Laundry processes have come a long way from washing clothes in the river. In our previous blog, we gave you the history of laundry, and today, we will give you the history of dry cleaning process. We will also discuss the difference between dry and wet cleaning.
Brief History of Dry Cleaning
What is it? According to Wikipedia, it is a process of cleaning any clothing using chemical solvents other than water. Many people still believe that Dry Cleaning is “dry” process, while in reality it is not. Your clothes are soaked in a solvent called Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) or “Perc” which is the most commonly used solvent by dry cleaners.
Back in the 19th century, a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Jolly, noticed that his greasy table cloth became cleaner after kerosene was accidentally spilled over it. In 1840, the firm Jolly-Bellin introduced the service called “dry clean” to describe the waterless process, and was credited as the very first dry cleaner firm.
Chemical Used for Dry Cleaning Process
The solvents used in dry cleaning in the early days were dangerous and flammable, like benzene, camphene, kerosene, and gasoline. Until Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene) or commonly called as Perc was introduced in 1930, it became the most popular solvent because it is not flammable and it offers a good cleansing power, even on delicate garments. However, perc is a toxic chemical and likely carcinogen. Bringing dry cleaned garments into your home can expose you to such chemical.
Perc enters the body when inhaled, and once in the body, it can remain stored in fat tissue. Short term exposure to Perc causes neurological, kidney and liver damage, while long term exposure can cause spontaneous miscarriage and leukemia. You can check the site of United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA for more details. Would you still want to bring your garments and get them dry cleaned? I’m surely not bringing mine. Perc is not only dangerous to us and our young ones, but also dangerous to our environment and animals.
What is wet cleaning?
Now that we gave you a brief history of dry cleaning process and solvents used for it, let’s proceed to wet cleaning. It is the non-toxic and chemical free process used to clean your garments. First step requires submerging your clothes into a water based solution, using an environment friendly detergent and other biodegradable substances. Next, your garments are dried accordingly to ensure they are not over dried and to maintain their shape. Last but not the least, your garments are moved to the finishing area where they will be pressed and steamed to relax the fabric. Ta-da! Your garments are ready to wear, clean and safe.
You may be wondering; can some clothes with “dry clean only” care label be wet cleaned? Well, it depends on your cleaner. You need to make sure that your cleaner has more resources and is knowledgeable about the types of fabrics your clothes are made of, and the types of stain your clothes have. Most garments that have a “dry clean” only tag can be wet cleaned. Many people believe that if their clothes care label says “dry clean only” that it is only best cleaned by dry cleaning. Well, my advice is: Think Again.
Wet cleaning is gentle, makes your clothes softer and does not have any harmful effect dry cleaning may have. Have you ever smelled your garments after you brought it home from dry cleaners? You shouldn’t; that’s a nasty Perc residue that you don’t want to “live” in you.
Dry cleaning process uses chemicals, which are harmful for the environment, for you and your loved ones. Wet cleaning uses solutions which are safe and environment friendly, gives you softer and fresher clothes. What do you think is the best way?
We come down to a conclusion that wet cleaning seems a better choice. We’re just hoping that other dry cleaners will find a better way and stay away from Perc. We at Soak N Relax, do not offer dry cleaning. We care for our staff, we care for the environment, and we care for the safety of our clients. That is why we offer Premium Services using water based, environment friendly solutions and wet cleaning process. Now, it’s your turn to decide what kind of cleaning process you want to use for your garments.