When it comes to environmental effects, conventional dry cleaning methods have drawbacks, hence the promotion of earth-friendly techniques by green dry cleaners. Unfortunately, Perchloroethylene (perc), the chlorinated solvent often used for dry cleaning, is a hazardous air pollutant and waste. It contaminates both the air and the soil. It is also carcinogenic to humans.
For these reasons, the chemical is being phased out in many states in the US, and new, pure organic dry cleaning methods are being encouraged.
What Is Organic Dry Cleaning?
Green or pure organic dry cleaning refers to any alternative techniques that do not involve the use of perc. They still use the traditional solvent mode, but instead of perc, they use hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide, and silicon-based cleaners. These are gentler versions of home laundering.
What Are the Methods Commonly Used by Green Dry Cleaners?
Wet cleaning uses water and specialized solvents that are milder than home laundry products to wash clothes. This technique uses computerized washers and dryers, as well as and professional pressing and steaming equipment to make your garments look their best.
Experts consider wet cleaning to be one of the safest professional methods because it does not use any hazardous chemicals. It does not cause air pollution or soil and water contamination.
Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning
This method uses liquid carbon dioxide as the solvent along with detergent. Liquid CO2 is formed by placing the gas under high pressure. It is non-toxic and non-flammable. In fact, you have this in your favorite carbonated drinks.
Clothes are washed in a traditional dry cleaning machine. Both gas and liquid forms of CO2 are injected into the drum. After washing, the liquid CO2 is pumped back into a storage tank to reuse.
Carbon dioxide dry cleaning is perhaps the most earth-friendly because the by-product of the process is being collected. Also, only less than 3% of the CO2 used is released into the air with every cycle, so its impact on global warming is very minimal. It also uses less energy than other techniques because there is no solvent to heat.
CO2 is naturally occurring and affordable. However, the machines used for this technique cost thousands of dollars, making it cost-prohibitive for new or small businesses.
Some green dry cleaners are also using solvents tagged as organic, such as DF-2000. This is a hydrocarbon made from petroleum. While the dry cleaning process remains chemical-free, questions are being raised regarding the processes involved in the production of the solvent itself.
The use of GreenEarth, liquefied sand (SiO2) is also becoming more popular with green dry cleaners. It works as a silicone-based solvent known as siloxane or D-5. Siloxane is a common ingredient in deodorants and shaving creams. When GreenEarth is discarded, it breaks down into water, carbon dioxide, and sand.
This technique does not use chemicals to clean your clothes. However, the manufacturing process of siloxane requires chlorine, which may release carcinogenic dioxin.
How Do You Get the Best Results from Green Dry Cleaners?
There are steps you can take to ensure dry cleaning your garments is successful.
- Let the professional green dry cleaners do the work. Do not try to remove stains yourself, especially if you have not done it before. Some household ingredients can cause more problems that are not reversible.
- Tell them the relevant details. Point out the stains when dropping off your clothes, and be sure to mention what caused the stain and how long it has been there.
- If you have special requests, say it upfront. If you are concerned about small holes or damaged zippers, ask the cleaner to check them or make repairs.
- Do not hesitate to tell them if it is a vintage item so it can be treated with extra care.
Here at Kelly’s Dry Cleaners, we take every precaution and any necessary steps to provide near to pure organic dry cleaning services by omitting the use of perc. We are true green dry cleaners in Pagosa Springs, CO, our services are indeed safer and healthier. See us soon for any of your laundry needs!