Conventional dry cleaning methods have drawbacks when it comes to their environmental effects. Generally, dry cleaners use a solvent called perchloroethylene to perform their dry cleaning duties. This chemical has long been listed as a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA, and when it is disposed of, it has to be disposed of according to very specific guidelines, as it is considered hazardous waste.
Not only does perchloroethylene negatively impact the quality of air, it is also dangerous as a soil pollutant, and can leach into and contaminate groundwater. As the chemical is considered likely to be carcinogenic in humans, the use of perchloroethylene by dry cleaners is troublesome to say the least, which is why, in many states, the chemical is being phased out, and new, green dry cleaning methods are being required.
The definition of organic dry cleaning
Basically, green dry cleaning means that your dry cleaner is using an organic solvent, such as a non-toxic hydrocarbon solvent, rather than the dangerous and damaging perchloroethylene. You should know, however, that, because the terms “green dry cleaning” and “organic dry cleaning” are not defined and enforced by law, some less scrupulous companies pawn off not-truly-green solvents, such as silicone-based solvents, as being “green”—when they are actually almost as dangerous as perchloroethylene, and have been shown to cause uterine cancer in rats.
Some additional things to know about organic dry cleaning
- Wet cleaning: Most green dry cleaners in Scottsdale, AZ that offer organic dry cleaning processes are not “dry” cleaners at all, and in fact use a wet cleaning process. During this process, special washing machines use an organic detergent to carefully and safely clean the garments using the least amount of detergent and water possible. This process is extremely energy efficient, and there are fewer negative side effects than with traditional dry cleaning.
- Carbon-based cleaning: When dry cleaning with a hydrocarbon-based organic solvent, you are cleaning with carbon dioxide that has been converted into a liquid. This method of organic cleaning was gaining steam, but has slowed down in recent years due to expensive machines whose prices haven’t fallen enough.
Choosing the right green dry cleaners
When you’re looking for the right dry cleaner to provide your organic dry cleaning services, make sure to inquire about the solvents and the processes that they use. You want to be absolutely sure that they aren’t trying to fool you with solvents labeled “green” that are actually made from harmful chemicals––solvents like DF-2000, and GreenEarth Cleaning’s silicone-based solvents.
If you can, find someone who performs liquid CO2 dry cleaning. Green dry cleaners who use other wet cleaning methods can be just as good, as most “dry-clean only” items can be safely cleaned with wet methods, so long as this is done with the proper equipment.
It’s important to have a conversation with your green dry cleaners in Scottsdale, AZ rather than just believing their “green” or “organic” signage in their windows. It’s important to avoid perchloroethylene, and silicone and petroleum based solvents whenever you can, as these are dangerous chemicals.
Come in to Organic Dry Cleaners and Laundry. We can save you money while helping you save the environment—we are true organic dry cleaners in Scottsdale, AZ. We use only 100 percent biodegradable recyclable materials in our cleaning, so you can get your green dry cleaning done quickly, safely and with a clean conscience.
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