Greener Dry Cleaning

The chemicals used in dry cleaning are damaging to the environment and hazardous to your health.  The main chemical that is used in dry cleaning is perchloroethylene, often referred to as perc.  According to the EPA, the main effects of perc in humans  “are neurological, liver, and kidney effects following acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure.”  As bad as it is, sometimes dry cleaning cannot be avoided.  Chris Baskind on offers the following 5 ways to make your dry cleaning greener:
Find a progressive cleaner
Seek out a professional who offers non-perc dry cleaning. There are three popular alternatives right now: high-pressure cleaning using liquid carbon dioxide; silicone-based cleaners (known as GreenEarth cleaning); and high-tech, computer-controlled wet washing. Of the three, Consumer Reports found that liquid CO2 performed even better than old-style perc. GreenEarth was close behind. CR’s testers were not impressed by the wet washing results. GreenEarth offers a convenient directory for locating an affiliated dry cleaner in your city.
Consider personal dry cleaning
Home dry cleaning kits - such as those manufactured under the Dryel brand by Procter and Gamble, and by Clorox as Fresh Care - are certainly not chemical-free, and you shouldn’t expect results identical to professional cleaning. But they don’t contain perc, and might be an alternative in areas without eco-friendly cleaners.
Opt for the washer
Modern washers with gentle cycles are often suitable for items you’d consider hand washing, such as cashmere. If you’re planning to upgrade in your laundry room, consider a front-loading washer. They’re more water-efficient than conventional models, and the money you’ll save on laundering your own delicates will more than make up for the purchase price.
Steam away dirt and odors
Sometimes a little is enough: Steam clean lightly soiled articles in your dryer. Place delicates in the dryer with a damp colorfast towel and a scented sachet (for freshness). Run a normal cycle.
Re-evaluate your wardrobe
The best way to reduce dry cleaning pollution is to stop buying clothes which require it. With the tremendous variety of low-care fabrics available these days, thoughtful shopping can pay-off in reduced cleaning costs - and a lighter environmental footstep. Get into the habit of checking  labels in the store, and press online merchants to disclose cleaning care requirements before you buy. Manufacturers respond to consumer demands - so be demanding when it comes to your clothing purchases!

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