About 15 years ago, I started to switch out of clothes that need dry cleaning. The primary reason was not only cost, but the hassle of going to the cleaners. I started to wash and handwash all the clothes that said ‘Dry Clean Only’ and voila- I never ruined a garment! Then I got even lazier and started to wear only clothes that didn’t need to be ironed! It saved me hundreds of dollars a year, plus tons of time!
Unfortunately, I still have some suits that need to be dry cleaned- so started to look up Green and Eco Friendly Dry Cleaners!
I Just Gotta Tell You
- Americans spend about $8 billion on dry cleaning every year.
- 35,000 dry cleaning business in the U.S., 85% still use the toxic solvent perchloroethylene (perc) known to cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and which has been linked to reproductive problem, a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers both a health and environmental hazard.
- 8 billion hangers go into our landfills It’s enough to fill the Empire State building from basement to observation deck — 4.6 times!
- It is estimated that it would take from 800-1000 years for these plastics to break down in anaerobic landfills, and possibly longer.
- Use Eco Friendly Cleaners
- Wash yourself as much as possible
- Buy clothing that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned
- Recycle your hangers and plastic bags
- Request no plastic bags
What is a Green Cleaner?
There are 2 processes- see below
Carbon dioxide (CO2) cleaning uses non-toxic, liquid CO2—the same form used to carbonate soda—as the cleaning solvent, along with detergent. The CO2 is captured as a by-product of existing industrial processes, thereby utilizing emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere; since only about two percent of the CO2 is lost into the air with each load of clothing, its impact on global warming is minimal. CO2 cleaning also uses less energy than traditional dry cleaning, which involves heating the solvent.
Beware– Not all cleaning methods advertised as “green” are as environmentally benign as they may seem. For example, a solvent called DF-2000 being touted as an “organic” dry cleaning fluid is actually a petroleum product. It is indeed organic in the same way gasoline and perc are organic: it contains a chain of carbon atoms. The word “organic” has a much different meaning when it comes to food that’s been certified organic by the USDA.
To Find an Eco Friendly Dry Cleaner:
- EPA has a PDF list of drycleaners that use two alternative methods – wet cleaning and CO2 cleaning.
- Green Earth Cleaning
- Hangers Dry Cleaners
- Earth 911
- No Dry Clean