What is Dry Cleaning?
The process of dry cleaning uses solvent to remove soils and stains from fabric.
The term ‘dry cleaning’ is actually quite misleading. The cleaning is done with a liquid solvent. However the solvent (usually perchloroethylene) contains no water and does not penetrate the fibers of the clothes like water does during the laundry process.
The dry cleaning process begins with the pretreatment of spots and stains, using special cleaning agents specific to the actual stains. This is why it is helpful to let the cleaner know what the actual stain is.
The clothes are then loaded into a machine, resembling an over-sized front-loading washer, which uses similar mechanical action to loosen embedded dirt. These machines hold from 10kg up to 40kg of clothes.
Throughout the cleaning process, the solvent is filtered or distilled to keep dirt from resettling on clothes. The chemicals are then extracted and retained for reuse.
The garments are dried by tumbling with a stream of warm arm in the same machine and should have no residual solvent odor after cleaning, if the extraction process is done correctly and the best solvents are used.