condition, an incorrect colour outcome, any degree of shrinkage, its original or replacement value or associated consequential loss. No order can be processed without pre-payment and your signature on an accompanying Order Form acknowledging and accepting these Terms & Conditions of Acceptance which are the dyeing trade’s standard contract terms. Notwithstanding any verbal advice and opinions which will be given in good faith, our printed terms are the sole conditions of acceptance.

When completing an order form, where it states Order Ref. No. list the last four digits of your phone number.

To comply with Consumer Legislation we are required to inform you of all the possible adverse effects and risks associated with this type of processing, no matter nearly all are most unlikely to occur. Because no manufacturer expects their garments or soft furnishings will be subsequently dyed, occasionally the design and build quality may only be sufficient for washing or dry cleaning so unless we have test dyed a sample identical by weight and volume to the order, at random an occasional adverse technical instance (listed below) could occur. However, as we take every possible care to assess orders pre-processing, we hope you will not be put off sending your items as overall, an adverse technical issue only occurs with 3% – 4% of all the different types of domestic articles we dye, and with most orders we are usually able to produce a colour very close to, if not a spot-on to the one requested.

The main technical risks are where unknowingly, different fibres and articles may contain a particular type of dye, dye-fixer or a manufacturer’s textured treatment/finish that can affect if, and how well the new dye will absorb and fix. Therefore, all colour formulas are ‘predictive’ in as, “all things being equal” the dye should take up as calculated. In some instances a new colour may look different in daylight and different artificial lighting. (As this a subjective issue we are always willing to consider a re-treatment). Other issues affecting colour/shade take-up may be an original, fixed or only part-discharging dye or a resistant-absorbing manufacture’s treatment (which could be a modified starch, silicone finish, fluorescence, fire- retardant, resin-type overall, or a printed pattern or a double-sided stain/water resistant treatment.

Most faded areas do not usually level with un-faded areas in any colour, no matter how dark though it may reduce the contrast a little and might produce a two-tone effect in the new colour. The exception, if the fade is not too severe is to dye to black as uniquely, it can often level or near level faded areas as we can usually get more depth of dye into the material.

Where additional colour adjustments or other processing is required, apart from taking more time, with some orders there can be a statistically small increased physical and/or shrinkage risk.

For the reasons above, some medium & dark colours may reproduce lighter in shade than requested and might not deepen any more even with further processing. Although unusual, for technical reasons a different colour or shade to the one chosen can appear, most usually on silks but can show in other materials.

Suite covers sets, curtain sections and even a single garment have occasionally been known to show shade variations in different panels where a manufacturer has used more than one roll of material or offcuts. This effect would not show up after dry cleaning or washing, but dyeing can expose the difference. Remedying such problems are not possible.

Patchy, uneven dyeing and random marking from piece to piece and even on one section of material will be due to a pre-existing condition such as fade, oxidised stains not showing pre-dyeing or an unevenly applied manufacturer’s treatment/finish* (such as a permanent fire retardant) where the dye may concentrate in places, often in particular areas and around seams and beaded edges. There is no way to overcome this effect.

* A manufacturer’s treatment (of whatever type) if applied unevenly will not be noticeable when items are washed or dry cleaned. This effect only becomes noticeable when the new dye picks up the unevenness.

It is important customers try to identify the fibre content of their items in the absence of a care label by checking with the retailer, supplier or maker, as unless we have tested a sample first we cannot be responsible for an unsatisfactory result or none-take up of dye where an incorrectly identified, an unknown fibre content or unlabelled order has been presented to us, (particularly as some soft furnishings may be bought as, or believed to be all cotton/linen but are unknowingly made of polyester, as may some woven coloured patterning). Satin, silk/satin, crepe, muslin and chiffon are only physical descriptions but do not state what the fibre content is. It is often used to describe polyester materials.

Bleaching & Colour Stripping.

Bleaching is applied to remove colour overall, not selectively. However, at random we have found some original dyes and finishes can be resistant to bleaching so for fabric safety reasons further treatment will not be possible. On some white, pastel and light coloured suite covers and curtains, even after bleaching, re-dyeing could reveal an amount of fade, colour loss from a washing detergent and residual marking, not apparent pre-bleaching though any imbalance might be muted, but the dyeing result cannot be predicted. Whether just over-dyeing to the same colour again or bleaching/colour stripping before changing the colour, faded areas will still show, though they could be more muted.

Colour Stripping is applied to reduce, (not fully remove) colour and may help remove some absorbency- resistant residual finishes. Occasionally an order may resist full colour reduction and only a constituent of the original colour reduces, or it may not reduce at all, but it is essential to attempt if a lighter new colour is wanted or the original colour/finish resists over-dyeing. Although it does not assist in all instances, orders that are stripped before dyeing statistically result in a better take up of a new colour though fade can still show. In the long run, stripping can sometime save time, extra cost and fabric stress by reducing the number of processes the order would otherwise need. It is not always possible to colour strip an order completely back to its original colour once dyed, though the new colour may reduce to a large degree.

For fabric safety reasons bleaching may not always remove every last trace of colour and is especially difficult to eliminate in corners/beading and will not work on polyester stitching. Adhesive and paint in particular, wine, beverages, fruit juice, ink, blood, rust, mould and mildew stains, etc., are unlikely to strip or bleach out.

Physical Effects & Shrinkage Factors.

Garments with front-panel interlinings and attached linings may experience a degree of differential contraction between materials. Some structured, lined garments, i.e. jackets & coats that are dry clean only are more at risk of contraction and may be relatively weaker in construction compared to washable items and darts, seams and linings may open and interlinings bubble/distort & shrink overall. Also, outer materials and linings might shrink and fray along seams if not over-locked/chain stitched. Wool Melton backing on collars will also shrink. At random, cast metal zip pullers might break.

Curtains & Suite Covers. Most curtains shrink. Width will not usually be noticeable if the curtain has been made correctly whereas the length can contract about 2% – 3% though occasionally and at random it can be a bit more. Statistically, only 1% – 2% of suite covers are at risk of severe shrinkage. A small amount of contraction with suite covers is normal but is not usually sufficient to prevent re-fitting. If a cover is tight, water- mist spraying all over can often help the fabric relax and stretch back. Shrinkage amount predictions are not possible as we cannot tell if any, or how much pre-shrinkage treatment a material may have received. Some none-overlocked/chain stitched inside seams and mitred corners/side/hem stitching may be at risk of fraying. Most curtains, suite covers and cushion covers, machine washable at a min. of 30C – 40C usually have a slightly better resistance to contraction than dry clean only items, though an evaluation and prediction is not possible. Apparently sound zip seams, particularly at the ends on cushion covers can split from accumulated usage stress pressure. Stiffening in tie backs will need removing. (Removal/replacement, seam repair & zip replacement service available).

Velcro edging on suite covers.

Velcro “hook” side of the strips attached to the edges of settee covers must be covered when the item is dyed (which we can do, see details under the price list) otherwise it can self-snag anywhere on the items, physically damaging the material, set heat creases if it twists up the material, and may prevent dye from absorbing evenly.

Curtain materials with a water-mark/moiré design will lose this effect. Where there is no fibre content label on curtains an inside seam may offer information. Some curtain colour printed patterns are resin-based which may prevent the dye absorbing completely or only take up in the background. (Only a test can determine). As most curtains are at risk of some shrinkage, where required, hems/linings should be let down and the seams overlocked/chain stitched to prevent fraying. (We can do this). Fragile, thinned and sun faded linings may split vertically or break up overall if unknowingly severely weakened. Items without a fabric content label and without over-locking/chain stitching on interior seams may, (only may) indicate the item is dry clean only and possibly, slightly more at risk of contraction.

Wadded, sewn-in curtain interlinings*, weights and/or thermal sewn-in insulating linings must be removed along with the normal lining so we then only dye the curtain material. Before sending, hooks should be removed but the heading strings do not need to be opened. Decorative pelmets and heading-trim may not take a true shade or if synthetic, dye at all. Braiding and tassels do not usually survive intact.

* We can quote for dismantling and re-making. Full details are available on request.

Double sided (same) materials can be at risk of seam glazing when pressed/ironed and long-term friction on fabrics, especially if containing nylon (polyamide) or if it has had a lot of localised wear can create a surface prone to bobbling and pilling, (attracting loose particles like a velcro effect). If an order does show any deterioration or shrinkage it will be entirely attributable to an inherent condition exposed or exacerbated by the processing.

General information (1)

Orders showing marks and staining on clothing and soft furnishings will have acquired them prior to dyeing. Apart from general soiling they can be from window or carpet cleaning product splashes which may cause localised colour change or loss. Curtain edges can be affected by regular hand-acid perspiration contact and others stains can be from blood, animal urine, sun, daylight & electric light fade, gas-fire fume fading, smoke & nicotine, paint, plaster, condensation, mould, mildew and food & drink splashes, etc. Not all marks will reduce or remove even in a pre-scour wash as they may have oxidised and fixed, over time. Fade, some stain residues and wear & tear can unknowingly degrade material sufficiently to cause breaks when processed or they can react with a new dye to create one or more indeterminate shades.

Where a lighter than original colour is wanted pre-dye bleaching or stripping is essential.  Calculate the charge and insert in line F on the order form. However, the success of this process and amount of colour reduction is sometimes restricted by the original type of dye used or an application of a special finish in the material. Some cream, ivory and bleached fabrics may also contain hardly any or no noticeable fade, but it will influence the balance, shade and depth of the new colour.

Silk Wedding, Evening and Day Dresses, etc.

If having a wedding dress made you intend to have dyed afterwards, allow for a small degree of shrinkage. Ideally the style should free of fixed pleats, rolled folds or tight gathers and any decorative trimming is detachable, (or is only made from the same/similar material as the dress). Preferably, the skirt lining should not be stitched to the hem. All selvedge/raw edge seams should be over-locked/chain stitched. Exposed seams should be stitched with pre-shrunk silk or cotton thread, not polyester. Multiple Layers of underskirts, nets, hoops and wired trim and boned-stiffening in tops, should be removed or be easily removable. Although there is a slight statistical risk of loss, (so have a few spares made) fabric covered buttons are usually safer if hand-made and not clamped, metal backed types. Metallic voile materials will excessively shrink. An exposed or featured outer net/voile material should only be in cotton, viscose or silk. Underskirts can be made of acetate or viscose but some may not take a dark shade. Polyester underskirts and zip backing will not dye. Items made of silk and nylon usually need only one process. Those having a cotton, viscose or acetate outer material content will need a separate process which will be an additional 40% of the dyeing charge. We cannot guarantee to remove all stains or severe soiling on a train or hem which may still show to a degree when dyed.

General Information  (2)

Some materials, particularly where unknowingly treated with a sensitive-to-heat manufacture’s finish may acquire fine creasing. Thin curtain materials more than 3 metres in length might twist-up during processing to leave areas of patchy dye and/or creasing. Apparently sound zips and zip pullers can fail from wear/stress, exacerbated by mechanical action during processing. (Replacement zip service available. See price list). Evenness of dye around piped edges may vary.

Shower Proofing.  We recommend raincoats/outdoor all-weather garments are re-proofed after being dyed. This imparts a firm handle to the material and will help resist rain penetration and some types of staining. (See price list).

Stain Guarding. Recommended for loose covers, in particular as it helps reduce the risk of staining from animals, children and accidental spillages. (See price list).

Fire Retarding. It is a legal requirement for soft furnishings where sited in public access areas in schools, residential homes, theatres, social clubs, hotels, pubs, restaurants, institutions and public buildings, etc. and should be considered for at-risk domestic locations. Non-durable fire retardants (as most are) are water soluble and in any event, deteriorate with time. Any remaining treatment will be lost during dyeing. We issue a fire retardant certificate, minimum 12 month guarantee conforming to BS 5867: part 2: type B protection indicatively tested according to BS 5438: (1989 Face Ignition Process).

All Orders. We recommend orders are first dry cleaned or washed which may help remove some manufacture’s treatments, finishes, residual soiling, old detergent residues and most fresh stains, which we can carry out if required. (See price list).

Delivery Times.

We aim for a 10-14 day turn round, though for technical and scheduling reasons some orders may take longer so cannot warrant times of delivery although every effort will be made to ensure orders are returned to time. If wanted within 7 working days (and subject to suitability, contact us before sending), add 30% to the dyeing charge. (Minimum express charge £35.00). Please mark your package URGENT. On receipt, if there’s a processing query we will contact you immediately, so please ensure you provide us with a clearly printed email address and phone number.

Prices & Payment.

Prices are guaranteed for 12 weeks from a quotation date.  Some prices may then change without notice. To assess the cost of a settee cover, we use a simple “bums-on-seat” calculation. i.e. How many people can fit on it at the same time, (irrespective of the cushion cover numbers and configuration). For 5 & 6 place corner units, add 20% per place on top of the 4 seater price list charge.

Orders are only accepted pre-payment with cash, cheque, BACS or credit/debit card*. Where an additional charge or unscheduled extra processing is required, customers will be advised before proceeding further.

BACS details are: Harry Berger Ltd – S/C: 01 01 81 – Acc No: 20120869

* You can phone with your card details (if preferred not to list them on the order form) on 0161 485 3421

Personal Callers Welcome.

To save time on reception, callers are requested to have read through our Guidance Notes/Terms & Conditions of Acceptance and completed their personal details on a printed-off order form.

We are approx. 12 miles south of Manchester, 3 from Stockport and 4 from Manchester Airport, close to the M56 and M60 with free parking outside our premises. Opening times: 8.30am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Saturdays, 8.30am-5.00pm.Closed Sunday. If calling in, please phone to arrange an appointment with our dyer, Malcolm on 0161 485 3421.

Transit Insurance.

All posted/couriered returned orders include an element of transit insurance. In the unlikely event of damage or loss, the maximum compensation payable is £150.00 for orders up to 5.9kg and £300.00 from10kg up to 22.70kg, and not the customer’s valuation of their order, though return extra transit insurance can be arranged once the order’s value is declared. Where required, we recommend high value orders are insured both ways through a customer’s own household contents insurer (where often, if they are notified, as a one-off, no extra premium may be charged).

Post & Packing Advice.

Ideally, pack your order into a strong cardboard carton or at least two strong plastic bags ensuring a completed Order Form (printed off from our website) is enclosed with payment (unless phoning with card details). Secure well with adhesive tape. Contact a national courier service who will collect from you and we will return the same way, or send by Royal Mail/Parcel Force from a Post Office, but check the transit insurance cover as it will vary according to the service level and carrier. If you prefer, we can arrange our courier to collect from your home or place of work. We will need your name, full address, email and phone no. and to know the day(s) the order can be collected. It’s not possible to give a collection time but it’s usually between 8.30 – 16.00 hours.

Return 2nd class post/courier* & packing charges UK Mainland only. (Excludes Scottish Highlands)

 Up to 4 lbs (l.8kg)                     £7.95                   4.1 lbs  – 8 lbs (3.6kg)              £11.80

8.1 – 12 lbs (5.9kg)                  £14.50                12.1 lbs – 20 lbs (9.09kg)           £18.90

20.1 lbs – 45 lbs (20.4kg)        £22.70                45.1 lbs – 55 lbs (22.70kg)          £28.95

If you want your order returned Special Delivery a post office return charge should be ascertained if it weighs more than 3kg (6.6lb). Advise us of the charge.

* Courier deliveries are usually within 24/48 hours depending on location.

Rates for Scottish Highlands, N. Ireland, Offshore Islands, Eire, European destinations, USA & most other countries throughout the world can be quoted once we know the weight, carton dimensions and declared value of the order (for insurance purposes.)

Uncollected Orders.  Personally deposited orders for collection will be kept 3 months from the date of the receipt unless notified by email or recorded delivery to retain. (Maximum further retention time, 1 month plus a weekly storage charge of £2.50), after which the order will be disposed of, (to a charity if suitable) with no liability whatsoever on Harry Berger Ltd for any compensation.

After Care.  Although our dyes are fade resistant and fast to careful washing and dry cleaning all dyes deteriorate when exposed to strong light and/or high temperature washing and strong detergents. Where possible, dry cleaning is recommended otherwise wash the items on their own at 30C, adding Dylon ‘Colour Seal’ as instructed with a non-bio colour-safe detergent. Rinse twice. (Repeat this washing procedure on next occasion). Then, to clean the washing machine run a short programme with detergent at 40C, drain, and repeat the programme adding half-a-cup of toilet bleach. Rinse the machine twice with cold water before using for normal washing. Wipe carefully round the door seal and inside door/frame with a damp cloth and ensure the machine’s drain is not blocked.