Hanging limply (and let’s face it, rather messily) in the laundry room are several dry clean only items that I’ve been staring at for several months. Since my journey into green started, I’ve heard about the perils of conventional dry cleaning, though the solutions weren’t as readily known. So I’ve waited until I can wait no longer to deal with them.
It’s finally time to clean-up my dry cleaning pile with greener options!
As usual, I’ll provide a little background on why the dry cleaning shop around the corner may not be the best choice in terms of my health or the environment:
- Perchloroethylene (commonly known as “perc”) is a commercial cleaner used in most dry cleaning shops. A liquid solvent, it has been implicated in many health problems: nausea, headaches, kidney and liver damage, and even cancer.
- Most “finished” dry cleaned clothing comes home in a plastic bag and on one of those wretched wire hangers. I won’t keep the wire hanger so that’s wasted resources and the plastic is basically useless as well.
- Bringing home prec-infused clothing pollutes my indoor air as it off-gases, which isn’t good for my family or the animals living with us.
Three potential alternatives to perc include a silicone solvent called GreenEarth, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (known as siloxane or D5), and hydrocarbon solvents, which go by names like DF2000. So I could look for a dry cleaner that uses one of these chemicals, though it seems like that would be a slim possibility in my neighborhood.
Instead, I’m going to opt to dry clean my clothing at home. There are a couple of options now—Dryel and Dry Cleaner’s Secret—neither of which contain perc. You’ll pay more to buy the kit than to dry clean a few things commercially, but the upfront investment should pay for itself, since the kits do many sets of cleaning and last for a good long time. They’re cheaper and they’re greener!
And for future reference, I’m going to be looking out for the “dry clean only” tags on new clothing, steering clear of those options if I can to save the expense and the hassle of cleaning.
– Lucy goes green