Dry cleaners exist all over the place. Often times people take items to a cleaner because the label says to do so, but people don’t really understand what dry cleaning is or how it works. The name itself is confusing. Should we believe that dry cleaning means there is no water involved? Why do we need to take certain things to a cleaner while other things we can wash at home?
The big difference between dry cleaning and regular wash is that dry cleaners use a chemical solvent to clean clothing rather than water. In the early days of dry cleaning, different chemicals were used to clean clothing, including gasoline. In the early 1930s, the modern solvent was developed. This solvent is called tetrachloroethylene but dry cleaners refer to it as perc.
Nowadays cleaners use machines that are much like a combination of a typical washer and dryer. The solvent mixes in to the machine and rigorously moves the clothing in an effort to clean it. The machine controls heat, keeping temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clothing is inspected to make sure there are no foreign items that could hinder the cleaning process. Much like regular wash, different colors are separated to ensure that dyes don’t leak on to white or light colored clothing. Dry cleaning does not automatically eliminate every stain, so individual stains are spot treated.
Most clothing and linen items will indicate whether or not they need to be dry cleaned. Often times, a label will say “Dry Clean Only”. This seems like a very stern warning that not doing this with your clothing could potentially ruin it. In case you are wondering, there are many reasons this label might be found on your clothing. The main reason is that common detergent and water could ruin the fabric and cause it to shrink. Different dyes could leak onto other clothing as well.
In general, clothing with this label should be taken to a dry cleaning place. If you wear the item a lot and want to save some money, perhaps you could try gently washing it by hand. Putting it in a washing machine might not be worth risk even though in many cases clothing that is dry clean only survives perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you have wool or silk clothing, it is always best to take it to a cleaner. The potential to ruin these valuable items is high if you wash them in your home washing machine.
Other items, like dresses and suits, should be taken to the dry cleaner as well. These are more expensive items and usually require additional care. Mixing them in with other clothes might not be the best thing for them. You should consider shirt laundering for any dress shirts you wear as well. Given that you don’t wear these items often in most cases, you don’t have to worry about frequent trips to the cleaners.
For more than 70 years, Pilgrim Cleaners has been proud to be your family-owned and operated complete Edina MN dry cleaners. We offer same-day service at the same price and you can always expect the finest quality dry cleaning and laundering services.