Dry Cleaning Process
Not So Dry, Not So Clean
What is the dry cleaning process? A dry-cleaning machine works sort of like home washing machine combined with a clothes dryer. Most dry cleaning in Austin TX uses this process.
- First, garments are placed into a washing/extraction chamber. The chamber fills approximately one-third full of the solvent perchloroethylene (also called perc), and the chamber begins to rotate, pushing the solution through the clothing.
- Most wash cycles last between 8-15 minutes (depending on the fabric type and soil level). During the wash cycle, the perc solution is repeatedly passed through a filtration chamber to remove dirt and grease before being fed back into the wash chamber. This same perc solution will be used throughout the week to clean thousands of garments. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper your cleaner the less frequently they use new fresh perc. Dry cleaners cut cost by using their perc as long as possible… yuck!
- During the first three minutes of the wash cycle of the dry cleaning process, the perc dissolves the solvent-soluble soils and loosens debris. Approximately ten to twelve minutes into the wash cycle, the ground-in insoluble soils begin to loosen from the fabric fibers. All of the dirt is trapped in the machine’s sludge filter.
- After swishing around with all that well-used perc and soil, the garments are rinsed with fresh distilled solvent. The machine then begins the extraction process to recover 99.99% of the solvent for reuse.
- In the drying cycle of the dry cleaning process, warm air is passed through the clothes and then through a chiller unit that condenses the solvent vapors and returns them to the distilled solvent tank to be reused—again and again and again.