Using a home washer/dryer is convenient (when you can do it without damaging delicate clothing), but it sure uses a lot of water and energy. This isn’t the most environmentally friendly process, especially in times of draught. Even washing clothes by hand doesn’t change this fact – and it’s certainly no good for materials like silk, which don’t play well with water at all.
Does dry cleaning have the same issues? In a word, no. Let’s take a look at what the dry cleaning process actually looks like – and how we can get those garments freshened up without the use of water.
How Dry Cleaning Works
The term “dry cleaning” may suggest a completely moisture-free process, but this isn’t quite the case. In fact, dry cleaning uses a different fluid in place of water and detergent: a specialized petroleum solvent called perchloroethylene (or “perc” for short). Perc is tough on grease and oil, dissolving them cleanly away, but gentle on even highly delicate materials like lace and silk.
The dry cleaning process starts when you bring in your clothes, linens, or whatever else needs cleaning. After handing these over to your dry cleaning professional, they’ll be tagged with your identifying information and placed with other items in a large machine to be cleaned. Perc dissolves the offending oils and grease, and is then retained for safe disposal by special extractors. Your clothing is removed, pressed, and hung up to await your return.