How Dry Cleaning Works

Is laundry the bane of your existence? Do you wear suits to work? Is your closet loaded with “dry clean only” garments? If so, it’s likely you’ve found your way to your neighborhood dry cleaners; dropped off heaps of dirty clothes; returned a few days later; and retrieved perfectly cleaned, fresh and bagged clothing.

But, have you ever stopped to wonder just how dry cleaning works? Different cleaners will vary their processes slightly—a green dry cleaner, for example, will use different solvents than a traditional dry cleaner—but the basic steps remain the same.

  1. The first step most dry cleaners take is tagging. Clothes are inspected for damage, stains or specific laundering instructions. They’re then tagged and identified in order to maintain organization and the condition of the clothing.
  2. Most all dry cleaners apply a pre-treatment cleaner to the garment. If there are severe stains, it’s this process that will target and eliminate them.
  3. Typically, the actual “dry cleaning” takes place next. Your clothes are put into a machine that serves as a combination of the common, water-utilizing machine (although no water is used, only special cleaning solvents) and a traditional dryer.
  4. Once the clothing has gone through the cycle, it will then be reexamined for remaining stains or soiling. If they’re lingering, your dry cleaning specialist will work to remove them.
  5. We all appreciate clean clothes, especially if we’re not required to wash and fold them ourselves. That’s why this step in the process is probably the most favored—the final touches. Pressing, starching, folding, bagging, hanging…you can pick up your clothes in pristine condition.

Some of us choose dry cleaning for convenience, but others have a wardrobe requiring the non-water washing process. If your clothes have damages, special needs or bad stains, be sure to mention this to your dry cleaner to ensure they’re able to achieve the best results possible.

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