Dry Cleaning: How Does It Work?
Laundry is one of the most common household chores. Each one of us needs fresh, clean garments to wear. Before there were washing machines, washing the clothes involved beating the clothes against the river rocks. Since then technology has advanced and lo and behold was the appearance of laundry detergent, washing machines, and eventually the process of dry cleaning came about.
What is Dry Cleaning?
Dry cleaning is the process in which the garments are cleaned without using water. While the term is “dry”, it doesn’t mean that no liquid is used. The garments are in fact immersed in a cleaning liquid that is so effective in washing away dirt.
The Cleaning Process
Dry cleaning is used in garments that are made with delicate fabrics, are sensitive to water temperature, and are prone to shrinkage. The process has been around for a while, dating back to the Roman era when the woolen togas were cleaned using ammonia instead of water.
Other chemicals used for the process include petrolatum-based solvents, such as kerosene or gasoline, but since both are highly flammable, they are considered very dangerous for the process. Perc or perchloroethylene is a chlorinated solvent is used by most dry cleaners these days. While it is an effective cleaner, perc is a classified carcinogen so the american E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) discourages the use of it and recommends using safer alternatives.
The Mean Machines
There are various brands of cleaning machines used in this process, but they are relatively similar in function. A dry-cleaning machine looks like a regular washing machine, with the washer, spin-dryer or extractor, and dryer. And like a regular washing machine, the dry cleaning machine has a basket (stainless steel), where the clothes are rotated as the cleaning solvent constantly flow into it. The soiled solvent is then pumped back into the filter and sprayed back into the wash basket again, repeating the process as the laundry gets cleaned.
After the cleansing process, the solvent is drained and the basket will spin rapidly in order to extract any remaining liquid. Once most of the solvents are extracted, warm heat will circulate around the machine, vaporizing the remaining solvents.
On the other hand, dry cleaners that use petroleum-based solvents use a different method. Since this type of solvent is highly flammable, numerous steps are taken with great care in order to avoid accidents.
The final procedure includes steaming, reshaping, ironing, and making repairs if necessary. Steam is applied in order to make the garment soft and then the garment is restored to its natural shape by using a quick-drying method. Pressing is done to remove any wrinkles or creases that usually come with the cleaning process.
When bringing your clothes to any dry cleaner in Kingston, keep in mind that regardless of the type of solvent used, the cleaning quality, the brightness of color, overall softness and freshness all depend on how the cleaner uses the cleaning machine. The quality of dry cleaning generally depends on moisture and quality of the solvent.
If you are looking for a Kingston dry cleaner, check out Surf’s Up! Laundry & Dry Cleaning and tell em we sent ya!
You can find them at http://surfs-up.ca