By September 12, 2013 Read More →

Wet Cleaning and Dry Cleaning Alternatives

dry-cleaningA lot of people have found ways on how to keep their houses and self clean without harming the environment, budget, and their sanity in the process. But what about wet and dry cleaning? Have you found the best alternatives to clean garments sans leaving harmful residues yet? While wet cleaning is dubbed to be a safer method than dry cleaning, both methods actually use chemicals, which can harm both your health and the planet you live in. Thankfully, we have gathered a number of wet and dry cleaning alternatives that’ll keep your garments, your budget, and your sanity spic and span just like what other eco-friendly cleaning tips can do for you.

Surveys show that 85% of dry cleaning businesses in the US alone still incorporate the use of perchloroethylene in their daily operations. This chemical is a colorless liquid with sharp stench and is quick to evaporate, and it’s mainly used in the dry cleaning industry because it is able to take out all sorts of stains in all types of fabric easily. What’s the catch? Studies show that Perchloroethylene can cause damages to liver, kidney, and even to the reproductive system of a person with prolonged exposure to it. In fact, it can even cause infertility to men. Meanwhile, people with constant yet quick exposure to it may experience headache, fatigue, eye, and skin irritation. With all of its horrific side effects, we can’t blame you if you now have second thoughts on bringing your favorite jacket to your local dry cleaning vendor, but you still need to dry clean those fashionable pieces that must only be dry-cleaned.

Dry Cleaning Alternatives

Hand Washing – Who says you couldn’t hand wash your jackets or your delicate garments? Who says it can only be cleaned thru dry cleaning? Water is the best solvent that Earth could produce and mixing it a bit with your favorite laundry powder or a mild soap will clean the fabric and will do it just fine. Slowly wash the clothing and focus on areas that are exposed to oil, dust, and dirt most of the time. Wash it well and avoid wrinkling it too hard. Air dry the fabric and slowly reshape it back to its usual form before hanging it. On the one hand, make sure not to expose the garment in the water for a long time. Hand washing is even better than wet washing or machine washing because you have the full control of the force exerted on the clothing.

Brushing – Slowly and carefully brush the dirtied area of the garment. Use a brush with softer bristles and don’t brush it very hard to avoid damaging the cloth. Use a microfiber cloth and don’t use just any microfiber cloth. Make sure to research its type first before using it. You don’t want to ruin your hundred dollar jacket just because of those microfiber cloths on sale, do you?
Spraying the spot – Fill a spray bottle with a baking soda solution. Make sure to spray the dirty part of the garment only. You could also use cheap vodka sans water to spray on the spot. Let it stay for a while on the area, and carefully rub it with dry cloth or microfiber cloth. You know, dry cleaning isn’t really 100% dry as it still uses a little amount of water, but not as much as wet cleaning requires.

Eco-friendly Wet Cleaning

Since the only to keep your clothes at bay from dry cleaning is wet cleaning, then opt for this method instead. Generally, wet cleaning is eco-friendlier than dry cleaning because of its use of water and non-toxic laundry detergents like hand washing. There are also a number of mild detergent powders that are capable of cleaning even sensitive fabrics like wool, silk, rayon, or linen. There are two ways to wet clean a fabric: hand washing and machine washing. One of the advantages of machine washing is the fact that you don’t need to exert much effort to clean the clothing since you let the machine do the work for you. All you have to do is buy a high-quality and eco-friendly washing machine; pour the required ratio of detergent powder to the number of clothing; and set the machine. However, machine washing may cause damage to select fabric like linens. Apart from that, non-green washing machines also consume tons of water compared to costlier green washing machine brands. On the contrary, hand washing may sound laborious, but you can be confident that your fabrics won’t get torn or pilled in the process because you have full control of the task. You could also save water by tossing the used ones to your garden.

On the one hand, if you really feel the need to go to dry cleaners because you don’t have enough time to hand wash the item, opt for green dry cleaners. A good dry cleaner should be using liquid carbon dioxide because it has no negative effects to both the human health and the environment since it’s captured from existing agricultural and industrial emissions.

About the Author:

A senior writer and editor of The Green Guide and a father of 3 kids (1 girl and 2 boys). Rob's special interests include geography, enviroment study and hiking. Rob has traveled to over 100 places in 30 different countries in the past three years. His exotic and fun experiences will be talked in his new book which is going to be published soon.

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