Is dry cleaning really dry? Well, no. In fact, there are a lot of liquids involved in the dry cleaning process, in the form of chemical solvents, but because none of these actually contain water, we’ve come to know the process as “dry” cleaning.
The next question is, how do these solvents clean without water? At home, when you wash your clothes in a washing machine, soap and detergent work together to loosen the dirt, oil, and stains. However, many fabrics are too delicate, or their natural structure makes them unsuitable, for exposure to water, detergent and agitation. Have you ever lost a favorite wool sweater by accidentally putting it through a regular wash cycle? Exactly.
At the dry cleaners, garments are placed in a large drum machine that looks similar to a home washing/drying machine and immersed in liquid chemical solvents to remove dirt and stains. These solvents, when combined with gentle agitation, cause soils to loosen. The chemicals in the solvent literally surround the molecules of a stain and “carry” them off of a garment.
Dry cleaning solvents have changed a lot over the years, and much for the better. Originally, dry cleaning was performed with petroleum-based solvents like kerosene and gasoline that were dangerously flammable. By the mid-1900’s, dry cleaners had evolved to using chlorinated solvents, which were much safer in practice, but were eventually shown to be hazardous to humans and the environment. In the 1990’s, the EPA began to regulate the use of these dangerous chemicals, and safer, more environmentally-friendly options began to appear on the market. Today, green dry cleaning processes like the SYSTEMK4 used by Best Cleaners not only clean as well as, if not better than, traditional solvents and other green solvents on the market, but are 100% earth friendly.