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The Nuts and Bolts of How the Magic of Dry Cleaning Works

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Generally, soap and water are used to remove dirt from dirty laundry. Soap detaches the soil particles from clothing, which are then washed away with the help of water making the clothes new again. In contrast to this, in dry cleaning, the cloth is soaked in a waterless chemical solution. Water is not used in the dry-cleaning process as the name suggests. Dry cleaning is widely used by people to clean expensive clothing before a special occasion or after they have worn the clothes a few times. Normally people search online for a dry-cleaning service near them to get their clothes dry cleaned.


Dry cleaning was introduced in the US seventy-five years ago and it was a revolutionary new industry when it began. Previously some rigorous compounds like trichloroethylene or carbon tetrachloride were used for cleaning purposes. After some time, people started using perchloroethylene because it worked faster, had better cleaning capacity and was safe for clothes. Dry cleaning got more opportunities when perchloroethylene became the most widely used product. Dry cleaning now can be done faster, requiring less space and equipment. Now dry cleaning requires only one hour.

Step 1: Tagging Items

When the clothes to be dry cleaned are received by dry cleaners, the clothes are tagged first. Dry cleaners make a list of the clothes and tag all of them which remain on the clothes during the dry cleaning. This tag describes the name of the owner, date of clothing drop-off, the date on which clothes will be dry cleaned, and the stain type on the clothes to indicate that the cloth requires special treatment.

Step 2: Difficult Stains Pre-Treated

After receiving and tagging clothes, the next step is the preliminary treatment of stains like what is done in the regular laundry at home. This process cleans the stain before dry-cleaning so that the chemicals used in the cleaning process will remove the stain completely. If the type of stain is known, the dry-cleaning process can be made more effective by lightening the stain and cleaning some of the stains. By removing or treating the stain earlier according to its type, you can make certain the stain will be removed completely.

Step 3: The Cleaning Machine

Clothes are then sent to a large machine in which there is a basket of stainless steel for holding the clothes. The machine has a dual function of washing and drying. This has the additional advantage of recovering the solvent which saves money, and it is environment friendly. The solvent is sent into the clothes and the machine rotates. When the clothes are cleaned with a chemical solution, they are air-dried. Clothes are put over the coils to ensure that the clothes dry completely.

After this cleaning process, the clothes are inspected for any stains still present on the clothes. In case if stains are still present on the garments, only the area containing stains will be treated. It may not remove them completely, but these stains are treated one last time

Then the clothes are pressed and streamed. If the cloth becomes stiff due to dry cleaning, then the cloth is submerged in steam. This step completes the dry-cleaning process after which clothes are packed, hung up and are ready for pick-up by the client.

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