Process & Solvents
Garments for cleaning are first sorted, often by fabric type or colour, and checked for foreign objects such as plastic pens. Some items may be ‘spot cleaned’ by hand.
A rinse cycle follows, in which the load is rinsed with freshly distilled solvent. This prevents discoloration caused by soil particles being absorbed back on to the garment surface from ‘dirty’ working solvent. Finally, the solvent is extracted for reuse. The load is dried, in the same machine or a separate dryer, and all remaining trace of solvent is evaporated. Modern machines are capable of extracting and reusing up to 99.99% of the solvent used in the process.
Any buttons etc that came off during the wash cycle are sewn back on, and there may be additional spot cleaning to remove stubborn stains. Garments are then pressed, by hand or using an industrial steam press.
All solvents used in dry cleaning are strictly controlled by the Solvent Emissions Directive (SED). This prevents or reduces the direct and indirect effects of emissions of volatile organic compounds into the environment, mainly into air. It also limits risks to human health by specifying measures and procedures for certain activities.