Why Choose Organic Dry Cleaning? Benefits For Your Health And The Environment

It is generally agreed that the modern environmental movement in the United States was launched after the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in 1962. The environmental issues focused on in the beginning were pollution and endangered species. The first Earth Day was in 1970, and since then environmentalism has evolved to address other issues including climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Why Choose Organic Dry Cleaning

Why Choose Organic Dry Cleaning

The growing awareness of eco-friendly practices and the idea of sustainability has people around the world looking to make more environmentally friendly consumption and buying decisions. While the emphasis on “green” practices has traditionally been on recycling and the conservation of resources, much more attention is now being turned to the harmful chemicals produced by and used in commonplace products and services.  

What’s in the Washing Machine?

An example of an area that has come under stricter scrutiny is the dry-cleaning industry. Traditional dry-cleaning methods have used harsh chemicals, with the most common being perchloroethylene (commonly called “Perc”). Perc is considered to be a likely carcinogen by the U.S. federal government. It is a drinking water contaminant, and has been found in multiple hazardous waste sites around the country. In California, the state government passed a law to phase out the use of Perc and the purchase of machines that use it. Inhalation of Perc fumes can cause neurological effects such as dizziness, headache, and nausea.

Fun fact: “dry” cleaning is not dry. The chemical solvents used in “dry cleaning” are all liquids. The name arose because no water is used during the cleaning process.

Going for a Greener Clean

Organic dry cleaners near me, also known as “green,” “organic,” “eco-friendly,” or “natural,” offer health and environmental benefits compared to traditional dry-cleaning methods. Shops that use any of these terms are announcing to customers that they use an alternative to Perc. However, dry-cleaning businesses seldom inform customers as to which alternative cleaning method they are using. The methods listed below are the main dry-cleaning alternatives in use today. Use your own judgment as to how “organic” they are.

Professional wet cleaning uses only water and mild detergents in computer-controlled washing machines. In theory, the detergents used are all biodegradable.

Liquid carbon dioxide cleaning uses highly pressurized liquid carbon dioxide to clean clothing. It requires special equipment that can cost three times as much as Perc machines. It is obviously non-flammable, and proponents claim that 98% of the CO2 is recycled.

Liquid silicone is an odorless and nontoxic substance that works with detergents. Silicone breaks down into silica, water and carbon dioxide.

Petroleum based solvents are combustible and are known to be toxic to aquatic life. They are a popular Perc alternative because of their strong similarity to Perc.

Note that many of the above dry-cleaning methods employ washing machines that consume less energy than traditional dry-cleaning machines which require higher temperatures.


Choosing organic dry cleaning can reduce your personal environmental impact. Furthermore, the shift towards green dry cleaning offers benefits for your personal health and the environment at large. However, since there is no clear or common definition of the terms used by non-Perc cleaners, it is up to the consumer to make inquiries and do the necessary research. In the long run, increased consumer consciousness and knowledge will lead to preferable choices for healthy and sustainable dry-cleaning services.

Why Choose Organic Dry Cleaning? Benefits For Your Health And The Environment
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