Dry Cleaning is the cleaning of textiles in non-aqueous solvents. It is the most common form of professional textile cleaning to date. Compared to cleaning with water, it has the advantage that the fibers of the textile do not swell, but retain the shape that they have when dry. The solvent used here only rinses the fiber. Let’s find out How dry cleaning is done.
How is Dry Cleaning done
Many textiles, especially those in which different types of fabrics are processed, such as men’s suits, women’s costumes, or coats, can only be cleaned to a limited extent with water or aqueous washing solutions, as they can deform or lose their color.
Such textiles are generally cleaned through a special cleaning process with organic solvents. Which cleaning agents can be used is noted on the label of the textile as a care label. Care Labeling P stands for perchloroethylene (better known as tetrachloroethene). Perchloroethylene is a chlorinated hydrocarbon (CHC) and is harmful to the environment and human health.
The originally used turpentine oil had been replaced by carcinogenic benzene. From the middle of the 19th century, the company switched to flammable gasoline. With the advent of non-combustible solvents, gasoline cleaning was replaced by organochlorine compounds that are harmful to the environment and human health and are nowadays prohibited except for trichloroethylene.
Supercritical carbon dioxide has also been used in commercial cleaning services for private customers since 2006 because the solvent carbon dioxide enables a significantly more environmentally friendly chemical cleaning.
History of Dry Cleaning
The economic and legal history of the chemical cleaning industry is noteworthy because it was one of the first branches to develop uniform general terms and conditions together with freight forwarders and banks as early as 1900. It is the fine print on the back of the posting and logging slip that you get when you hand in a piece of clothing for cleaning. The development of terms and conditions was extremely modern and progressive around 1900. The limitation of liability for loss of or damage to the garment, which is traditionally regulated in the dry cleaning General Terms and Conditions, to 15 times the cleaning price, has led to many legal processes and judgments since 1900, which are dealt with in the legal literature.
When cleaning textiles with organic solvents, hydrophobic substances such as fats, waxes, and oils dissolve relatively well. The rule of thumb here is that “poison kills poison”. Stains containing water are more easily removed when washing with normal water containing detergent. When cleaning textiles with organic solvents it can happen that invisible stains (watermarks, protein, starch, etc.) only become visible after cleaning. In the case of substances that do not allow treatment with water, the stains are removed by adding solvents in the cleaning machine. The process is called stain treatment.
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New developments in Dry cleaning
A new development is professional wet cleaning using water. Even with textiles that must not be washed under normal household conditions, cleaning with water is often possible under the special conditions of professional wet cleaning. This new development often achieves better cleaning results than dry cleaning and is considered to be particularly effective, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly and is, therefore, where applicable, usually preferable to classic dry cleaning.