Koalaty Cleaners Blog

DRY CLEANING – IT’S NOT REALLY “DRY”

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Dry cleaning is really a “wet” process used to clean clothing by using a chemical solvent instead of water.

Dry cleaning was discovered in the mid 19th century by Jean Baptiste Jolly when is maid spilled kerosene on his tablecloth.  He noticed that it was cleaner after that.  He soon created a service to clean clothing with this process, and called it dry cleaning.

In those early years, dry cleaners used petroleum based solvents such as gasoline and kerosene.  Due to the flammability issues, an alternate, less flammable solvent was created by William Joseph Stoddard, an Atlanta dry cleaner.

After World War I, chlorinated solvents were used.  These solvents were much less flammable than the earlier solvents and cleaned much better.  By 1935, tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene or “perc”) was invented.  This solvent was nonflammable, stable and gentle to clothing.  There has been much controversy in the industry regarding perc, and it is now being replaced with other chemicals and/or methods for cleaning.  Koalaty Cleaners does not use perc and we are environmentally friendly in our cleaning process.

A dry cleaning machine is a combination of a washing machine and clothes dryer in one.  The garments are loaded into the machine and washed with dry cleaning solvent.  During the process, the solvent is collected, filtered, purified and reused.  After the garments are washed, they are rinsed with clean solvent and spun to remove all traces of solvent and cleaning fluids.

Once the spin cycle is completed, the machine starts the drying process.  The air is heated and circulated through the machine, removing any last traces of solvent.  After the drying cycle is complete, a last cycle cools the garments and deodorizes them by passing the air through a filter containing carbon and polymer resins.

Once the garments are cleaned, they are ready for finishing, pressing/ironing.

Dry cleaning can be used on virtually every type of fabric….the label does not have to say “dry clean” only.  However, if you are unsure whether a garment can be dry cleaned, please ask us when you drop off your order.

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