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

My dry cleaning solvent's better than your solvent

Drycleaning machinesEvery dry cleaner has a dry cleaning solvent or fluid bias.

Most dry cleaners prefer perchloroethylene (aka perc), a chlorinated solvent known for it's grease cutting properties. They'll argue that other dry cleaning solvents and fluids - synthetic petroleum, siloxane, liquid carbon dioxide and hybrid glycol ether/liquid carbon dioxide - don't "clean as well as perc." And they'll vigorously rebut any claims that perc is a "cancer causing carcinogen."

Other cleaners favor synthetic petroleum (aka DF 2000 or EcoSolv), a hydrocarbon solvent. They argue that perc is way too aggressive. They decry the use of perc as harmful to the health of their customers and employees alike. And they (deceptively and misleadingly) position their solvent as "organic", "green", "non-toxic" and "environmentally friendly."

Truth is, this battle of solvents - my solvent's better than your solvent - is nothing more than a battle over dry cleaning dollars.

Here are some of the givens:

  • 97% of cleaners clean in either perc or synthetic petroleum.
  • The overwhelming majority of cleaners are ordinary, bang and hang cleaners.
  • Their quality of product is mediocre at best.
  • Their prices are low to competitive.
  • They offer same and next day service. Many offer 3 days pickup and delivery service.
  • Overall dry cleaning industry revenues are significantly down.

So why the battle of the solvents? Because these ordinary cleaners are battling for every dollar and, in many cases, the only differentiating factor amongst them is the broadness of their smiles and the type of dry cleaning solvent they use.

Green Earth logoLike perc and synthetic petroleum cleaners, I too have a bias. I clean in siloxane (aka Green Earth). That's because caring for bespoke, made-to-measure, designer, high fashion, specialty and couture garments imposes certain obligations on a cleaner. One such obligation is to use a dry cleaning fluid that's extremely gentle, non-dye stripping and odorless. A dry cleaning fluid that leaves your whites, creams and pastels brilliantly bright. Your colors intense and vibrant. All with the softest, silkiest feel. And zero solvent or fragrance odor.

Quite frankly, my choice of siloxane as a dry cleaning fluid for RAVE FabriCARE was a no brainer. I wouldn't want to be responsible for cleaning your bespoke, made-to-measure, designer, high fashion, specialty or couture garments in either perc or synthetic petroleum.

So where does this leave you, the consumer of dry cleaning services?

I believe that you have an obligation - to yourself and to your fine garments - to identify the specific dry cleaning solvent or fluid used by your cleaner. And to form an independent opinion whether that specific solvent or fluid is appropriate given your investment in your wardrobe.

I also believe that dry cleaners have an obligation to disclose to you the specific dry cleaning solvent or fluid they use. Clearly and unambiguously.

All dry cleaners have biases. What's your cleaner's bias?

How can I help you?


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