August 18, 2022

Clean and Green: Choosing A Dry Cleaner That’s Good For You And The Environment!

4 min read
Clean and Green: Choosing A Dry Cleaner That's Good For You And The Environment!

Chemicals that could be dangerous can be used in traditional dry cleaning. Here, experts offer guidance on the items and practices to avoid.
I have heard a dry cleaner refer to their position as “being the original recycler of clothes.” I concur with the description’s spirit even though it might not be totally accurate.

Each time I pick up newly laundered clothing from the dry cleaners, I get a surge of renewed pleasure. Given the enormous resources required to create clothing, anything that pleasantly prolongs their lifespan is unquestionably worthwhile.

Traditional dry cleaning techniques, however, may be harmful to you or the environment. Experts describe what to look for in a dry cleaner in this article.

Where’s the Catch?

Dry cleaning has changed over the years from being potentially dangerous to be regulated to protect people and the environment, like many other things using chemicals.

To eliminate dirt and stains, clothes are washed in a chemical solvent without the use of water. Tetrachloroethylene, also referred to as perc or perc, was the most widely used solvent in dry cleaning for a very long time. Perc has been shown to harm the liver and kidneys, impair memory, cause migraines, and make you feel lightheaded. Additionally, it is regarded as a possible carcinogen.

The Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (Aicis) states that perc production ceased in Australia in 1991, and imports fell in the years that followed. However, while being required to abide by state and territorial regulations, some Australian dry cleaners still use perc.

Clean and Green: Choosing A Dry Cleaner That's Good For You And The Environment!

“All solvents are safe to use when operated in a well-maintained system and certified safe handling of solvent methods are in place,” claims Mark Ryan, president of the Dry-Cleaning Institute of Australia. According to Aicis, dry cleaning in Australia “may be seen as essentially an enclosed procedure” (meaning emissions and waste disposal are carefully managed).

However, according to Aicis, depending on how the chemical is introduced to the machine, how filters are cleaned, and how waste is removed, anyone using the chemical may still be at risk. Perc should always be disposed of by a certified garbage contractor.

The greatest thing you can do if you are worried about perc is to question your dry cleaner about their procedures.

A Variety of Solvents

According to Ryan, there are two types of solvents: chlorinated (perc) and non-chlorinated (Solvon K4, Hydrocarbon D60, and Green Earth). A circle with a letter inside it on the care label of your clothing denotes that it may be dry-cleaned, with each letter designating the kind of chemicals that may be used: The letters “A” and “P” indicate that any solvent may be used, whereas “F” indicates that only petroleum-based solvents may be used.

The most environmentally friendly solvents, according to Daniel Hays, general director of laundry equipment company Spencer Systems, are Solvon K4 and Green Earth, with Green Earth being the more popular of the two.

Greener Solvent

In contrast to solvents made from petrochemicals, Green Earth is a silicone-based solvent produced as a byproduct of sand, according to Fiona Miller and Nikita Williams of the Green Dry Clean in Bathurst.

It is “soft on garments and gentle on the environment,” according to Miller and Williams. Intricate goods like lace and sequins can be cleaned using this product because it is great for delicates and leaves your clothes “feeling fresh and appearing brighter.”

The silicone used to make Green Earth is an odorless, colorless solution that breaks down into sand, a small quantity of water, and carbon dioxide when released into the environment. Miller and Williams, however, warn that it should still be handled carefully. They claim that their waste is gathered throughout the solvent’s distillation process, cleaned out once every week, placed in a sealed container, and disposed of in accordance with industry regulations.

Consider Wet Cleaning.

Some environmentally friendly dry cleaners actually employ a method that isn’t even dry cleaning at all. It is referred to as expert wet cleaning. According to Noble’s creator and co-founder Courtney Noble, professional wet cleaning employs water, specialized detergents, and conditioners through a computer-controlled washing machine rather than chemicals.

To protect the fibers, stop dye bleed, and reduce shrinkage, she adds, “the washed clothes are then placed in a specialized dryer fitted with moisture sensors.

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