What Exactly Is Dry Cleaning?

So what exactly is Dry Cleaning? To be frank, it's a technique for washing garments and other fabrics using some form of chemical solvent instead of everyday water. This chemical is a much gentler way of saving a fabric of stains, dirt, and other debris, when compared to traditional washing. The chemical solution most widely used in the dry cleaning industry is Perchloroethylene. Nowadays there are substitutes for "Perc" that are much safer for the environment.

For the naked eye, the dry cleaning process appears similar to using a regular washing machine except for the machine being much larger and heavier. The process is gentler, replaces water with a chemical solvent, and will also dry its contents. After the load has been washed in the chemical solvent, it is then rinsed, and the chemical solvent is removed from the fabrics. When all of the solvent has been removed, the machine will then dry the textiles using a lower heat than traditional machines.Before the actual cleaning process, workers ensure that all garments are free of pens, lipsticks, and other objects that could damage the fabrics. While dry cleaning cannot remove every stain, it will remove a larger amount of dirt and residue than traditional washing.

Pre-treating stains is similar to the procedure used at home when you apply a stain remover to stains prior to washing them. The idea is to try to remove the stain or make its removal easier using chemicals. You can even help the process, especially if you catch the stain early. Apply water for wet stains (a stain that had water in it) and solvent for dry stains (a stain that has grease or oil in it). Then, gently tap and blot both sides of the fabric with a soft cloth so the stain "bleeds off" onto the cloth. Then, rinse the fabric, let it dry and your cleaner will do the rest.

If you're trying to save money, perhaps you could try gently washing your garment by hand. On the other hand, if you have wool or silk clothing, it is always best to take it to a cleaner. The potential to ruin these valuable items is high if you wash them in your home washing machine. Other articles of clothing, like dresses and suits, should be taken to the local cleaners. These are more expensive items and usually require the best care. Mixing them in with other clothes is not the best thing for them. Knowing that you don't wear these items on a daily basis, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you don't always have to take them in for professional care.