Magical World of Dry Cleaning

So, what is dry cleaning you may have asked yourself a time or two? The concept of dry cleaning is a complex one in the minds of many people. Instead of asking questions on the process, most people simply drop off their non-washable clothing to a professional dry cleaner and pick them up within a few days.

In reality, dry cleaning is quite easy and painless. Dry cleaning consists of placing clothing into an agitation machine much like a standard washing machine. Instead of adding water to remove the stains, a special cleaning solution is added to remove stains and odors from the fabric. The friction of the machine’s agitator moves the solution through the fibers of the material washing away locked in dirt and grime. The solution is then removed and recycled for another use. Clothing itself is removed from the machine and ironed for a clean, pressed look.

The History Behind the Art of Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning was first discovered by accident when a maid of Jean-Baptiste Jolly, a French textile maker bumped over an oil lamp in the 1840s. The kerosene from the lamp spilled onto a linen tablecloth that had been subjected to stains that couldn’t be washed out. Jolly was surprised to see that the kerosene dissolved the spots without the need for water or cleaning solutions. Jolly tried this theory on other fabrics that were not washable and found a consistency in the effectiveness of the process. Eventually, he added this cleaning method to the services he offered within his business.

For many decades, kerosene was the primary cleaning solution used for dry cleaning non-washable fabrics. The solution was poured into a traditional washing machine in place of water. The friction of the machine would agitate dirt and stains from the material. When concerns over the combustibility and odors of the kerosene began to fully emerge, the search was on for a safer solvent to use.

Scientists eventually discovered that perchloroethylene, more commonly referred to as perc, was just as effective for removing stains but was non-flammable. This solvent was used for professional dry cleaning for many years. That is until it was discovered that the cleaning solution was causing cancer in those that worked with the product. Today, there are several different types of dry-cleaning products being used for commercial and residential use that are considered safer for people and the environment. With the advancements taking place in technology, the product line-up is sure to increase.

Types of Fabrics that Require Dry Cleaning

The intended purpose of dry cleaning is to clean fabrics that would otherwise be damaged due to traditional laundering methods. Water can damage certain materials causing them to deteriorate or lose their desired shape. These fabrics include:

  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Rayon
  • Wool
  • Taffeta
  • Velvet
  • Acetate
  • Leather
  • Suede

No matter what type of fabric your clothing is made of, it is always ideal to read the care instruction label thoroughly before washing. This will ensure that your clothing will keep its proper shape and appeal for its entire life.

Exactly How Long Does Dry Cleaning Take?

Have you ever wondered just how long dry-cleaning takes for suits, wedding dress or other dry cleaned garments? While dry cleaning may not be as complicated as once thought, it is still a lengthy process to ensure it is done properly. Once you have dropped off your clothing to be dry cleaned, it is inspected for stains, tears or other types of damage. You can speed up the process by pointing out any of these issues during the drop-off period. Knowing what has caused the stains allows the dry cleaner to properly pre-treat them before the dry cleaning begins.

All spots and stains go through the pre-treating process. This allows the dry cleaner to work diligently to avoid set up marks on your garments. Once the spots are treated, the clothing goes into the agitation machine so the dry cleaning can begin. Depending on the type of garment and material used for its design, this will determine the specific amount of time it will stay in the agitator. Sweaters, suits and coats may only take a few hours while leather and suede garments or wedding dresses may take up to 48 hours for a thorough cleaning.

Once your clothing is removed from the agitator, they will then receive a post-spot inspection. This allows your dry cleaner to locate any remaining stains that have been left behind. A final attempt will be made to remove the discolored spotting. If the dry cleaner is not able to remove the stain, they will make notations for you, so you are not surprised when you receive your items back. A final steam and pressing process is performed to give the garments their fresh and crisp look and feel. In all total, the dry-cleaning process can take as much as 72-86 hours to complete depending on the various factors.


How often should you dry clean a suit?

Suits that you don’t wear often should be dry cleaned an average of once or twice a year. This ensures that they look clean and ready to wear when the occasion arises to do so. Suits that are worn weekly or several times a week should be dry cleaned at least once a month. This will prevent stains and odors from becoming locked into the fabric.

Does dry cleaning remove dust stains from clothing?

Yes, you can rest assured that if you have garments that have been hanging in the closet for a lengthy period of time, dry cleaning them will freshen them up. The solvent solutions used for dry cleaning is effective for removing dust mites as well.

Is home dry-cleaning methods as effective as professional dry cleaning?

Researchers have proven that dry-cleaning products you use in your home are not as effective as expert dry-cleaning services. They do remove odors and some dirt spots but are not as effective on deep stains or dirt removals as the professional services out there. If you have dry clean only garments such as coats, suits, or other such items, you will benefit from the expertise of a professional dry cleaner in Durango. We encourage you to contact our company and speak with an expert to ensure your clothing is able to withstand the test of time. Your wardrobe will thank you for it.