Laundering and dry cleaning are both processes designed to cleanse and desoil clothes and other articles. The more traditional cleaning practice, laundering is a water-based cleaning process that most often utilizes an in-home washer and dryer combination and common soap or detergent. Dry cleaning, much like its name suggests, uses no water but is a comprehensive process that cleans the clothing just as effectively, if not, more effectively than the laundering method. While both processes have their purposes, in general, dry cleaning is better for clothes, especially delicate items, than conventional washing in a machine.
The Dry Cleaning Process
A cleaning process that literally dates back to ancient times, dry cleaning is a well-established practice that utilizes specially selected cleaning agents and a unique method to cleanse any number of articles of clothing without damage. While water is not the main cleansing agent in dry cleaning, the process does involve the use of liquids for stain and soil removal. Much like laundry, dry cleaning does use a specific machine in which the garments to be cleaned are put. After being put in the machine, the machine is started and gently rotates the clothes in the basket while a steady stream of clean solvent is pumped into the system. Simultaneously, the dirty solvent is pumped out of the drum to maintain the constant cleansing of the clothing. Following the solvent cycle, the next cycle begins by rapidly circulating the clothes and removing all of the solvent. Finally, the clothes are dried as warm air is pumped into the machine and continues to circulate as the basket of clothes spins.
Advantages of Dry Cleaning
As this process does not require the immersion of the clothes into water and features a gentler process, dry cleaning has several distinct advantages for cleaning clothes when compared to a washing machine.
1. Soft Process—Comparatively, dry cleaning is considered a soft washing process, particularly when equated to the conventional method of laundering. The rotation of the drum in dry cleaning is much milder than the abrasive agitator in a washing machine, and the limited amount of water and solvent used helps protect the garments being cleansed.
2. Clothing Preservation—In addition to its soft washing process, dry cleaning is also better for maintaining the new appearance of clothing. Dry cleaning rarely causes shrinking of delicate fabrics and maintains the color and texture of fabric better than the conventional method of washing.
3. Deep Cleaning—Another one of the advantages associated with dry cleaning is the process’s ability to “deep clean” tough soils and stains. Dry cleaning has a distinctive ability to dissolve oil and grease in garments that is difficult to do with traditional washing. This cleaning process is known to restore garments to a “like-new” state with one processing.
4. Finished Appearance—When removed from a washer and dryer, clothes often come out looking rumpled and wrinkled – in need of further ironing and treatment. However, with dry cleaning, clothes are crisp, fresh, and clean when finished.
While traditional laundering and dry cleaning are both cleaning processes that have their place, dry cleaning offers for more advantages in terms of cleanliness and clothing maintenance than the traditional washing machine. Dry cleaning gets clothes cleaner, keeps them looking new longer, and gives them a “like new” appearance with each treatment. When it comes to the controversy of washing machine versus dry cleaning, the verdict is clear – dry cleaning is superior.