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Talk:Dry cleaning

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Why use dry cleaning instead of water?Edit

I moved this paragraph from the main article. Illegal where? Samaritan 19:13, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC).

Now, the old machines are illegal because it is harmful to your health. In the old machines, you had to dry clean the clothes, then take them out to be dried. Now you no longer have to take the clothes out of the dry cleaning machine.

Could someone explain the reasons for wanting to use dry cleaning instead of water?

Metric/English consistencyEdit

"The ideal flow rate is one gallon of solvent per pound of garments (roughly 8 litres of solvent per kilogram of garments) per minute, depending on the size of the machine."

Everywhere else in the article metric is given priority, so should this construction be reversed? Seems like it should unless the one gallon per pound is precise. If so perhaps the article should give english priority. (talk) 01:30, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

US and UK gallons have a different volume, it should be metric. I went ahead and removed the imperial measure from the text. (Drn8 (talk) 07:11, 14 January 2012 (UTC))


There's absolutely nothing on the history of dry cleaning here, which is actually why I went to the article in the first place. It's incredibly methodical and scientific, but nothing about dry cleaning except the dry cleaning itself is present. Anyone have any idea why? (talk) 10:40, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

I fail to understand what the (otherwise fascinating) history of Roman treatment of clothes with ammonia hydroxide has to do with the topic of dry cleaning. Yes, urine contains urea which decomposes into ammonia. Reasonably, they would have retained the original water content from the urine (100% ammonia would anyway have been near impossible to use without advanced protective gear), thus using a solution of ammonia, (and other cleaning agents) in water. Since dry cleaning by definition doesn't use water, all of this doesn't make any sense to me as a historical background to dry cleaning. In any case, no historical continuity is shown between Roman cleaning and later (19'th century) cleaning, so what the history is supposed to imply is unclear. Finally, the quoted reference appears to be an paragraph that begins with "I have read that ...", which really isn't up to shape as a reference. I won't remove this part now since the original author presumably had some reason to put it here. Cgonville (talk) 23:05, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

I may be of help here. The term “dry cleaner” first appeared on a list of one hundred occupations inscribed on a Mycenaean clay tablet dating from 1600-1100 B.C.E.[1]It was, thus, in Greece where the misnomer phrase first developed as a way to describe cleaning that was done without water. However, little is known about how exactly the Greeks experimented with non-water-based cleaning. The earliest detailed records of professional dry cleaners that can be sourced date back to the days of ancient Pompeii. Beginning around 79 B.C.E., laundry workers called “fullers” would wash white woolen togas and delicate clothing in warm water and a mixture of detergents: potash, nitrum, nitron, the crushed root of soapwart, animal and human urine, and special grease-absorbing clay called “fuller’s earth.”[2] The fullers would then press and tread the clothing underfoot in wooden basins for anywhere from twenty-four hours to three days.

The dry cleaners of antiquity were not the only ones to use non-water solvents for laundering. In 1716, a French book on arts and crafts, Secrets concernant les arts et métiers, listed turpentine as a special secret for removing grease and oil spots from silk clothing.[3] Though “spirits of turpentine” may sound like an elaborate euphemism for a raw witchcraft supply, turpentine is an organic solvent made from the distilled resin of certain pine trees.[4] Traditionally, turpentine has been used for medicinal purposes and as a thinner for oil paints, but the colorless oil’s clean, pine smell and antiseptic properties most recently caused it to become added to cleaning products. Whiskerfixer (talk) 02:03, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Re: Why dry clean vs wet wash?Edit

I think it's main purpose was to retain the clothes original form, shape, size, and color. Dry cleaning method were much more effective in preserving most fabrics as they were vs traditional wet wash.

Some garments cannot be washed in water because they can be permanently damaged, usually the result is shrinkage, for example a winter jacket may have internal insulation that shrinks in water, despite the outside material of the jacket being washable in water. The fabric care label for the jacket will clearly state "dry clean only".

Dry cleaning is also more effective for some stains, for example grease which needs hot temperature in wet wash.

i dont really kno much about it cause NOTHING WILL TELL ME!! ---

I removed supercritical CO2 as a modern method; there is no commercial process utilizing supercritical CO2. It is liquid CO2 that is used. Also, the description mentioned inconsistent results when consumer reports rated this method the best among conventional or alternative in their testing.

I changed it back to supercritical. The link pointed to supercritical CO2, and therefor changing its description to liquid CO2 wouldn't be correct. Maybe the link should be changed, although I would think maybe add another bullet for liquid would be better. Xiph1980 (talk) 22:46, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Not sure if this is appropriate to mention, but I thought this was a very well done page. - John

The solventEdit

Is the solvent gaseous or liquid?--Santahul 16:29, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

It's liquid. --Los3 16:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

The Millonare FactoryEdit

Business speaker Brian Tracy claims that Dry Cleaning business' are the number one way that people become self made millionares in the United States. I wanted to see if there was a factual basis for the claim and came to this article. Does anyone know of a document that address Dry Cleaning as an industry and would that be an appropriate topic to add here?


This article has only one citation, in the first paragraph. I read the article listed as a reference and most of this page has been lifted word-for-word from it, and also includes information NOT found in the cited source. Does anyone else have a problem with this? I assume this page has been edited by people who are in the drycleaning industry and have the knowledge without needing to look it up, but since we can't know that, I think more sources are needed. -Angela 17:35, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

edit explanationEdit

“As of 2004, South Coast Air Quality Management District funding for silicone-based solvents (i.e., GreenEarth) has been suspended.” I removed this sentence because it is misleading. What’s really going on in California is that SCAQMD is providing financial incentives to drycleaners who switch from perc to certain alternative solvents, and D5 is not included in the program. California has banned the installation of any new perc machines and is beginning to phase out ALL perc machines and chemicals by 2023. GreenEarth is not regulated by SCAQMD or the EPA; saying that “funding has been suspended” makes it sound like it is not an acceptable alternative when in fact it is. Check Wet is the New Dry by Linda Immediato of the LA Weekly.

Also, nothing under the "environment" header is actually related to the environment. All the information in that section is about alternative solvents, which should be merged with the "solvents" section below.Anheyla 15:57, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Environment section is taken care of, I also added health and safety, just to be more comprehensive. Skasnotdead 21:11, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

new technologiesEdit

I would like to point out a new technology here in the discussion and allow another more "article friendly" person include it as deemed appropriate.

R. R. Street & Co introduced a system they call Solvair. They consider it a CO2 machine, but it is a combination of glycol ether wash and CO2 rinse (reclaiming all of the glycol ether and reclaiming almost all of the CO2) As with other CO2 machines, there is no dry cycle. clothes dry as the chamber is de-pressurized. The combined process is claimed to provide excellent cleaning power along with the benefits of CO2.
Drycleaning & Laundry Institute solvent comparison by National Clothesline has a brief description.
First machine in a retail store: Solvair Ribbon Cutting by American Dry Cleaner.
Patent (other related patents are referenced) USPTO Patent
Product website: Solvair Cleaning Systems --Belfdawg 04:56, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Needs multiple non-primary sources. Not yet to be included in article. Kl4m

Unreferenced section tagEdit

Some of the uncited items questioned are cited in the sections "Health and Safety" and "Environment" in the article, as well as in the Wikipedia article Tetrachloroethylene (aka perchloroethylene, perc). We may still want to be sure that they're cited the section "Process", but we should be able to do that fairly easily. -- 21:57, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

MSG once used in dry cleaning?Edit

I have no source for information relating to MSG being used many years ago in dry cleaning except for an asian guy I once knew had barrels (empty) of MSG, at the time I did not know what it was and he informed me that it was "used in dry cleaning and chinese food". Please someone help me out here, for my info keeps getting removed from the MSG article because of unsupported facts. Thanks you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Krzxbleach (talkcontribs) 20:20, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

More info on Dry Cleaners themselvesEdit

There's definitely much to discuss, for example.. why are there so many dry cleaners when demand is so low, and how do they keep in business with so few customers? Or... perhaps criticism on how poor a job many do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

how doneEdit

how is dry cleaning done? Machine? If machine, is it available in malls' appliance stores? I haven't seen one here in Davao City. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:13, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Dry cleaning is done in a very expensive computer-controlled machine that should be operated only by trained, experienced professional dry cleaners. Prices for a professional machine range from $36,000 to $67,000, depending on capacity. You will not find these machines in a public place, outside of a dry cleaning plant. (Prices approximate, based on known quotes for machines made by the Union company) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tkeenze (talkcontribs) 14:23, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Green CleaningEdit

Beware of dry cleaners making claims about dry cleaning your clothes using “organic” or “natural” methods. Marketing claims for dry cleaning are not regulated like food claims. The National Cleaners Association, a dry cleaning industry trade group, says some operators are using these terms in blatantly misleading ways.

What is organic dry cleaning?

When a food product has an FDA-regulated “organic” label, consumers can trust that no harmful chemicals were used in its manufacture. But “organic” means something very different when it describes the chemicals used in dry cleaning.

In dry cleaning, “organic” only means that the chemicals used to clean clothes are structured on a chain of carbon, the element found in all organic compounds. Gasoline is organic, and so are most of the petrochemical solvents used by the dry cleaning industry for the last 150 years.

Dry cleaners marketing “organic” cleaning methods are technically accurate but socially irresponsible. They are counting on you not to understand the difference between a chemical-free “organic” peach and a petroleum-based “organic” dry cleaning chemical.

The dangers of “organic” cleaning methods

If your cleaner claims to be using “organic” methods to clean your clothes, they are using either perchloroethylene, also known as PCE or perc, or petroleum (hydrocarbon) solvent, often marketed under the brand names DF2000 or EcoSolv.

Perc is considered by the EPA to be an air and water toxin and dangerous to human health. Exposure can lead to increased risk of cancer, reduced fertility and eye, nose and throat irritation. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 85% of dry cleaners still use this 1940’s era solvent.

Many dry cleaners also use hydrocarbon solvents. According to Judith S. Schreiber, chief scientist for the New York State attorney general’s Environmental Protection Bureau, hydrocarbons are “a cleaned up version of gasoline” and only slightly less toxic than perc. Hydrocarbon solvents are classified by the EPA as VOCs (volatile organic compounds), they are likely contributors to smog formation. They are also listed by the EPA as neurotoxins and skin and eye irritants for workers.

Environmentally safe dry cleaning methods � CO2 Cleaning. Converts CO2 gas under extremely high pressure to a liquid. Avoid CO2 cleaners using Solvair systems, which use glycol-ether during the wash cycle. Glycol-ethers are a family of VOC chemicals used in antifreeze and household cleaning products.

GreenEarth. Uses liquid silicone, essentially liquefied sand. Clear, odor-less and non-toxic, silicone degrades to sand and trace amounts of water and CO2 when released to the environment. Excellent fabricare benefits.

Professional Wet Cleaning. Uses water like home washing machines. Be sure to inquire if 100% of dry cleaning uses this method and whether detergents and pre-spotting agents have toxic or VOC properties. Wet cleaning machines drain directly into the city water system.

The following information is a portion of an article published in the New York Times January 11, 2009:

"Government and environmental watchdogs say many cleaners are turning to methods that are only slightly less toxic than perc. The National Cleaners Association, a trade group, says some businesses are using the term “organic” in a blatantly misleading way — not in the sense of a chemical-free peach, but in the chemistry-class sense of containing carbon, the element found in all organic compounds, including perc.

Under that standard, noted Alan Spielvogel, technical director of the cleaners’ association, “I could clean garments with nuclear waste and I could call myself organic.”

Although there are government standards for organic food and energy-saving appliances, there is no such certification of what makes a dry cleaner green. But environmental experts say technology is readily available to replace toxic chemicals in dry cleaning. And while about 85 percent of the nation’s estimated 36,000 dry-cleaning shops still use perc as their primary solvent, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, many cleaners have started to embrace the new methods.

The environmentally preferable choice for dry cleaning, experts say, involves little more than water. In a process known as wet cleaning, garments are washed with water and biodegradable detergents in computerized machines that carefully control variables like agitation. Most stains are water soluble, and most items labeled “dry clean only” can be professionally wet cleaned without shrinkage or damage, studies have found.

Cleaners who use wet cleaning say it does a better job of removing some stains than traditional dry cleaning — which, despite its name, is actually a wet method that immerses clothes in a liquid solvent.

But wet cleaning has been a tough sell among cleaners because it requires training on new equipment and because of the potential liability cleaners face for defying the “dry clean only” label. Mr. Spielvogel said wet cleaning also has limitations; while it is fine for cottons and fabrics worn in warm climates, he said, it can damage heavy wools or structured clothes like suit jackets.

Still, many dry cleaners have added wet cleaning as an option, said Christopher White, the technical director of America’s Best Cleaners, a trade association with its own quality certification program. Among its 26 affiliate cleaners, he said, some already use wet cleaning for half to 70 percent of all garments.

Another green option for cleaners, experts say, replaces a solvent like perc with liquid carbon dioxide (CO2). But the method is rarely used because the equipment is too costly — up to $150,000 per machine — for the typical mom-and-pop dry cleaner.

Most cleaners weaning themselves off perc have switched instead to a hydrocarbon solvent that acts in a way similar to perc. But Judith S. Schreiber, the chief scientist for the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State attorney general’s office, said the solvent, which is petroleum-based, was “a cleaned-up version of gasoline” and only slightly less toxic than perc.

Many cleaners juggle multiple methods. At Meurice Garment Care, a cleaner with four locations in New York City and on Long Island, garments are cleaned with perc, hydrocarbon solvents or water, depending on the fabric and stain. Wayne Edelman, the company’s president, said wet cleaning had replaced perc as his business’s most used method.

Mr. Spielvogel of the National Cleaners Association said customers who cared about environmental practices should look beyond particular methods and question the cleaners: Do they dispose of hazardous waste safely? Do they recycle hangers? Do they use biodegradable plastic and packaging, or fuel-efficient vehicles?

He said his group would develop a “green cleaner” rating system this year to help consumers find the right cleaner, with ratings of up to five leaves posted on its Web site. Federal and state environmental officials advise customers to question cleaners about the solvents they use for both dry and spot cleaning, and to consider specifically asking for wet cleaning. Any newly dry-cleaned clothes that smell of chemicals, they say, should be returned or taken to another store for recleaning."

More information —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tkeenze (talkcontribs) 14:37, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

business marketingEdit

Many small businesses have a natural aversion to marketing. That’s understandable because marketing can be intimidating if you don’t know what makes marketing work, especially if you’re a dry cleaner.

In my marketing blueprint there are eight steps to successfully generating productive, response driven marketing results.


Marketing is a mindset. A mindset based on your own integrity and belief in your service. When someone asks you what you do for a living, instead of telling them you’re a dry cleaner, begin to think in terms of being a “problem solver.” Say something like, “I help people who enjoy quality clothing keep their clothes looking and lasting longer.” Or incorporate this problem solving mentality into your advertising messages.

Don’t use jargon or technical terms. Just speak in terms of solving your target market’s problems. Stress benefits, not features and show your customers you value results, not hype.


You must finally decide, are you a full service dry cleaner or a discount dry cleaner. Either way your dry cleaning plant, inside and out must reflect this decision. Your personnel, advertising and quality must reflect this positioning statement.

Here’s a 5 point checklist to help you decide if you’re reaching the right market. Ask yourself.

Do they have the money to pay for quality dry cleaning services? Will they’ll pay a premium for better service and quality if necessary? Where is the competition weak in my trading area? Which influential people or companies in my community can I service that will give me credibility and great references? How can I make sure my prospects know they need what we offer?


If you asked your best, most trusted customer, and I encourage you to do this. “What is it that makes dry cleaning so good?” “What do you value about the way your dry cleaner gets the job done?” “What do you value about the way your dry cleaner treats you?”

What makes marketing work is perception. There is very little difference in dry cleaning plants or laundries that use the same cleaning solutions, offer the same services and deliver on their promises. To do marketing right you have to consistently build a perception in the mind of the consumer about what makes you different.

Is it that you’re more trustworthy than your competition? More knowledgeable about difficult cleaning situations? Does your laundry have more modern resources or respond quicker to customer’s requests? What innovative marketing ideas have you implemented recently? Do you have the capacity to service large corporate clients or hotels? What about wedding gown preservation or fire restoration. Do you offer a shirt laundry or offer a dry cleaning drop box?


When you sit down to craft a persuasive results oriented marketing message, keep your problem solving mindset and target market in mind and think about what is the reason people need you, specifically to solve their dry cleaning problems. How do you know you’ve written the right message? When your prospect reads your message and says, “That’s Me!”

For example, to position yourself as the “tough stain remover” a headline like this would command immediate attention, don’t you think? “ Are you constantly switching dry cleaners because of hard to remove stains?” See the difference?

Use the benefit of your service from your client’s point of view. Ask yourself, what is the problem most of my customers face? How can my unique talents, resources, people and services best meet and solve these challenges?

This is why non-intrusive marketing vehicles like newsletters, e-zines and community based sponsorships are so persuasive and powerful. You can deliver this message in the form of articles, samples, case studies and educational materials in a way that your customers and prospects will appreciate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

How many commercial dry cleaners are there in the United States? How many wire coat hangers and plastic bags do they distribute each year (few seem to be recycled; can that kind of plastic be recycled?) thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Not when, but what?Edit

The article contains these two sentences: "In 1993, the California Air Resources Board adopted regulations to reduce perc emissions from dry cleaning operations. The dry cleaning industry is now when? beginning to replace perc with other chemicals and/or methods."

I think 'when?' should be fairly obvious: since 1993 in response to the regulatory action just explicated. However, the article would be greatly improved if it stated what other methods were now considered acceptably safe and effective (if any). Much further on, the article does discuss several "modern" solvent alternatives, but perc is included in that list, so obviously it is not 'modern' relative to the post-1993 regulatory environment. Dlw20070716 (talk) 02:18, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


I removed a few sentences that contained 20 instances of the word "Spencer". These sentences seem to have been tacked in to the section as a sort of advertisement. (Drn8 (talk) 22:30, 30 August 2011 (UTC))

Personal dry cleanersEdit

This has little relevance to the article itself, but I cannot find a personal unit to purchase. My grandmother wants a unit for her house and I cannot find one. How can I find a personal unit? - (talk) 20:50, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

"Dry clean only"Edit

Something this page doesn't address is why some clothing items and textiles are said to be "dry clean only". It's something I've always wondered! It would be great if someone could add a section addressing this. - (talk) 01:31, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Dry cleaning leather jacketsEdit

Does dry cleaning a leather jacket help getting rid of bedbugs, in the case you suspect you might have that issue? if so, do you think this would be worth mentioning in the article? Norum 00:44, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

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  1. ^ C.M. Bowra, Classical Greece (New York: Time, 1965), 32.
  2. ^ Walter O. Moeller, The Wool Trade of Ancient Pompeii (Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 1976), 19-22.
  3. ^ Van Sigworth, “Dry cleaning” in Encyclopedia Americana. vol. IX, revised edn (Connecticut: Grolier, 2001), 425.
  4. ^ “Turpentine.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (Chicago: World Book, 2016).
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