The dry cleaning process involves utilizing fluids to remove soil and stains from fabric. Little or no water is used during this process and the cleaning fluids do not penetrate the fibres in the same way as other methods, which is why it is called dry cleaning.
One of the many advantages of this process is how grease and oil can be dissolved and eliminated more effectively than with water on many materials, from natural to synthetic. Water can also distort, shrink and discolour fabrics made of natural fibers such as wools and silks, making dry cleaning the preferred care method.
The dry cleaning process starts with a pretreatment of any existing spots and stains, using special cleaning agents designed for the job. Then, the garments are placed into a machine resembling an oversized front-loading home washer to be agitated so that embedded dirt can be loosened. The cleaning fluid is filtered or distilled to ensure its clarity at each step.
It is believed that 90% of all dry cleaners use perchloroethylene. Commonly known as perc, this solvent was introduced to the industry in the late 1930s. Originally, perc offered more practical and environmental benefits than other alternatives, such as being nonflammable and noncombustible, having relatively low toxicity, and featuring the ability to be reused and recycled. However, its popularity has recently waned due to newer cleaning solvents that are even more effective and less enviornmentally damaging, such as those certified by GreenEarth®.
Wet cleaning may be most suitable for some garments, depending on the care label and the expertise of your professional cleaner. According to the 1972 Care Label Rule, clothing manufacturers need only list one method of proper care, even if there are other safe methods. If a garment’s care label says Washable, it may or may not dry clean satisfactorily.
The wet cleaning process is similar to the dry cleaning process, in that it begins with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. The main difference between the two methods is that water and additives are then used to clean the items. Precautions are taken to prevent shrinkage, loss of colour, and fabric distortion.
Shirts and other items that are stated as Washable can be laundered. This process uses special detergents, additives, and finishes that are different from home laundering methods to achieve cleaner collars and cuffs. The last step of this process also includes professional pressing to create a crisper finish.
If you request a method of cleaning that is not listed on the care label, your cleaner may ask you to sign a consent form showing that you accept the potential risks of cleaning the garment.
Professional Cleaning Steps
- Examining the care labels for suitable instructions and fibre content.
- Classifying garments according to their fabric type, colour, and degree of soiling.
- Stain and spot removal using special equipment, agents, and if appropriate, water.
- Performing the appropriate cleaning method whether it be dry cleaning, wet cleaning, or laundering.
- If necessary and if possible, reapplying any sizing, water repellent coatings, and other finishes.
- Pressing the garment to restore its original shape and appearance to finish.
- Replacing missing or damaged buttons and performing minor repairs if necessary and if possible.
- Packaging the garment neatly in protective wrapping to return to its rightful owner.
A variety of additional services may be offered depending on the professional cleaner hired. These include garment storage, cleaning furs and leathers, rug cleaning, drapery cleaning, smoke removal, pillow cleaning, shirt and family laundry, wedding gown preservation, and alterations and repairs – basically, anything to do with maintaining and preserving the beauty of your items!
Tips to Help You Get the Most From Your Professional Cleaner
Stains are difficult to remove, but you may have a better chance at eliminating them if they are dealt with as soon as they appear. So don’t wait for them to set – get your professional cleaner to tend to them immediately. Let them know as much information as you can share, such as the substance, when it happened, and their location. You can also let them know if other stains exist, particularly lighter coloured ones that may be difficult to see.
Don’t iron stained or soiled clothes since heat can set some stains, making them extremely difficult or impossible to remove.
Perfumes, lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, and other toiletries often contain alcohol. Alcohol can adversely affect some dyes, therefore protect your clothes from coming into contact with them.
Protect your garments from excessive perspiration, especially silk fabrics. Perspiration can cause many dyes to discolour over time.
Matching pieces should be cleaned together, such as bedspreads, drapes, and suits. That way, any colour loss will be uniform.
Dove Cleaners is known for the ability to maintain consistency in colouring, even when items in a matching set are cleaned seperately. However, we still recommend that matching items are cleaned together, since fading and colour irregularities may be caused not by the cleaning process, but by manufacturing defects. That way, even if discolouration occurs, it is still uniform.