Clothes can sometimes be special for you or you may have delicate dresses that need to look perfect on special occasions. And you also don’t want those delicate clothes to get damaged while cleaning. Then you may want to know about dry cleaning which is a process of cleaning clothes that uses a chemical solvent instead of water.
According to the report of GlobeNewswire, the global market for Dry-Cleaning and Laundry Services is projected to reach US$72.5 Billion by the year 2024, registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% over the analysis period. But, most people try to avoid dry cleaners because of the cost.
However, the dry cleaning method is an amazingly convenient way to clean your clothes and it is a process that removes dirt and stains from your clothes without the need for water. And it is one of the best ways to keep your clothes looking good as new. But, many people don’t know how dry cleaning actually works.
In this article, we have discussed how does dry cleaning work in a step-by-step process. Also, we have covered the different factors that affect the cost of dry cleaning and the future of the dry cleaning process.
So, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Factors That Effect The Cost Of Dry Cleaning Process
Now as you have a good idea of what the dry cleaning process involves, it is also essential to know how different factors can effect the cost of dry cleaning. And one of the main deciding factors of how much you pay for dry cleaning is the operating costs.
- Type of Garments: All fabrics are not the same. Because of that, some garments will require less time and care and some other garments such as delicate dresses will take more time and effort to make sure that they don’t get damaged while cleaning. So you should consider these factors before taking it to the dry cleaner.
- Type of Chemicals Used: Many dry cleaners still use dangerous chemicals and solvents, but some are now switching to environmentally friendly solvents to help the environment and also because the government mandates it. And it is more expensive to use eco-friendly dry cleaning solvents. However, it may still be worth the cost because you can protect both your clothes and the environment.
- Type of Service: Some dry cleaners usually offer a premium or express service and it is perfect for those who want their clothes quickly cleaned. However, these services generally come with a higher price tag, as express services can cost up to three times the standard rate.
How Does Dry Cleaning Work: Step-By-Step Process
The dry-cleaning process usually maintains a particular pattern that you will find in just about every dry-cleaning business. There are many steps involved to clean each garment. So, if you ever wondered how does dry cleaning work, here is the step-by-step process of how it works.
First, clothes are identified before cleaning, and this process varies for different dry cleaners. This step involves counting and describing each garment and then sticking a small, colored tag on each item with a safety pin or staple.
Also, others apply an iron-on strip to assign a barcode for their regular customers permanently. If there are any specific stains on your clothes that you are aware of, you can mark them using pins or tape.
If possible, you can make a list of stains for your dry cleaners. Because this list will make sure that your items receive care to your satisfaction.
Before they start the dry cleaning process, dry cleaning employees will also inspect each of your items by hand. So, they will also be able to make note of any stains that may need special attention during dry cleaning.
And, in this inspection process, dry cleaning employees get a chance to note any flaws, missing buttons, broken zippers, or other pre-existing damages that your garments may have.
Then, similar stained garments will be identified and cleaned together. Also, tagging guarantees that clothes are returned to the right customers after they have been cleaned.
2. Pre-treatment Or Spot Treatment
Before the machine-washing process start, the cleaner usually checks for and treats stains on the clothes. It would be very helpful for them if you informed the cleaners about what actually caused the stain to get the best results in removing it.
In the pre-treatment process, the dry cleaner will usually apply a stain removal agent to treat any pre-existing stains. These may be stains that you have identified or stains that the dry cleaner found during the inspection process of your clothing.
Sometimes, they also choose to remove or cover the delicate buttons during this stage of cleaning. This process will surely increase the effectiveness of the dry cleaning process and the result will be much better.
3. Dry Cleaning
The garments actually don’t stay dry during the process of dry cleaning. They are cleaned by soaking them in a water-free chemical solvent. There are different brands and types of laundry machines, but all of them usually have the same function.
The clothes are first placed in the perforated basket and are constantly being washed by a constant flow of cleaning solvent that is sprayed onto them. The dry cleaning solvent generally works by lifting stains and surface dirt away from the fabric.
During the dry cleaning process, the machines cycle the cleaning solvent through filters to make sure that it is completely purified and distilled before it is reused.
Now, most dry cleaners use modern computer-controlled dry cleaning machines. And as it does not use water, the dry cleaning process is safe for most delicate fabrics.
However, this dry cleaning process doesn’t remove every stain. So, you need to do a post-treatment process for some stains.
4. Post Spotting Or Post Spot Treatment
The dry cleaning process can effectively remove oil-based stains, however other types of stains can be resistant.
So, to maintain the highest quality of cleaning, all garments are given post-spot treatment. And spot removal is one part of a series of quality control which ensures that clothes look their best.
During water-based home laundry, wet stains generally come out during the washing process, but oil-based and grease stains can remain.
However, in the dry cleaning process, the opposite is true, because the dry cleaning solvents can remove grease stains, but the water-based stains must be removed in the post-spot treatment process.
Post-spot treatment generally uses professional equipment and chemicals to remove tough stains on the clothes.
Professional dry cleaners are skilled at identifying and removing water-based stains during this process and also preserving the quality of your garment.
Sometimes, even the most professional and experienced cleaners will not be able to remove the toughest stains.
The final step of the dry-cleaning process is finishing which includes – pressing out wrinkles to make sure that they are ready for your use, reattaching buttons, and making required repairs to restore the clothing to perfect condition.
Then the dry cleaners will do a final inspection of your clothing. After cleaning, to protect your belongings from the time you leave the cleaners until you return to your home, the cleaners will generally wrap your clothes in plastic garment bags.
And the plastic bags are provided to you only for your convenience and these are supplied to help you to bring your clothes home without any further stains.
It is recommended that you take them off as soon as possible because they could cause damage to your clothes because of moisture. Removing the plastic bags will prevent trapped moisture and undesirable odors from forming.
When Dry Cleaning Is Required
Depending on factors such as the style of clothing you mainly wear, the type of fabrics you wear, your lifestyle, and also the climate where you live, the frequency with which you should dry clean your clothing will vary greatly.
However, most fabric items are usually made with built-in tags that include fabric content information and also instructions for cleaning and care.
And the care instructions tag is definitely a good place to start. However, it is not always easy to determine how accurate those care instruction tags really are.
As many clothing items represent significant financial investments, you would definitely want to choose the correct method for cleaning.
If your clothing item is made of a delicate fabric, rayon or rayon-blend fabric or fiber that you are not familiar with or have never cleaned before, then dry cleaning may be the best course of action.
And if you have any doubts or questions, you can always consult a dry cleaning professional.
Why Some Items Can Not Be Dry Cleaned
The dry cleaning process generally depends on the use of chemical liquid solvents like PCE. And certain types of fabrics simply can’t hold up to the strength of these solvents.
That is why, fabrics that are plastic-based, such as PVC, polyurethane, and neoprene, should never be dry-cleaned.
Because of the composition of these fabrics, the dry cleaning process can seriously damage these types of items.
Also, very fragile fibers like raffia and straw cannot endure the strength of those professional cleaning solvents. So, you need to spot-clean these items with a gentle washcloth.
However, certain types of soft leather items require more and more careful processing, so you should only select those dry-cleaning establishments that can handle the task.
And as even the dry cleaning process can do damage to fragile fibers, you may want to go to an experienced dry cleaner that you can trust.
Finally, if you have questions about what can and cannot be dry cleaned, you can also consult a professional dry cleaning business.
Future Of Dry Cleaning
Petroleum-based solvents have been used in the dry-cleaning process for many years. However, there are always advancements, even in this field. Some of the latest ideas for dry cleaning include the use of CO2 as a cleaning solvent.
And it has proven to be extremely effective and also much less dangerous for employees of dry cleaners than using the carcinogenic PCE.
However, the machines which are required to convert CO2 from gas into liquid for this process are really expensive. So, it is only available in some selected high-end dry cleaning establishments.
But, what we know for sure is that people will always have delicate clothes that need to look perfect for some special days. And if there is a demand, more innovations will definitely come even in the field of dry cleaning.
Wrap Up On How Does Dry Cleaning Work
Dry cleaning is definitely an excellent option for those people who want to keep their clothes clean and looking good as new. And you could do this process at home, however, it is still best to take your clothes to a professional dry cleaner.
Also, you need to know the disadvantages of the dry cleaning process before you decide whether or not it is right for you. However, it is important to remember that it has many benefits that make this service worth paying for.
And most professional dry cleaners usually provide many different services which can save you time, stress, and money.
And as we are all busier than ever, many cleaners also offer pickup and delivery services to make the dry cleaning process as convenient as possible for you.
I hope you found this article helpful because when you learn about the process of dry cleaning, you will understand that it is a wonderful service that you’re lucky to have access to. If you have any questions about this topic, please let us know in the comments below.
FAQ: How Does Dry Cleaning Work
As many people don’t know how exactly this process works, they have lots of questions about it. Here I have answered some of the most relevant and frequently asked questions about dry cleaning.
Q1. Does Dry Cleaning Remove Body Odor?
Ans: Dry cleaning usually doesn’t work so great on odor issues and that is especially true of odors that are mainly caused by perspiration. So if you have a garment in need of cleaning specifically because it stinks, then you should consider some alternative options.
Q2. Do Clothes Last Longer If Dry Cleaned?
Ans: The solvent that is used in the dry cleaning process penetrates deeply and removes the tough stains that decrease the garment’s value. So, your clothing will maintain that fresh and new look for a much longer period of time.
Q3. Is It Worth Getting Clothes Dry-cleaned?
Ans: Sensitive fabrics can sometimes fade in color or stretch in shape in a washing machine or a dryer. So, by using a professional dry cleaning service, your clothes will last much longer so you don’t need to replace them as often, which will ultimately save you money.