Dry-clean-only clothes are often a necessity for those who work in professional environments. Unfortunately, dry cleaning clothes has all sorts of nasty side effects. The whole system uses toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc on the environment and aren’t too healthy for you either.
So, what’s the alternative cleaning method? Perhaps, you’ve noticed signs for green dry cleaners popping up around your town. What is green dry cleaning? And, how do you know if the process is really environmentally friendly?
Let’s start with a quick primer about why dry cleaning green is so important. The problem with traditional dry cleaning is the chemicals. Perchloroethylene (perc), the main chemical, has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the Association on Research for Cancer. Short-term effects on people have included damage to the nervous system and long-term health effects on the liver and kidneys. Perc can spread through many parts of the environment: absorbed into plants through the ground, harm marine life through local runoff, and seep into the local water supply.
Luckily, there are three green dry cleaning alternatives.
Many small mom and pop cleaners who are trying to get away from using perc are changing over to DF-2000. Although DF-2000 is less toxic than perc, it is still a petroleum-based solvent and has its own set of problems. Most environmentalists would not call it a true green alternative. Ask your local green dry cleaner what they’re using and try to find an organic dry cleaner if possible. However, if your choice of green dry cleaners is limited, then DF-2000 is better than nothing.
What makes a dry cleaner organic? Organic dry cleaners use liquid CO2 and organic detergents that do not harm the environment. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occuring substance and does not have any known carcinogenic effects. The liquid CO2 dry cleaning process has near-zero impact. The CO2 removes stains and then evaporates harmlessly back into the air.
The best alternative if you want a green dry cleaning process is to do your own steam cleaning at home. Steam vapor can kill germs and disinfect without using any chemicals. There are many inexpensive steam cleaners on the market. For those who must dry clean often, going green with steam cleaning can also turn out to be a money-saving change.
Whether your choose to do it yourself or go to the green dry cleaners, now is the time to make a switch from the same-old process. Don’t put your health or community in danger any longer. Now that you know the best dry cleaning alternatives, there is no reason not to start green dry cleaning.