Have you ever asked yourself questions after your clothes returned from the dry cleaners? If you have some sort of doubts about whether your clothes were truly dry cleaned or not, then maybe you need to understand what commercial dry cleaning and laundry are all about. Sometimes, dry cleaning is likened to laundry. But this is a misconception. The two terms have very separate meanings and processes.
What Is Dry Cleaning then?
Just like the name implies, dry cleaning involves cleaning cloth without the use of water. It involves using solvents to get rid of dirt on fabric. Some fabrics can be damaged with constant use of water on them. Fabrics like leather, silk, and wool are quite delicate and do not belong in a washing machine.
Asides the damage that water would do to these fabrics, the whole washing process that happens in a washing machine can be strenuous on fabrics, leading to tears, missing buttons, and reshaped fragile decorations. The result of moisture and mechanical action and heat is usually shrinkage, and some materials can simply not stand this treatment.
On the contrary, wet cleaning involves the use of a lot of water and detergent to eliminate dirt, dust, and odors from fabrics. Both methods are effective and useful for various fabrics.
The solvents used in dry cleaning are liquids other than water which dissolve substances. One of the most common solvents used in dry cleaning is perchloroethylene which you might know as perc. This solvent is preferred by a large number of dry cleaners and has been in use since the 1930s.
It is very effective in dissolving grease and oil without causing damage to the fabric. However, in recent times, organic-based solvents have recorded increased usability by dry cleaners as an alternative for perc.
How does dry cleaning work?
It might surprise you to know, but not all fabrics brought to be dry cleaned actually get dry cleaned. When you drop your pile off at the dry cleaners’, it still undergoes a round of selection, where materials made from washable fabrics are separated and do not undergo dry cleaning.
These materials are basically laundered with soap and water, but done in a special way- the moment the cloth comes out of the water, it is immediately ironed. This will remove the wrinkles from the laundering, and dry it instantly.
Delicate fabrics that come with a lot of decorations and fragile designs like beads, additional lace or sequins must be dry cleaned. You do not want to risk losing your decorations or worse, tearing your fabric while it is being laundered. Trained dry cleaners know just what material can and cannot stand the laundering process. A dry cleaning machine has four parts;
- The base tank where the solvent is held.
- A pump which helps the circulation of the solvent
- A filter which traps impurities removed from the fabric
- A wheel where the clothes to be cleaned is kept.
During the process, the pump will collect solvent from the base tank and pass it through the filter to ensure that any dirt in the solvent is trapped. The clean solvent will then be passed to the wheel and will interact with the items kept there, removing any impurities. The solvent then goes back to the base tank, and the process is restarted.
After the entire clothes are cleaned, the dry cleaning machine goes through a cleansing process where excess solvents are removed, collected, filtered, and sent back to the base tank. The cleaned clothes are then properly dried and sent to a drier.
Why clothes still smell after dry cleaning
For the complete elimination of odor, especially odor caused by perspiration, dry cleaning does not always do well. The process will conveniently take away stains, but if your main problem is a strong odor that you need to eliminate, then you might have to choose another option, as dry cleaning might just not get it done.
Here are some other options that you can take;
- Hand-wash your garment: This is really not a bad idea, and it is not as hectic as you might be thinking. When you hand wash your clothes, you know how to be gentle and at the same time rough, if you get my point. You know what areas to exert pressure on and what areas to focus on, unlike a machine.
- Use an odor-neutralizing product to get rid of smells.
Dry cleaning is a very effective cleaning method, and it is also very convenient. You need to be able to make a decision when it comes to your clothes. Consider the fabric, your urgency, your availability, what you actually need from the process, and you will be able to come up with a great decision for your clothes.
Our dry cleaners in London provide quality dry cleaning services. Our methods are proven and safe, and we are very efficient with this service. Contact us today by calling 020 73285621.
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