Common Questions About Dry Cleaning

It’s always a frustrating experience when you ruin a favorite garment by improperly washing it. In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that some fabrics cannot be washed in a standard washing machine. This is why it is important to always check the tag–and to believe it if it says “Dry Clean Only.” But exactly what is dry cleaning?

What is dry cleaning?

The name can be a bit confusing, as our usual understanding of cleaning involves washing things with soap and water. The “dry” part of the name is an indication that no water is used, as it can damage some fabrics. However, there is still liquid involved. A variety of cleaning solvents can be used to pre-treat stains and launder the garments.

How does dry cleaning work?

Stains are usually treated by hand before the clothes are put into machines with cleaning solutions. After a period of agitation, they are dried and pressed. After cleaning, the remaining solvent is distilled and filtered to purity it from dirt, oil, and other waste residues. Then, the purified solvent can be stored and reused.

Does dry cleaning shorten the lifespan of clothing?

This is a common myth, but fortunately, it is exactly that—a myth. Dry cleaning your clothes can actually lengthen their lifespan. It accomplishes this by effectively loosening and removing dirt and debris that can rub against the clothing fibers, wearing them out and causing premature damage. In addition, dry cleaning removes stains that would render clothing unwearable. This technique also helps preserve the colors of your clothes.

What happens if I don’t dry clean my clothes?

It may be tempting to wash that “dry clean only” shirt in the regular washer to try to save yourself the hassle of taking it to the cleaners, but you may end up causing yourself more hassle instead. When you don’t follow the cleaning instructions, you risk damaging the garment. It may shrink significantly, stretch out of shape, tear, bleed dyes, or cause pilling. Dry cleaning is a gentler process and is safer for delicate fabrics, sequins, and lace.

What is “green” dry cleaning?

There is a growing demand for eco-friendly cleaning solvents in the dry cleaning industry. There are a number of biobased solvents certified by the USDA that are now available, which are composed of renewable materials or biological products. Other alternatives are wet cleaning with milder detergents and specialized machines, or cleaning with liquid carbon dioxide.

In hot climates, clothing can become soiled with sweat more quickly, so it is important to take proper care of garments to maximize their lifespan. If you need same-day dry cleaning in Tucson, Sparkle Cleaners offers prompt and reliable service at several convenient locations throughout the city. We only use biobased cleaners that are approved by the USDA, so you know you are keeping both your family and the environment safe. Call (520) 624-2369 for more information.