A Greener Dry Cleaner
Dry cleaning can take a toll on not only your clothes but can reek havoc on your body and the environment. The dominant chemical used in dry cleaning, Perchloroethylene (“perc”), can contaminate our ground water and the air we breath. Not to mention, it can cause various health risks such as dizziness, nausea, and skin irritations in some people and, at high doses, liver and kidney problems, and may lead to cancer. For safer alternatives consider the following:
- CO2 cleaning, uses a liquid carbon dioxide instead of perc.
- Wet cleaning, which uses mostly water combined with non-toxic detergents and conditioners.
- Silicone based cleaning, known as “Green Earth” cleaning which uses a non-perc silicone based solvent.
- Do It Yourself , potentially your best option, learn how to clean your clothes so less dry cleaning of any kind is necessary. “Dry clean only” is not always required.
- If you have to use traditional cleaners, take the plastic bag off the garment asap and hang it outside, if possible, to allow the perc to evaporate before you bring it into your closet. And don’t forget to recycle those hangers.
But, I know the real question is whether the alternatives really get clothes clean? I’ve been taking my clothes to an organic dry cleaner nearby which uses a CO2 process and I have been happy with the results. Check out this article for a comparison of alternative methods along with the traditional perc laden process. (The CO2 process wins!)