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Issues and Solutions For Spots, Stains and Processing Marks on Imported Merchandise

Issues and Solutions For Spots, Stains and Processing Marks on Imported Merchandise

Product display and presentation are critical components of every successful retailer’s merchandising strategy.  When a consumer is physically examining a product for the first time in a retail store or, upon receipt of goods at their home via an online purchase, the product must always look its best.  

Unfortunately, in the process of manufacturing and delivering high volumes of new merchandise to ports or distribution centers (and prior to reaching consumer channels) it is not uncommon for a retailer’s products to become soiled at some point in the process.  If soiled products reach retail stores and consumers with spots, stains, processing marks, or other similar blemishes, a retailer’s quality reputation can be impacted.  

Occasional imperfections on imported merchandise can arise at any point in the manufacturing, shipping, and handling process.  Production ink markings, dirt, grease, and mold are among the most common types of blemishes found on imported merchandise.  Blemishes can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors as well.  

To protect their bottom line, retailers work diligently in monitoring the quality of their imported merchandise by proactively performing inbound inspection audits when goods have arrived from overseas.  Through random sampling inspections, inspectors may review a wide variety of potential issues ranging from sizing, color, condition, labeling, workmanship, odor, spots, and much more.  In the case of “spots” on merchandise, inspectors will often be faced with determining what type of spots are present and can they be removed?


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Mold – Organic growth, or “mold”, is a common producer of spots on merchandise.  It will often show up with white or greyish in hue; however, it can manifest in a variety of colors.

Ink Markings/Ink Spots – Ink used in temperature sensitive marking pens during production is supposed to render itself invisible or disappear upon steaming or heat application.  However, there are many cases when ink spots will return to their original state if the product finds its way to cooler climates.  See more about the reappearance of invisible ink at our blog on this topic.

Crocking/Color Bleeding – Friction and abrasion in shipment can result in transfer of dyes (colors) onto other materials.  Color bleeding can often arise in the shipment of goods, especially when they are subjected to humidity and temperature fluctuations, moisture, exposure to light and friction.

Grease/Oils – The handling and contamination of product by various workers in the supply chain can result in a transfer of various soils onto products.  Equipment in a factory can also be a culprit in the unfortunate transfer of greases and oils onto merchandise.

Blooming issues – Typically showing up on leather or rubber products, blooming is usually observed as a white hazy deposit or coating that may occur on merchandise.  It can often arise as fats or waxes come to the surface, usually reacting to changes in temperatures or humidity.  Sometimes it is mistaken as mold.

Miscellaneous issues – Excess glues, waxes, oils, threads, dirt as well as abrasion marks, can impact product appearance and are often corrected through spot cleaning, thread trimming or other means of product rework.

Yellowing – Materials such as soft plastics and rubbers may be subject to developing a yellow cast on a finished product typically due to oxidation. For example, footwear that has been stored over long periods of time in warmer climates or long term in a warehouse improperly can be at risk of yellowing.



Spots, stains, and processing marks on merchandise are some of the most obvious issues that the naked eye of the average consumer will observe and take into consideration when making a purchase or return.  As a result, these issues are some of the most critical for companies to mitigate in order to protect their bottom line.  




For more than 35 years, Quality Corrections & Inspections has worked closely with high-volume importers, retailers, and distributors with merchandise that is less than perfect due to soiled products that are not fully ready-for-sale. 

The team at Quality Corrections & Inspections has experience working with numerous processes, methods, materials, and production equipment in the past three decades to restore soiled merchandise correctly.  Once soils or spots have been removed, product is repackaged and results in a factory fresh product that meets the expectations of retailers and brands.

No matter where your product is located, Quality Corrections & Inspections can quickly turn around and restore high-volume inventories at both our east and west coast facilities. 

Get in touch with our experts today or Request a Free Project Analysis!