Often, your favorite items of clothing cannot be laundered in your washer or even hand-washed. The label clearly says to dry clean, but you may be hesitant because you hate the idea of chemicals on your clothing. Fortunately, more and more cleaners offer eco-friendly dry cleaning services that get your clothes clean and protect you and the environment. When it comes to your "dry clean only" items, use a "green" dry cleaning operation.
Traditional Dry Cleaning
When you enter a traditional dry cleaning shop, you can smell the chemicals in the air. When you put on your clean garments, the smell of chemicals follows you wherever you are going. The smell is often unpleasant, but more importantly, the chemicals themselves are hazardous. A majority of dry cleaners still use perchloroethylene, also known as Perc, a chemical that can have negative health effects. For some people, it causes headaches, nausea, and other problems. People who are exposed to Perc for a long period of time may develop some forms of cancer as well as liver and kidney impairment.
Perc is also harmful to the environment. It is a hazardous waste that must be carefully disposed of by professionals. If it gets into the air, water, or soil, it can harm wildlife and plants as well as humans.
A green dry cleaner has several options. They can use CO2 to clean your clothing. Pressurized CO2 is pumped into a machine, and the substance gets rid of oils and dirt that are ground into your shirts and dresses. Although some of this liquid is released into the air, the amount is small, and the method is far safer than using Perc.
Another safe cleaning method involves using silicone to get rid of dirt and unpleasant smells from your wardrobe. So far, this method has been found safe for the air and is not associated with health problems in humans. Other methods are also touted as safe alternatives to using Perc, but not all of them have been found to be truly non-toxic.
You no longer need to have your prized wardrobe items cleaned in dangerous chemicals. Although many dry cleaners may still use Perc, others are turning to ecologically safe methods. When you use a green dry cleaner, your clothes will look great, smell good, and not cause headaches, dizziness, and other unpleasant side effects. Looking good while feeling nauseous and polluting the environment is not a "clean" situation.