Let’s be honest, we’ve all thought it. ‘What actually is dry cleaning?” And, why is it necessary?’ Before you look it up, your clothing has already arrived on your doorstep (yes, some dry cleaning businesses do deliver…), or it simply slipped your mind after pick-up. Either way, we are here to give you the 4-1-1 on what it is, and why it’s the best care for your wardrobe.
The Oxford Dictionary defines dry cleaning as “the process of cleaning a garment with an organic solvent, without using water.” Perhaps there is no water, however, organic solvents are used, making the term ‘dry’ a bit of a misnomer. Dry cleaning goes as far back as the Roman Times, when they used solvents instead of water to clean and prevent woolen togas from shrinking. Luckily, we’ve come a long way from using gasoline and petroleum based solvents. Let us walk you through a day in the life of your clothing as it is dry cleaned in the modern world…
Most people are most familiar with the inspection and tagging. This is where you show the cleaners any problem spots, including stains, tears, rips, missing buttons, etc., and they tag the areas to ensure they treat each one properly. It is important to let the cleaner know what stained your garment, so they are aware of the next best step in the removal process.
The dry cleaner will pre-spot treat the areas tagged with a sticker. Pre-spotting means they will apply the solvent to the stain, and then vacuum and or heat the area. This helps to remove the problem spot during the actual dry cleaning process.
Once your soiled garment(s) have been pre-spot treated, they are then submerged in a large drum machine with non-water based solvent. They are then rotated in a perforated cylinder, where the cleaning solvent is steadily released through the entire process. After the solvent has been applied, the machine rapidly spins your clothing to get rid of any excess solvent, and simultaneously releases warm air to dry them.
An extra and valuable step. The cleaner will re-inspect your garments for any remaining problem spots, and remove them the same way they did at the pre-spotting stage, if deemed necessary.
Once your clothing looks good to go, they are steamed, pressed and or ironed for presentation. This is the final touch that gives dry-cleaned clothes their unique finish, one you look forward to, and often can’t replicate at home.
Although dry cleaning may seem like a mysterious process, between your clothing disappearing behind the counter and arriving on your doorstep, knowing the steps make it understandable, transparent, and interesting.
One simple answer may be, ‘because it says [dry clean only] on the tag.’ While that is true, dry cleaning is also great for fibers like silk and wool that don’t react well to water exposure. As well as being great for garments that are not designed for use in traditional dryers, it also eliminates any need for time-consuming and arduous hand-washing. And due to the fact that little to no water is used in dry cleaning solvent, your garments are best preserved by it preventing shrinking, change of texture, or color loss.
The organic solvent used in dry cleaning ensures there is no fiber-wearing agitation, unlike the washing machine, and will allow your clothing to last longer. The color of your garments will also last longer, which will not only save you money in the long-run, avoiding purchasing new clothing, but is a great eco-conscious option.
Sometimes stain removing home remedies work, and other times they further damage the garment. When you have your items professionally dry cleaned, they have the expertise and tools to best remove tough odors and stains. No need to throw away a good garment away because of a stubborn stain. See if dry cleaner can get it out first!
Washing, folding, ironing, storing. That repetitive cycle is needed to properly take care of your clothing at home. However, when you use a professional dry cleaning or laundry service, they can perform those same tasks at a reasonable price with strict attention to detail, giving your garment back cleaned and ready to hang in your closet.
Taking your clothing to a green dry cleaner ensures that your delicates are delicately cared for with less abrasive products.
Big loads, rugs, sofa covers, curtains, comforters etc. are all large items that may not fit into a conventional washing machine or dryer. Instead of trying to play Tetris with your washing machine, let a professional dry cleaning service take that bulk off of your shoulders.
Time is valuable. Wouldn’t you rather be spending time with your family, friends, and/or doing the things you love, opposed to a ba
Author: Christina P. Kantzavelos