Dry cleaning takes about three to four hours to finish. Of course, the whole cleaning process depends on a lot of things. The level of dirtiness and the material type are just factors that affect the time it takes to dry clean.
One would always wonder how long it takes to dry clean. Such thoughts can sometimes put to mind some apprehensions whether to use it or not.
But often, we have our favorite pieces of clothing. And we always aim for these favorites to last longer. Should you wish for your most prized garment to last you for years, you should be able to know how to take care of them.
And when we say take care, we mean everything. It includes the use of any technology for regular cleaning depending on the clothes.
Dry cleaning is a cleaning method. It is a gentle way of taking care of your clothes. As the word itself implies, dry cleaning is a process of cleaning your clothes without the need for water.
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What are its benefits?
One of the main benefits of dry cleaning is that it does not get clothes deformed. Clothes that get in contact with water usually get wrinkled. Sometimes, it gets stretched. At times it shrinks. Dry cleaning is too gentle to do that to your clothes.
Another benefit of dry cleaning is that the stains do not mix in with water. Because dry cleaning cleans without the need for water, the stains do not get larger. It does not change its color and structure. Instead, it goes away.
Finally, some materials are not recommended for soaking. More on that later.
- All About Dry Cleaning
- Dry Cleaning Explained
- How it Works
1855, France. This was the year dry cleaning was born. Its discovery was accidental. It was when Jean Baptiste Jolly, a dyeing house owner, knocked over a kerosene lamp. The kerosene spilled all over a piece of clothing and did away with the spots, surprising Jolly.
The fabric was also never damaged.
Little did everyone know that kerosene is a product of oil distillation. It is famous for its effective role in being a solvent.
The tablecloth was the first dry-cleaned garment in recorded history. The mode of cleaning picked up fast in France. This specific mode of cleaning also spread in other countries.
Dry cleaning is a mode of cleaning that takes advantage of the power of solvents instead of water.
To keep matters simple, a specific solvent is applied to the stain until it dries. And in matters of the solvent, only the most gentle is used. It is to ensure that the solvent does not destroy the fabric.
Also, you should know that for every stain, there is a suitable solvent.
While most dry cleaning takes about 3-4 hours, it can be longer or shorter depending on many things. The most common is the level of dirtiness and the material types. A dry cleaner specialist would be able to determine the exact time the garment is dry cleaned.
Dry cleaning goes through many stages. Here, we take a look at these steps to understand the whole dry cleaning process.
- Examination of Clothes
- The Dry Cleaning Process
- The Drying Process
- The Final Stage
The first thing that happens is the examination of clothes. This ensures that you can identify the cleaning required.
During this time, you would be able to point out the level of wear and damage. Only when this is finished will the specialist be able to decide on the best method for cleaning.
Once stains are confirmed to be in the garment, you can decide on the type of solvent to use. Note that only the high-quality but gentle solvents are applicable for dry cleaning. They do not damage the fabric but ensure that the stains are out.
These solvents also do not cause shrinkage, nor does it result in allergic reactions.
Once the manual treatment of the stains is done, the garment goes into special drums. This is where the cleaning through steam treatment happens. Also, note that at times, this is the step where some solvents are added when necessary.
After the chemical treatment, the clothes are set for drying. At this stage, the drying temperature is set anywhere from 25 to 50 degrees Celsius. The temperatures can be adjusted, depending on the material of the clothes for drying.
Aside from this process being safe for the clothes, this is also safe for the environment.
The last stage of the process is the finishing stage. This includes processing, pressing, steaming, and ironing the garments. Also, whenever necessary, you can do some repairs.
These are the five steps on how to dry clean garments and other materials perfectly. This is safe. It also ensures that the garments are preserved, maintaining their brand-new appearance.
What clothes should be dry cleaned?
Garments that of fake or genuine leather, silk, and velvet needs to be dry cleaned. The same is true when it comes to garments made of pure wool or cashmere. If you have garments with ornaments like beads and sequins, dry cleaning works for them, too!
You cannot simply wash these things with water. Doing such would usually distort their shapes. At times, they also react and result in stretched or a shrunk appearance. Dry cleaning would not only protect these from fading, but it also makes sure to retain their shape.
For example, natural silk, when washed with water, loses its brightness. Garments that are of wool retain their size but diminish in their quality. The same is true with garments that are of cashmere, angora, and mohair.
Do dry cleaners actually clean your clothes?
In the US, dry cleaning is when garments are cleaned with a chemical solvent. It may contain little to no water. It cleans garments that usually distort with traditional water washing.
The word “dry cleaning” is not very accurate. In the US, dry cleaning cleans garments with a gentle, high-quality chemical solvent. The term is not 100% accurate because, at times, small amounts of water are used.
The main difference is that the amount of water is too little even to penetrate the fibers.
Dry cleaning is appropriate to garments that get distorted with the washing process. These types of garments cannot withstand the rigors of traditional washing and drying.
Dry cleaning ensures that the beautiful qualities of the fabrics are maintained. There is no shrinking. There is no stretching.
Aside from that, dry cleaning also saves you time. Some washing machines are not as efficient because they need hand washing as well. With dry cleaning, there is no need for extra procedures.
- Dry Cleaning Chemicals of the Past
Aside from its start with the French, a similar process was existent during Roman times. At the time, ammonia was the popular chemical to clean togas made of wool.
Wool shrinks when washed with warm water. But cleaning it with ammonia maintains its structure. After some time, petroleum-based solvents became popular. Examples of these are gasoline and kerosene. While flammable, they have been effective at getting rid of stains.
Around the 1930s, perc became popular. Perc is short for perchloroethylene, a chlorinated chemical solvent. While popular in the 1930s, the chemical solvent remains popular up to this day.
The only downside with perc is that it comes with a chemical odor. Also, it is carcinogenic to humans.
This led the US Environmental Protection Agency to encourage environmentally-friendly solvents.
This, then, paved the way for green dry cleaning. Green dry cleaning makes use of a carbon dioxide detergent system. Cleaning machines are also becoming green.
It was during this time that cleaning machines were made to apply pressure. The pressure is enough to draw liquid carbon dioxide through the fabrics. This would then result in the removal of soil and dirt.
Another difference with green dry cleaning is the absence of heat. This type of process is also known to be more gentle to fabrics than the traditional dry cleaning method.
Does dry cleaning remove body odor?
When it comes to body odor, dry cleaning is not that efficient. This is especially true for the odors that are from perspiration.
When faced with the issue of a garment with odor issues, consider your options. Dry cleaning is not that great when it comes to removing odor from garments.
One option is to take everything into your own hands. Yes, we mean handwashing. Handwashing would be able to remove the odor from the garment. While it can possibly shrink or stretch the material, this remains to be one of your few options.
Another option that you can take is to use an odor-neutralizing chemical to get rid of the smell. There are a few good options you can take note of. Just make sure that you have the right product for the garment in question.
Does this mean you should never dry clean at all? The answer is no. Dry cleaning is still an efficient way to clean garments. This is especially true with hard-to-remove stains like oil-based stains.
Dry cleaning is also effective at cleaning garments made of sensitive fabrics.
Also, dry cleaning is more efficient with your time than hand or machine washing. This is especially true for those that spend more time with work and have less time for home and chores.
Not only that, but dry cleaning is friendly to the environment as well. All these, and more, make dry cleaning the method of choice for many.
What cannot be dry cleaned?
Garments made from certain fabrics cannot be dry cleaned. These are those made of plastic, PVC, or polyurethane.
When a garment is properly cleaned, the piece of clothing lasts longer. It should look new for a long time. To ensure that this is so, different cleaning methods exist. This includes laundering. The other method is dry cleaning.
There are, however, garments that should not be dry cleaned. This depends on the garment’s fabric.
Dry cleaning is a method that makes use of a chemical solvent aside from water. This is the method preferred when cleaning garments made of sensitive fabric. Some fabrics cannot withstand the intensive washing of a traditional hand wash. Some are sensitive enough for the washing machine.
This paved the way for a method that is more gentle – dry cleaning.
But while it is a gentle method, there are still a few types of fabrics that should not be dry cleaned.
Dry cleaning employs the use of a chemical solvent. Certain fabrics cannot withstand these solvents. These materials are those that are of PVC, plastic, or even polyurethane. They tend to deteriorate in the cleaning procedures.
At times, it is a challenge to identify what should and what should not be dry cleaned. But with a few simple steps, one can make it as easy.
One of the most obvious places to check is the tag. It should let you know whether the fabric can or cannot be submerged in water. Fabrics like cashmere and wool shrink when submerged in water.
The same is true for certain kinds of silk, although silk can also be hand washed.
Other fabrics can withstand your traditional washing machine. Fabrics like cotton and polyester are some examples. But when these are incorporated in certain designs, even they should be dry cleaned.
One example of this is when cotton or polyester is stitched into a suit. This results in a more sophisticated suit. But even while the fabric is cotton, it should be dry cleaned when incorporated in a suit.
Aside from laundering, there are also added steps in caring for such garments. You should also take steps like ironing and pressing into consideration. Note that when a material is sensitive to washing, it is also sensitive to other methods.
This paves the way for the proper pressing techniques. You can wash some garments made of certain fabrics. But extra care should be taken during ironing. These are those made of chiffon, satin, and lace.
Dry cleaning provides a safer alternative to all these steps. This makes dry cleaning a more effective and safer way to clean. Not only that, but it is also a good alternative to pressing.
When it gets confusing on whether to dry clean or not, one should only understand the procedures. One should also have an understanding of the material type and the cleaning solvent.
Most garments are good with dry cleaning. There are a few more that should never go through the process. In times when one gets confused, seek advice from a dry cleaner specialist. They should be able to provide sound advice.