In this article we tell you some dry cleaning facts that you should know. What is dry cleaning anyway? All we know is, you go into your local dry cleaning store, drop off your clothes, get your ticket, then leave. A few days later, you return, pick up your clothes, pay, and drive away again. But how does dry cleaning actually work?
Dry Cleaning Defined
Dry cleaning is a process of cleaning clothing and textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. It is used to clean fabrics that degrade in water, as well as delicate fabrics that cannot withstand the tumble of a washing machine dryer. However, contrary to what the name implies, dry cleaning is not actually a dry process. This is because clothes are still soaked in liquid but different solvents are used.
How it Started
Modern dry cleaning use of non-water-based solvents to remove soil and stains from clothes was reported in 1855. However, dry cleaning seems to have dated back to ancient times, probably beginning with the advent of textile clothing itself. There are also many stories about the origin of dry cleaning, most popular is the incidental discovery when a petroleum-type fluid was accidentally spilled on a greasy fabric. It quickly evaporated and the stains were removed in an instant.
In the early days, garment scourers and dryers found several fluids that could be used as drycleaning solvents. These include camphene, benzene, kerosene, and gasoline. In the 1930s, percholoroethylene or PERC was introduced and is used today in many drycleaning plants. PERC is the most widely used solvent, although new solvents have become more popular in the United States and Europe. These new solvents include hydrocarbons, Green Earth, and Solvon K4, to name a few.
Not the Answer to All Stains
Among the dry cleaning facts you should know, “dry cleaning will not remove all stains” is the most important one. Sometimes, stains become permanently embedded in the fiber. In some cases, fabrics will not be able to withstand normal cleaning and stain removal procedures. It is important that you read all care labels and follow the instructions first.