What is dry cleaning?

Vishal Bhojane
Mar 25, 2019

The tags of your sweaters, suits, and shirts may states that they required only "dry cleaning only". What exactly dry-cleaning means? How clothes can be cleaned without water? Why we do Dry cleaning? Our mind started brainstorming about assumptions when we heard the term "dry cleaning". So, let me explain these curious questions and solve this mystery for you.

To make it straight, dry cleaning is the process of cleaning clothes without the use of water. Practically we don't use water in this process of cleaning clothes, we call it Dry cleaning. Despite its name, Dry cleaning is not a "dry" process, Clothes are soaked into liquid solvent. (First mystery revealed) The solvent me be Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), in industry they calls it "perc" and its is widely used solvent. It is colorless liquid. Yes, there are alternative solvent present like trichloroethane and petroleum spirits.

Why we do dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is necessary to protect fabrics that would damage by water, detergent and heat treatment and also to remove stains like grease and oil that could not be removed by traditional wet cleaning process.

Heat and water could damage delicate fabrics by altering their molecular structure during the cleaning process. Water treatment can swell and stretch fibers, which can cause to lose its original shape. On addition to it, to remove stains requires water based detergent and high degree of heat to dissolve stains effectively increasing the chances of damaging clothes. On the other hand, Dry cleaning is the appropriate cleaning method for delicate and stained clothes that needs to be handled well.

Environmental concern

Dry cleaning could be controversial cause of its toxicity of the chemicals it uses to both humans and environment. For example, Tetrachloroethylene is a common soil and water contaminant that is extremely hazardous and difficult to clean up. But the modern-day dry-cleaning machines extracts and recapture 99.99% of the solvent used in the dry cleaning process.

Is environment friendly (Eco-friendly) alternatives available?

There are two trusted eco-friendly solvent available

  •     Liquid carbon dioxide cleaning (CO2)
  •     Silicon based solvent

Green dry cleaning is essentially a pure liquid silicon, considered non-toxic and non-hazardous. This liquid silicon or D5, is safe for the environment and for human health.

If you are environmentalist and looking for the most environment friendly cleaning process, Londri App will find Green laundry near you and pickup - deliver your clothes on time too.