We’ve all taken something to the dry cleaner, hoping and praying that they can find a way to get a stain out of a lovely dress or an expensive suit, only to have it come back looking like new. Have you ever wondered just how dry cleaning works? Let’s look at the dry cleaning process, and how these experts can manage to get almost anything out of your clothes.
While the term dry cleaning may make it seem like your clothes never get wet, this is not actually the case. Dry clean only clothing is labeled as such because water molecules are attracted to the fibers in them and can alter the dye, the size, and the strength of the fabric. A dry cleaning solution is actually made of fluid solvents that can remove stains but that do not contain water molecules. Most clothes are cleaned in a product known as perchlorethylene, or perc for short.
When you take your clothes to the dry cleaner, they will be tagged, then pre treated for any stains. They will then be placed into a dry cleaning machine that works as both a washer and dryer. They will have perc pumped through them and then they will be spun to get rid of as much of the solvent as possible (it can be toxic if inhaled, but is almost entirely gone when you get your clothing back).
When your clothes come out, the dry cleaner will examine for any remaining stains and will use dry chemicals or steam to remove any remaining stain.
Dry cleaning is certainly an intensive process, be thankful for it next time you have a spill or a stain!