The Problem With Most Dry Cleaners
Traditional dry cleaners have been harming the environment with harsh chemicals for the last several decades. It’s unfortunate, but harmful dry cleaning chemicals are the norm for most cleaners since they’re readily available and the process does clean clothes without causing damage to the garment. That said, just because these chemicals work doesn’t mean that they should be used. There are other options on the market that make dry cleaning both effective as well as safe for you and the environment. Here are a few issues with traditional dry cleaning products:
Products That Claim to Be Organic or Natural
As HowStuffWorks points out in their article, 10 Things Your Dry Cleaner Doesn’t Want You to Know, we should be wary of traditional dry cleaners and their cleaning products:
“Beware of words like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ when they’re used to describe dry cleaning. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict regulations for what can be called organic food, there’s no similar organization that polices the dry cleaning industry. For instance, perc and hydrocarbon solvents […] can be called organic simply because they’re made from chains of carbon. Under that definition, gasoline is ‘organic.’ For a real greener alternative, look for carbon dioxide cleaning, liquid silicone and professional wet cleaning with biodegradable detergents.”
Be sure to ask your dry cleaner what, exactly, they are using if they claim to utilize organic or natural products. While these claims may sound great, they aren’t always actually environmentally friendly. Remember, these detergents should be biodegradable, so that they don’t harm us while we’re wearing them, and they don’t seep into the water table.
Products Containing Perchloroethylene
The same article tells us about the dangers of perchloroethylene, another chemical that’s prevalent at traditional dry cleaners:
“Perc, which […] is the standard dry cleaning solvent, is a nasty piece of work. It does real damage when it leaches into the soil, where it can enter groundwater supplies. And that sweet smell that comes off clothes when they’re fresh from the dry cleaner’s? That’s perc you’re inhaling.”
That’s worrisome for those of us who consistently count on dry cleaners to wash our clothes. If you’re constantly bringing your garments to the dry cleaners, be sure to ask what products are being used. Perc is especially dangerous, since it may be carcinogenic. That’s terrible news, since there are about 28,000 dry cleaning companies that utilize perc in their operations here in the U.S. alone.
The EPA tells us that perc poses both short term and long term threats to those that are interact with the chemical. With short-term exposure, people are liable to suffer from headaches or dizziness; they may even lose consciousness with enough exposure.
In the long term, people are at risk of contracting cancer. The Journal of Environmental and Public Health published a study in 2009 that showed that people who live near a perc-using dry cleaner are more likely to contract kidney cancer. Perc may also raise the likelihood of contracting other cancers in the body.
There’s a reason why states are opting to ban perc use in dry cleaning. Here at Best Cleaners, we never resort to this harsh chemical to clean our clients’ garments. Instead we utilize GreenEarth products which aren’t harmful. You can learn more about GreenEarth’s solution below.