Dry cleaning is a process that uses chemicals to remove stains from fabrics. This process is ideal for delicate fabrics that are difficult to clean by hand or by washing in a washing machine. Dry cleaning solvents range from petroleum-based fluids, such as perchloroethylene (PCE), to hydrocarbons such as hexane and benzene.
Petrol-based solvents are highly flammable and toxic. Because of their toxicity, dry cleaners have changed the type of solvents used. PCE, or perchloroethylene, was first synthesized in 1821 by Michael Faraday. But it was not until the early 1930s that it was used in dry cleaning. William Joseph Stoddard refined PCE and its uses in dry cleaning continued to grow, especially during World War II.
Dry cleaning has a long and rich history. The first dry cleaner opened in 1825 in Paris. This method involved soaking clothes in a vat of turpentine. These soaked clothes were then put into the predecessor of the washing machine. After the cloth was thoroughly soaked, it was then air dried to allow the turpentine to evaporate.
Dry cleaning is an effective method for cleaning garments. Unlike washing, dry cleaning does not use water, which can damage some fabrics. In addition, it can remove oil-based stains and other types of stains. This process can also be used to clean delicate decorations.