How Dry Cleaning Works

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Tired of drying the wet clothes after each washing? Have already considered trying that brand-new dry cleaning? Before you start, make sure you’ve conducted the research of what it actually is, how it works, and what are the effects. Or simply read this article to know everything needed.

Who invented Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning concept is not that new – in the 1600-1100 B.C., people already tried using grease-absorbing dirt and sand to remove strains from their favorite chitons. But actually, this is how the story of really “dry” cleaning ends – today even the driest cleaners are kinda wet.

First commercialization of dry cleaning appeared in 1825 with “Jolly Belin” opened in Paris. Like in the story about Newton and an apple, Jean-Baptiste Jolly (who gave his name to that laundry in Paris, so shy!) spilled some kerosene from the lamp on a dirty tablecloth and spotted magic disappearance of a strain. Inspired, he experimented with delicate fibers and started a business that worked for a century. In those times, people used kerosene, benzene or gasoline to wash.

But the safety standards didn’t allow that to last long, and dry cleaners faced problems with getting the insurance (surprise!). So, when the number of fires became intolerable, dry cleaners started experimenting with substitutes. After WWII, the industry agreed that non-flammable halogen, perchloroethylene, is the best option. It still works today.

What is different in the process?

To dry clean something, you first need the machine. By resembling the normal washing machine, this facility uses the chemical perc instead of water. Also, it is bigger in size and is rather a combination of washer and dryer. During the washing, dirt is filtered out or distilled, so you can use the same perc again. However, the result is not so different from a normal washing – kinda wet clothes being cleaned after several minutes of rotating in a special machine. So, technically, you won’t notice any critical differences.

What about the safety?

Unfortunately, perc is toxic – even though it really works. Several studies showed that it is dangerous for humans, affecting liver, kidney, immunity, and even reproduction system. So, don’t chew your clothes after dry cleaning if you want to have healthy children!

How contemporary eco-friendly proponents cope with this? As usual, they try to find some substitutes. Instead of turning to the roots and use that dirt and sand Mycenaean city dwellers tried, they offer three options. First, siloxane is a kind of silicone – no studies have proved it’s dangerous (yet). The second and the cheapest option is hydrocarbon – if you don’t mind your clothes smell like a laboratory. Finally, you can pay more and try using CO2 – but be ready to buy the special machine too.

If you consider the water is the only liquid on Earth – then dry cleaning is actually dry. If you think that toxic chemical is better than water – choose dry cleaning. If you don’t agree with both these statements, it’s logical to doubt whether dry cleaning is actually worth your time and efforts.

Do you still think dry washing is better than the wet one?

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