Dry Clean Only? Go Green Insteead!

Dry Clean Only? Go Green Insead!
Photo Attribution: 
www.inorp.com

We hear the commercials on the radio and we see the signs in every neighborhood: 1 Hour Dry Cleaning!  Dry Clean Here!  Dry Clean, Dry Clean, Dry Clean!

The dry cleaning industry seems to have cornered the market for laundering our expensive and most cherished garments. As we do not dare to ignore that dry clean symbol on the tag, we take our beloved items in to be cleaned without thinking twice.  After all, we need to clean our clothes, don't we?  And if the garment happens to bear the ominous all-capitals DRY CLEAN ONLY message on the tag, we heed its warning or we pay the price of misshapen and damaged clothes.

Another option has started to sprout up here and there, and it is called Wet Cleaning.  This sounds, well, kind of like regular old machine washing, doesn't it?  And what's wrong with dry cleaning, anyway?

According to a new study released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), perchloroethylene is a possible suspect of causing kidney, liver and nervous system problems. Some researchers say the chemical may even be cancer causing as more studies uncover a link between the use of perchloroethylene and non-Hodgkin disease, bladder cancer and multiple myeloma.

The first form of dry cleaning was invented by the ancient Romans. They used ammonia derived from urine and fullers earth to wash their woolen togas.  In the mid 19th century, Jean Baptiste Jolly accidentally spilled kerosene and gasoline on his table cloth.  He then noticed his table cloth was cleaner. Born was dry cleaning known as “nettoyage a sec”.  After the first world war, dry cleaners started to use chlorine solvents. Using these solvents was determined to be much less flammable than the petroleum solvents and had better cleaning power.  In the 1930s, the dry cleaning industry found a chemical that cleaned even better -  it was called tetrachloroethylene or “perc” for short.  In 1993, the EPA and the California Air Resources Board joined forces to reduce perc emissions from dry cleaning operations.  In 2006, the EPA updated its regulation and began set higher standards for the companies that create and sell the 500 million pounds of chemicals produced in North America each year.  Because of new regulations and better public awareness, more and more businesses and consumers are looking toward eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives.

Green Cleansing  conditioners and biodegradable soaps, the 'wet cleaners' promise to restore your dry-clean-only garments to a crisp, clean state comparable to having been freshly dry-cleaned.  With knowledge and experience of the different types of fabrics the wet cleaner specialist will ensure your garment is well cared for.

Wet cleaning was developed by Kreussler and Miele1, and they brought this process to the commercial textile cleaning in 1991.

References: 
1. http://www.thewetcleaner.com/victoria.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_cleaning

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Publisher: Lucent Books
List price: CDN$ 54.40