In order to safely clean your clothing, dry cleaners use a variety of solvents. Most solvents are classified as either water-based or perchloroethylene, and they use a small amount of detergent to help clean your garments. The detergent helps the dry cleaning machine to remove soil and prevent it from re-depositing on your garments.
The history of dry cleaning dates back to the early 1800s when the process was first patented. A dye worker in France named Jean-Baptist Jolly discovered that using kerosene on a tablecloth removed stains. He quickly realized that this technique could revolutionize the way people cleaned clothing. This innovative technique was soon adopted and eventually became the industry standard.
Modern dry cleaning machines use a closed loop system that recycles solvents and reduces air pollution. Detergents are added to the solvent prior to the dry cleaning process. The solvent is pumped through a cylinder that rotates to separate items. The air that leaves the cylinder passes through a filter unit to trap any solid impurities or soils that may have settled on the fabric. The filtered solvent then travels back to the holding tank.
The process is often opaque to the average customer, but once you know the steps, it is relatively simple. When you order dry cleaning, remember to order a Rinse and Dry Cleaning/Launder & Press service.