Many people own items of clothing or delicate linens that can’t be laundered in a regular washing machine. These items typically have tags that state “dry clean only.” Unfortunately, traditional dry cleaning methods are not good for the environment.
Traditional dry cleaning involves using a chlorinated solvent called perchloroethylene, often called perc for short. Perc is a threat to both humans and the environment. Minimal exposure to perc can result in a number of symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and respiratory issues. The traditional dry cleaning process can also introduce perc into the water, soil, and air.
The good news is that there are eco-friendly organic dry cleaning methods available. The bad news is that at this time, more than 80% of dry cleaners are using the traditional and hazardous methods of dry cleaning clothing. Luckily, many companies that offer eco-friendly organic dry cleaning have the option for mail order cleaning, so you can have your clothes laundered in an eco-friendly way even if you don’t have an eco-friendly dry cleaner in your area.
Eco-friendly organic dry cleaning cleans clothes just as well as the traditional dry cleaning method that uses toxic chemicals. Continue reading to learn more about the eco-friendly organic dry cleaning process.
There are currently two dry cleaning options that are considered eco-friendly. They are wet cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide cleaning. While these two methods are quite different from each other, neither process uses any toxic chemicals.
Wet Cleaning: The term wet cleaning may sound odd when thinking about dry cleaning, but the wet cleaning process is not the same as regular laundering. Dry cleaners that offer the wet cleaning process use highly sophisticated washing machines that operate differently than traditional washers.
Wet cleaning involves using a very gentle detergent that is free of chemicals and toxins. The washing machines used for the wet cleaning process typically only rotate several times per minute, so the process does not damage delicate items of clothing. Clothes laundered with the wet cleaning method are carefully dried and pressed, so they look just as good as clothing that went through traditional dry cleaning.
When it comes to dry cleaning options, wet cleaning is considered the most eco-friendly choice. The process uses less water and energy than traditional dry cleaning. In addition, the process does not use any volatile organic compounds. You’ll then have the peace of mind that your skin is not being exposed to any harmful chemicals.
Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning: This method of dry cleaning involves using pressurized liquid carbon dioxide, which is natural gas. Liquid carbon dioxide is completely nontoxic. This cleaning process typically combines liquid carbon dioxide with other gentle cleaning solvents.
Dry cleaners that offer liquid carbon dioxide cleaning utilize a piece of machinery that removes all air from the chamber. Under this high pressure, the carbon dioxide becomes liquid, and the clothes are rotated for the duration of the cleaning cycle. The cleaning process is very effective at dissolving dirt, oil, and fats on clothing.
When the cleaning cycle is completed, the remaining liquid carbon dioxide goes to a storage tank for use in the next cycle. Any carbon dioxide left over is released back into the air. Since there is new carbon dioxide produced during the liquid carbon dioxide cleaning, the process comes as very eco-friendly.
Liquid carbon dioxide cleaning is not as popular as wet cleaning. This is due to the high price of the machinery needed for the process.
It can take a little bit of effort to find an eco-friendly organic dry cleaner. But it is well worth your time to find one. Some of the top benefits of choosing eco-friendly dry cleaning include:
Some dry cleaning companies claim to be eco-friendly when in fact, they are not. When selecting a dry cleaner to launder your clothes, specifically ask if they use the wet cleaning or liquid carbon dioxide cleaning process. These are the two dry cleaning processes found to be highly eco-friendly.
Beware of dry cleaners that offer hydrocarbon cleaning or cleaning that uses siloxane. These methods are often advertised as being green, but they are not. Hydrocarbon is not as toxic as perc, but it is a petroleum product. Likewise, evidence found in studies of siloxane has led the EPA to label it as a probable carcinogen.
Eco-friendly organic dry cleaning is an excellent choice for anyone who wants thoroughly cleaned clothes while also being mindful of the environment. Both wet cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaning will leave your clothes just as clean as traditional dry cleaning, without all of the harmful chemicals. Look for a dry cleaner that is truly eco-friendly and uses cleaning methods that do not require toxic chemicals. You are sure to be very satisfied with the results!