Dry Cleaning: How does it work?

September 1, 2020

Is 'dry cleaning' an oxymoron? Certainly not, but we often wonder how someone can ‘dry’ clean something especially clothes. 

Washing clothes is a process of using water and detergent. However, sending out your laundry to the dry cleaners is different. Most of us wonder what goes behind the scenes in a dry cleaning process. So, here we give you a glimpse of how dry cleaning works and more.

How does dry cleaning work?

Dry cleaning as the name suggests is cleaning without using water as a solvent; instead the process involves using a chemical solvent called perchloroethylene (perc) to remove stains and grease from garments. So, the process is not necessarily dry as you imagine it to be.

Once your laundry is picked up from your doorstep, they are taken to the laundromat. At the laundromat, the clothes are carefully examined for stains and spots to be removed. A chemical solvent (perc) is applied to the stains and spots. Make sure to get your clothes collected by your laundry service provider as soon as you spot a stain. The earlier you treat the garments, the easier it will be to remove the stains.

Chemically treated clothes are loaded in a machine, submerged in a chemical solvent and washed by the process of tumbling. These clothes are swiftly rotated in a perforated cylinder and are later dried in dry cleaning machines. The clothes in truth get wet as opposed to common belief that they are ‘dry’ cleaned.

After completion of the washing process, the dry cleaners examine the clothes to ensure the stains are removed, buttons and linings are intact, and excess lint on clothes are treated to perfection.

The final stage involves steaming, pressing, ironing and folding clothes or hanging them in cover bags before delivering it to you.

What types of fabric are suitable for dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is suitable for most delicate fabrics like linen, cashmere, wool and silk to an extent. Hand washing these fabrics may be effective but stubborn stains or grease will require chemical treatment. Fabric blends that include rayon, silk and velvet that may shrink during the normal washing process and are not colourfast qualify for professional dry cleaning. Experts recommend dry cleaning for garments made of suede or leather.

Professional cleaning extends the lifespan of delicate clothes through proper treatment of industrial chemicals. Not only do they remove stains and grease, but also keep your clothes odour free. Spin washing delicate clothes in home washing machines will shrink the fabric and often result in fading or wearing out in no time. You certainly do not want your expensive items to be ruined by washing with water and normal detergent. Also, in the case of curtains, they are too heavy to be loaded into a washing machine. Cleaning curtains at home will not guarantee thorough removal of accumulated dust and stains.

What are the advantages of dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is not a complex washing process. It is simply using the appropriate chemical best suited for your fabric to remove stains and odour. It’s advantages are:

  1. First of all, dry cleaners do a thorough check of stains and spots and treat them before and after sending in for the washing process.
  2. Approved industrial chemicals are less abrasive on delicate fabrics that need utmost care. It prevents decolourisation and shrinkage.
  3. Dry cleaning is suitable for large items like day/night curtains that are heavy and cannot be washed normally.

How much does it cost to dry clean in Singapore?

Dry cleaning is not an expensive affair. Sendhelper, the best laundry service in Singapore offers attractive rates for all kinds of garments and curtains. Shirts and trousers cost as low as $.4.90, ladies blouses and skirts cost from $5.90. Wedding gowns start from $49 only. Day curtains cost $12 a piece and night curtains, $12 per kg. For a full list of prices, download the Sendhelper app here.

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