When go into your local dry cleaning store you drop
off your clothes and a few days later, you return to pick up your
clothes. But, do you ever wonder what happened to your clothes
while they were at the dry cleaning shop? Do you know what dry cleaning
is and how it works?
In spite of the name, dry cleaning is not completely dry. Fluids are
used in the dry cleaning process. In the 1930s, perchlorethylene or
*perc*(a nonflammable, synthetic, chlorinated based solvent) was
introduced and is used today in many dry cleaning plants. Other cleaning
solvents such as Green Earth (silicone based solvent), Hydrocarbon
(petroleum based solvent), Rynex (Glycol Ethers), and Liquid Carbon
Dioxide have been added, and still others are currently being tested.
The dry cleaning process begins with the pre
treatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. The
garments are then loaded in to a machine resembling an oversized
front-loading washer. It produces similar mechanical action to
loosen embedded dirt and throughout the cleaning process, the solvent is
filtered to ensure its purity. The garments are then dried in the
same machine and should have no solvent odor after cleaning.
After they come out of the machine your garments are hand finished on
specialized presses to ensure that your clothes are returned in a “like
NOTE: Dry cleaning is not the answer
to all soil and stain removal problems. Sometimes, stains become
permanently embedded in the fiber, or fabrics cannot withstand normal
cleaning and stain removal procedures, or decorative trim is not
compatible with dry cleaning solvent. It is important that consumers as
well as drycleaners read all care labels and follow the instructions.
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