1. Dry cleaning means no water is used – Although clothes are still immersed in liquid, the liquid isn’t water – it’s petroleum based. By petroleum based, you could say relatives of kerosene or even gasoline. For some fabrics, water couldn’t be used for cleaning. This is because water can mess up the bonds between fibers causing them to be attracted to each other more and therefore shrink.
2. Dry cleaning was discovered by accident – In the 19th century, a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Jolly discovered that his tablecloth became cleaner when his maid spilled kerosene on it which started the use of petroleum-based solvents as clothes cleaners. (so guys, don’t be too harsh when people get into accidents around you. Who knows, it might make you rich!)
3. Some ‘Dry Clean Only’ tags and labels are a marketing gimmick – See some designer items that say ‘Dry Clean Only’? They are more expensive, right? Some of these items are actually better of hand washed- with water. Dry Clean Only tags give the impression (sometimes illusion) of clothes being of higher quality than others. While this is true for some fabrics and most trusted brands, it isn’t for all. Make sure your cleaners know how to handle designer items well.
4. That dry clean only item you are wearing could come from an animal – We all know wool came from sheep. But cashmere also is a type of wool from a cashmere goat. Angora comes from a rabbit and silk comes from silk worms. These fabrics need dry clean solvents for cleaning.
5. Some dry clean only items are actually a pain to maintain – Just because they are more expensive, doesn’t mean they are more durable. Some luxurious fabrics like cashmere and some wools have the tendency to sag when cleaned (yes, even if your cleaner was very careful). Please think twice before buying such items. And be ready to pay for their proper cleaning (nope, wash-dry-fold is not recommended
6. Dry cleaning machines look like regular washing machines – Except that the solvent being used is filtered then re-used. This is because of two things: 1. The dry cleaning solvent is expensive and 2. Some dry cleaning solvents could harm the environment if allowed to be incorporated into the sewers. Dry cleaning could also be done manually with equal or even better results.
7. Dry cleaning solvent technology is evolving – Better, more environment friendly chemicals are being developed for dry cleaning. Some of them are no longer petroleum based, like Liquid Silicone and Liquid CO2.