The Types of Dry Cleaning

What are the different types of dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is any cleaning of garment and textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. During dry cleaning, little or no water is used to remove dirt and stains from the fabric of your clothes. Dry cleaning solvents like perc is used to treat the stained and dirty materials before the dry cleaning process starts. The garments are then placed into the washing chamber of dry cleaning machine to loosen embedded dirt. The washing chamber contains a horizontally perforated drum that rotates. The cleaning fluid is then filtered off and send to the distillation unit.

Machines using hydro carbon solvents need a wash cycle of at least 2 minutes because of the slower rate of salvation. After the wash cycle is the rinse cycle. The garment gets rinsed with fresh solvent from the distillation tank. This rinsing prevents the garment’s discoloration. After rinsing and no more solvent can be spun out from the fabric, the machine stats the drying cycle. A stream of warm air at a higher temperature is opened on the garments. This evaporates traces of solvent left, however the temperature is controlled to protect the clothes from heat damage. The garments are then cooled by circulating cool air over the clothing, then they are ready to be ironed.


Perc is the commonly used dry cleaning solvent. However it can easily cause color fading on garments at higher temperatures. This solvent is most preferable for oil based stains. It leaves a signature chemical smell on clothes. The upside is that it is nonflammable.

Carbon dioxide cleaners

It is perceived as a superior cloning method, however it is expensive starting from the dry cleaning machine. It is most effective for removing toxic residues, soot and odors of fire.


The process uses petroleum based dry cleaning solvents. Hydrocarbon dry cleaning usually takes a longer cleaning cycle because these solvents are less aggressive than perc. Hydrocarbon solvents include Chevron Phillips among others.

Liquid silicone

It is preferred for soft fabrics. It is gentle in fabrics and does not cause color fading. It does not produce toxic wastes but it is more expensive than perc.

Glycol ethers

They are more environment friendly compared to perc. They include Rynex and Solvair.

Eco dry cleaning

It is based on using environmental friendly nontoxic solvents in the cleaning process. Perc which has been in use since the 1940s has been deemed to produce toxic wastes that cause cancer in rodents. Eco dry cleaning therefore applies to any type of dry-cleaning that does not use perc. It includes Co2 cleaning, Green Earth cleaning and hydrocarbon cleaning

Hydro carbon cleaning uses a carbon based solvent that is less harmful to workers and the environment. However the solvent has shown characteristic of leaving strong odor on garments. Co2 cleaning involves converting carbon dioxide from gas to liquid which is then sued to clean the clothes. After cleaning the carbon dioxide is reconverted to gas and then disposed. It is the most expensive method of dry cleaning. Green Earth cleaning uses a silicone solvent that is practically nontoxic. When disposed, the silicone solvent wastes are fast in decomposing to silica, water and carbon dioxide. All research has deemed it the most eco- friendly dry cleaning solvent.

Wet cleaning

Some garments according to manufacturer’s direction require wet cleaning. Wet cleaning avoids the use of chemical solvents. It requires the use of a gentle washing machine, water and organic detergents. Wet cleaning requires necessary precaution to prevent color fading and shrinkage. It has been rated as the most environmental friendly method of garment cleaning. It does not use toxic chemicals and neither does it generate dangerous wastes and it is also less expensive.

Hand Laundering

Some clothes can perfectly be cleaned by hand washing using water and a soap. There are many types of soaps and detergents that people use to emulsify oils and stains on garments when washing. The soap is applied directly to the cloth but for soap less detergents they are applied to the water and allowed to lather before starting to wash. Necessary precaution shave to be taken during hand washing to prevent color fading and fabric distortion of the garments. It is a less costly and very eco-friendly type of garment cleaning.