Every kind of cleaning uses a liquid solvent, the choice is about the solvent you choose. In traditional dry cleaning the solvent used is perchloroethylene, which as we have discussed in previous posts is highly toxic and potentially lethal, which is why it is so tightly controlled and regulated.
However, the most powerful solvent known is actually water. Water has the power to dissolve more things than any other solvent available and there are a lot of things that can stain your clothes that can only be removed with water. The problem is that you can’t put dry clean only clothes in a traditional washing machine without ruining them. This is because a lot of clothes include fibres that will shrink or distort when washed in the traditional way.
Researcher in Germany were determined to find out under what conditions different fibres would react badly. The results proved that every fibre can be washed, but they will tend to react in different ways. Some react badly to mechanical action, some to heat, some to the drying process, plus of course most dry clean only clothes contain a variety of different fabrics.
The biggest challenge was to find cleaning programmes that will provide the benefits of cleaning with water and delicate detergents, but without causing damage to the fibres. This level of control has only become available with the latest computer control systems.
By careful research and development, combined with advanced levels of control, fabrics that in the past could only be dry-cleaned are cleaned more effectively with the new processes and without the harmful toxic pollution. The research and development took years, but the result created a solution that is cleaner, brighter and safer.
Now that the challenges of cleaning natural fibres with water have been overcome the final question is how long it will be before the eco cleaners replace old style solvent based dry cleaners?
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