I’m not a fashionista, but I admire good quality clothes. One of my problems is that most women’s clothes now need only special handwashing or dry cleaning. The cost of dry cleaning is a problem, but so are the chemicals used to clean the fabric.
When I saw “organic” dry cleaners open in my city, I decided to look into the details of organic dry cleaning and find out if it was good or not.
What is Organic Dry Cleaning?
The EPA definition of organic dry cleaning compounds is very broad. In fact, any cleaner that contains carbon can be considered organic. This includes the chemical pyruchlorethylene or “perk”.
Perk has been shown to be helpful in laundry cleaners, including cancer of the tongue. It is also destructive to the environment. President Bush has accused the EPA of eliminating its use in dry cleaning by 2020.
Ironically, in order to “dry clean” the clothes, they are first soaked in a perk and thrown into a drum. So dry cleaning actually wets the fabric! (Crazy, right?)
Most organic dry cleaners use one of three processes, Green Art®, CO2 dry cleaning, or hydrocarbon dry cleaning. Each of them is considered environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
Green Art Dry Cleaning
Green Earth is the most popular and original method of organic cleansing. This test was designed to change, but it has some similar problems. Green Art® is actually a chemical called dimethyl clipentaciloxin or D5.
Although it is not without its problems. D5, in a 2007 OEHA report, found an increase in the growth of malignant tumors in garment workers. D5 can also adversely affect the nervous system, bile formation in the liver, immune system and fatty tissue.
In addition, D5 has a long half-life which makes it a permanent chemical once released into the environment.
Hydrocarbon dry cleaning
Before the test was available, all dry cleaning was done using hydrocarbon compounds. They work well but are flammable, so dry cleaners use the probe method. However, now the tide has changed and the test is being phased out and replaced with a new generation of hydrocarbon cleaners.
While hydrocarbons are considered safer than perk, they can also have serious side effects. Hydrocarbons affect the nervous system, causing everything from mild redness and dizziness to coma and death. More data is needed to really understand any long-term effects.
Apart from the toxicity of hydrocarbons, these compounds are highly flammable. That is why they were abandoned in the first place. Accidental combustion poses a threat to workers and nearby residents and businesses.
Hydrocarbons are also volatile carbons that play an important role in smoking. Because they are based on petroleum, therefore, they withstand the same environmental impact as other petroleum waste, out of the way of cars.
I don’t think it’s more “organic”!
Co2 dry cleaning
Dry cleaning of CO2 uses carbon dioxide, the same gas used to make Selzer fuzzy to clean clothes. The process is really interesting. It has been praised by the EPA, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and Consumer Reports for being environmentally friendly.
According to patent information, the ability to change the states of carbon dioxide is the same as the ability to clean CO2, not harsh chemicals. Carbon dioxide is converted to liquid to clean clothes. Liquid CO2 washes away particles, dirt and toxins from clothing. To “dry” the fabric, CO2 is converted back into gas. There are no residues or wastes from this procedure.
Most of the carbon dioxide used to clean CO2 is actually recycled industrial waste. Even better, the CO2 used in this process can also be recycled. Any CO2 released in this process can be used and converted into oxygen by plants and trees. This is a natural process that happens every day, so environmental effects do not have a definite effect!
Not only is CO2 cleaning healthy for textile industry workers, consumers and the environment, but it is also better for textiles. Dry cleaning of CO2 is a cold process, unlike any other method that requires heat. The heat breaks down the fibers of the garment, and over time their garment wears off.
The CO2 method eliminates fading, shrinkage and pilling. Also, you won’t accidentally stain in this way, so clothes always look great. My favorite part of this procedure is that there is no residue left in the garment and no ‘dry cleaning’ chemical odor.
In dry cleaning research, I found a new method called wet cleaning. As I mentioned above, every dry cleaning method uses some kind of liquid. It is considered dry, although water is not used.
Wet cleaning changes that. Its main cleaner is water. Specially formulated detergents and softeners for cleaning clothes are also used in wet cleaning. In wet cleaning, cloth items are irritated, then hung hung to dry, before being pressed by special pressing machines to remove wrinkles.
Wet cleaning has become the latest trend in more environmentally friendly commercial cleaning. However, it is environmentally friendly. Because detergents and softeners are added to the water, it is as safe as it is added.
Because it is primarily a water-based method, the waste goes directly into the sewer system, eventually emptying into the water supply. Garbage from perch dry cleaning is present and disposed of as toxic waste. Not ideal, but spraying too much chemical in waterways doesn’t seem healthy.
There are other drawbacks to wet cleaning. Because it uses water, it is not safe for all clothes (as many people are labeled as dry clean only). Wet cleaning can stretch the fabric or cause it to bleed.
So what does a mother have to do?
Dry Clean Only How to clean clothes safely
Dry cleaning is changing and hopefully soon it will be healthy for consumers and the environment. However, the choice of organic dry cleaning alone is not enough. Must ask questions!
More and more, people are experimenting with how to clean only dry clean items at home. Although it’s not foolproof, I’ve cleaned up some of my dry clothes after researching how to treat each fabric.
However, the key to making the best choice is education. The first thing to look for is whether wearing clothes at home, perhaps by hand, can save money and support a healthier lifestyle. If home laundering is not an option, finding dry or wet cleaning options in the area will be a bit of a hassle but it will pay off.
This article was reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, Certified Family Physician, Medicaid Board. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor.
How to clean only dry clean?