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What Kind of Cleaning Products Do Dry Cleaners Use?

The discovery of dry cleaning has revolutionized the way we clean our clothes. It has provided all the factors that regular cleaning lacks. It has become a washing option for delicate fabrics that the heat and water would damage in a traditional washer and dryer. Stains such as grease and oil require dry cleaning. If you have clothes and garments, you need help determining which washing method is necessary to clean them;  check the tags or have them cleaned by dry cleaners in Santa Monica, CA.

History of Dry Cleaning Solvents

Ancient Rome used ammonia to clean woolen togas to prevent them from shrinking in hot water. By the early 1800s, Jean-Baptise Jolly had discovered kerosene to wash clothes, and in the early 20th century, petroleum-based products such as carbon tetrachloride were used. They were later banned because it is highly toxic and was replaced by a less harmful solvent, perchloroethylene, or PERC. 

Dry Cleaning Solvents Used in Modern Day

Dry cleaning is most suitable for suits, evening gowns, and other delicate fabrics. It offers a range of benefits over traditional cleaning, making it an ideal choice for busy professionals. The solvents used in the cleaning vary depending on the type of fabric. Here is a list:

Tetrachloroethylene or PerchloroethylenePerchloroethylene (PERC) is a colorless, non-flammable solvent widely used for dry cleaning. It has excellent solvent properties, making it ideal for removing oil, grease, and other stains from clothing and other fabrics.

Although it is a broadly used solvent, it is a hazardous air pollutant linked to numerous health and environmental concerns. There has been an interest in alternatives and environmentally safe and less toxic dry cleaning methods.

Glycol Ethers

Glycol ethers are less toxic than PERC and have good solubility in water-based stains, such as those caused by food and beverages. It is compatible with silk and wool. While glycol ethers are less toxic and harmful than PERC, they still pose a danger to aquatic life and can contribute to pollution, primarily if not appropriately handled.

While a traditional laundry cleaning company in Santa Monica, CA, can remove water-based stains, dry cleaning is the most necessary washing method for silk and wool.


Another less aggressive alternative for PERC is hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are petroleum-based and have a less environmental impact than PERC and glycol ethers. It also works better for wool, silk, and leather fabrics. Hydrocarbons may pose a lesser threat; however, when mishandled, they can cause indoor pollution without proper ventilation because they are combustible. 

Liquid Silicone

Also known as decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), liquid silicone is an excellent dry-cleaning solvent because it is odorless and colorless, evaporates quickly, and leaves no residue. D5 is highly effective in removing stains from silk, wool, and cashmere without shrinkage damage. It is safe for consumers and the environment; however, D5 costs twice as much as other solvents.

Liquid Carbon Dioxide

Liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) is the safest solvent used in dry cleaning. The cleaning process is called CO2 cleaning or green earth cleaning. CO2 is becoming increasingly popular due to its environmental friendliness and ability to clean clothes without harm. However, some find CO2 to be weak at removing stains.

No matter which solvents are being used, their safe handling points out how they impact the environment and the consumer. Allowing professional dry cleaners in Santa Monica, CA, to clean your clothes will minimize these solvents’ dangers. Schedule a pick-up with Star One Cleaners now and have your clothes cleaned and delivered right to your doors.

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