Dry Cleaning, Explained - Behind the Scenes of a Dry Cleaner
What exactly is dry cleaning and how does it work?
To most people, dry cleaning can be a confusing and mind-boggling thing. What is dry cleaning and how does it work? How can you clean something while it staying dry? We wanted to take the time to explain what dry cleaning is and how it works.
Believe it or not, dry cleaning isn't really "dry". Despite the name, dry cleaning is called that primarily due to the fact that no water is used during the cleaning process. The purpose of dry cleaning is to remove dirt out of garments without harming the individual garment fibers. This is accomplished through the use of a cleaning solvent instead of soap and water. This helps clean garments that typically cannot withstand the rigors of a washer dryer and home. The dry cleaning process preserves the garments and prevents shrinking, stretching, and discoloration of the garment fibers.
The typical washing machine can harm certain fabrics, and so can water and heat. Garments such as suits, slacks, blouses, and others that are made of silk, wool, and polyester can't be cleaned in the traditional manner using soap and water because it penetrates and damages the garment fibers. Dry cleaning, on the other hand, cleans using a solvent that does not harm the fibers. Most dry cleaning solvents are hydrocarbon or silicon-based, which are the new standard for dry cleaning today. These solvents are safe for the environment and safe for the garments.
The Process - Behind the scenes of a dry cleaner:
When garments are brought into the dry cleaners, they are first inbounded and inspected. During this process, garments are entered into our system and are individually tagged to keep track of them during the dry cleaning process. This is also when garments are inspected for things that require attention prior to or during the cleaning process.
Next garments are separated based on the cleaning cycle and method. During the separation process, garments are also pre-treated for stains. This process consists of using special stain treating methods that safely loosen up and remove stains prior to being dry cleaned.
Once ready to be cleaned, garments are loaded into a dry cleaning machine to be cleaned. The machine cleans soiled garments using the dry cleaning solvent in a pressure controlled environment. The solvent cleans the garments by removing dirt from the fibers, and do so without harming, altering, or discoloring garment fibers. This ensures that garments are cleaned while retaining the quality of the garments. The dry cleaning machine then goes through the final dry cycle by circulating warm air through the clothes. The solvent is vaporized and extracted, and the garments are in essence "dried" and all moisture is removed from both the garments and the machine.
After the garments have been dry cleaned, they are removed from the machine and are sent to be ironed or pressed. This entails of hand-finishing the garments on a press machine using steam to iron out wrinkles. The garments are then hung and move on to assembly.
The final step is assembly. Once all the garments have been cleaned and processed, they move onto the assembly line where each garment is individually inspected. If anything requires further attention, they are moved back to the cleaning process. If the garment passes inspection they are moved onto being assembled. During assembly the garment tag is used to match the garment to the customers ticket. Once a customers ticket is complete, the order is bagged and is ready to be returned to the customer.