True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Ask Stu: Your questions answered by Stu

Q.

Ask StuMy dry cleaner tells me that his dry clean solution is clean and pure. Yet my clothes seem to smell of solution. What am I to believe?

Mary
Gainsville, Florida

A.

Corbis drop of waterMary, I'd believe your nose and not your dry cleaner.

Almost every cleaner will swear that they invest the time and money necessary to both continuously purify and continuously filter every drop of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid - before and after each load.

Don't believe that for a second.

The issue here is not whether the dry cleaning solvent or fluid is "clean and pure", but how clean and how pure? "Clean and pure" like bottled mountain spring water? Or "clean and pure" like the effluent from your dishwasher?

There are 3 critical things to understand about "clean and pure" dry cleaning solvent or fluid.

  1. Dry cleaning solvent or fluid must be continuously purified before and after each and every load. Every single drop. To remove all soluble impurities such as bacteria, residual dyes, body oils, oily-type creams and lotions, and food fats.
  2. Dry cleaning solvent or fluid must be continuously filtered during each and every load. Every single drop. To remove all insoluble impurities such as sand, skin flakes and hair.
  3. The dry cleaning machine's internal tanks and piping must be absolutely clean. To preclude contamination of the dry cleaning solvent or fluid by gunk in the machine's internal system.

This is where the confusion comes in.

  • Many ordinary cleaners are unclear about the definition of purification and filtration, and uncertain about the role of purification and filtration in the dry cleaning process.

 During the course of touting their "exceptional dry cleaning", one local cleaner's literature states that "distillation is the process of removing non-soluble by-products of the cleaning process (hair, dirt, pet dander) ... If your dry cleaner does not distill, those very same by-products will adhere to your garments." The literature goes on to say that "many of our competitors simply pass off the odor as unavoidable."

 Hogwash!

 This comment exhibits a clear lack of understanding of the very basics of dry cleaning.

 Here's why ...

 Odor in dry cleaned garments and household textiles can be caused by many different factors.

 However, the primary cause of odor in dry cleaned garments and household textiles is the presence of SOLUBLE impurities such as bacteria, body oils, oily-type creams and lotions, and food fats in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid.

 Sorry, but odor in garments and household textiles is ALMOST NEVER the result of the presence of NON-SOLUBLE impurities such as hair, dirt and pet dander in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid.

  • Many ordinary cleaners confuse continuous filtration with continuous purification and continuous filtration.

 It's the combination of continuous purification and continuous filtration that is absolutely critical to achieving superior cleaning results. Continuous filtration alone is completely unacceptable.

  • Many ordinary cleaners confuse continuous purification with inadequate or irregular purification.

Continuous purification is a simple concept: you clean a load of garments or household textiles, you purify the solvent; you clean a load, you purify the solvent; you clean a load, you purify the solvent; etc. Every single drop. Every single time.

You can't follow the "dry cleaning industry's highest standards" by purifying a meager 18 gallons of dry cleaning solvent for every 100 pounds of garments cleaned. And then expect your dry cleaning solvent or fluid to be free of impurities.

That's inadequate purification.

On the other hand, you can't clean a load, clean a load, clean a load, etc. and then purify. Once or twice a week. At the end of each day. Maybe. Possibly. If there's time. If the dry cleaning machine operator is not too busy.

That's irregular purification.

  • Many ordinary cleaners do not maintain their dry cleaning machines in spotless condition.

In many cases, their dry cleaning solvent or fluid holding tanks and separators are layered with sediment. And the internal piping is clogged with lint and other debris.

Even if they both continuously purified and continuously filtered their dry cleaning solvent or fluid, the machine's internal tanks and piping must be spotless. Otherwise, it's just like taking a bath in a filthy, scum-layered bath tub filled with fresh water.

So next time your cleaner tells you his dry cleaning solvent or fluid is "clean and pure", your response should be: how clean" and "how pure"?

If you have a question for Stu, send it to questions@ravefabricare.com.

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