Dry Cleaning

Industry Facts and Research

Issues for dry cleaning businesses


There have been issues with poor maintenance of small water-cooling towers in dry cleaners. The HSE advises alternative means of cooling. For more HSE guidance click here

Occupational Ill-Health

Hazards include musculoskeletal injury from manual handling of boxes etc, work-related upper limb disorders from repetitive sorting and packing work, noise induced hearing loss from noisy machines, respiratory irritation from breathing fumes such as chlorine, hypochlorite, ammonia and sulphur dioxide, and occupational dermatitis from chemical cleaners. There is also a burning risk from machines such as steam boilers. This leaflet advises on slips and trips, manual handling, solvents, steam boilers, electrical hazards and asbestos.


The Solvent Emissions (England and Wales) Regulations 2004 came into force on 20 January 2004 and give effect to European Directive 1999/13/EC, commonly referred to as the Solvent Emissions Directive (SED)

Proper control of solvents is a basic requirement in dry cleaners. With good solvent management and basic controls it should be possible to reduce exposure to perchloroethylene as measured by personal dosemeters to a fraction of the 50 ppm occupational exposure standard. Companies should carry out solvent monitoring as part of their control strategy and prepare effective emergency plans to deal with accidental releases or spills of solvent. Advice should be sought from the local authority for further advice on compliance with the Solvents Emission Directive. To download guidance document, click here

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)

See Working Safely with Solvents: A guide to safe working practices HSE 2014, INDG273(rev1)

British Standard for Dry Cleaning Machines

BS EN ISO 8230-1:2008

Safety requirements for dry cleaning machines. Applicable to machines of all sizes intended for industrial and commercial use for the cleaning of articles made of textile, leather, furs and skins, using exclusively either perchloroethylene or combustible solvent as the cleaning medium.

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