When it comes to dry cleaning, most people just drop off their clothes at the dry cleaner without any concern of what happens to them. You might have probably noticed a faint smell that emanates from the freshly cleaned clothes. Most people don’t worry about the smell but in the real sense, it should shake you to the bone because it is a health risk. That is the smell of perchloroethylene (perc), a volatile organic compound, which is a widely used dry cleaning solvent and a continuous exposure to it is believed to cause cancer, kidney damage and liver disease. Even those insignificant exposures are believed to cause dizziness, skin irritation, nausea and headaches. It is because of these dangerous side effects of perc, that most states have adopted alternative organic solvents to be used in dry cleaning.There for, choosing organic dry cleaning is best for your garment and health.
ORGANIC DRY CLEANING OPTION
Despite the fact that perc is an organic compound, it is very volatile and is not viable to be used as dry cleaning solvent. It also has numerous health risks and alternative non-toxic dry cleaning solvents are a necessary and essential option. To this effect, professional wet cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide cleaning have been adopted as safe and effective options which have no health concerns. These solvents also help in garment preservation making your clothes last longer.
Professional Wet Cleaning
This is whereby water and special detergents are used in dry cleaning. The clothes are thoroughly rinsed in a gentle spinning machine for a set duration of time. The stains are treated according to their pH levels and therefore no toxic detergents are required. According to research, almost all “dry clean only” garments can be wet cleaned with little or no difference in the quality between the two methods. Wet cleaning method on the other had is much more efficient than the traditional cleaning because it saves a lot on energy and water.
Liquid Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Cleaning
This is a dry cleaning method whereby perc is replaced by liquid carbon as a cleaning solvent. This is very effective since CO2 occurs naturally and it is very stable and non-toxic. The process involves pressurizing CO2 gas using a special dry cleaning unit until it liquefies into a very powerful cleaning solvent. After the cleaning process, CO2 is pumped back into a storage tank to be reused in consequent cleaning tasks. This recycling eliminates the disposal problem that is associated with perc together with many other environmental and health concerns. The complexity of this process means that special costly machines are required and therefore it tends to be a little bit expensive than wet cleaning and use of perc.
The Future of Organic Dry Cleaning
With the increased awareness programs about the risks accompanying the use of perc, most dry cleaning companies are rapidly adopting the use of alternative Organic solvents. Though the use of perc is still legal, the government is continuously discouraging it and educating the public on the reasons why organic dry cleaning is best for your garment and health. The use of perc as a dry cleaning solvent will probably be banned in the foreseeable future if its health concerns are confirmed to be true. In these regard, organic dry cleaning solvents will soon be widely adopted for a healthy future both to the humans and the garments.