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Oct 25, 2023
What You Need To Know: Petrol Wash, Perc and Hydrocarbon Dry Cleaning
In the realm of garment care and preservation, dry cleaning stands as a vital pillar, and various methods have evolved to meet the diverse needs of consumers. Among these methods, three stand out: Petrol Wash, Perc (Perchloroethylene), and Hydrocarbon dry cleaning. Each technique carries its own set of advantages and considerations, contributing to the variety of dry cleaning services available today.
Different Types of Dry Cleaning Services:
Petrol wash, often referred to as petroleum dry cleaning, has a long and storied history. It involves the use of hydrocarbon solvents derived from petroleum, such as Stoddard solvent or naphtha, to clean fabrics. This method was prevalent in the early days of dry cleaning, gaining popularity in the late 19th century.
One of the primary reasons for the use of petrol wash was its effectiveness in removing oil-based stains, which were quite common on clothing during this era. The process typically involves immersing garments in the solvent, agitating them to remove stains and dirt, and then gently drying them. After the cleaning cycle, the solvent is distilled and recycled for future use.
However, petrol washing does have its downsides. The solvents used can be highly flammable, posing a safety risk. Additionally, they can be harsh on delicate fabrics and may lead to colour fading or fabric damage over time. Due to these drawbacks, petrol wash has gradually given way to safer and more eco-friendly alternatives.
Perchloroethylene, commonly known as Perc, has long been the industry standard for dry cleaning. It gained widespread usage in the mid-20th century due to its excellent cleaning capabilities and relative safety when handled correctly.
Perc is a highly effective chemical, capable of dissolving a wide range of stains and soils. It’s particularly adept at removing grease and oil-based paints, making it suitable for cleaning a variety of fabrics and garments. The process generally involves immersing clothes in a Perc bath, mixing them, and then drying them in specialised dry cleaning machines.
While Perc is effective, it’s not without concerns. It’s classified as a hazardous chemical and poses health and environmental risks if not managed properly. There have been growing concerns about its potential for groundwater contamination and its impact on human health.
Hydrocarbon Dry Cleaning:
In recent years, hydrocarbon dry cleaning has gained popularity as a greener alternative to traditional Perc-based cleaning. This method utilises hydrocarbon solvents derived from crude oil, which are less toxic and environmentally harmful than Perc.
Hydrocarbon dry cleaning offers many benefits. It’s gentler on fabrics, reducing the risk of colour fading and damage. It’s also more energy-efficient, demanding lower drying temperatures, which can prolong the life of garments. Moreover, the solvents used in hydrocarbon cleaning are less volatile and flammable, enhancing safety for both workers and the environment.
The process of hydrocarbon dry cleaning is similar to other methods, involving immersion, agitation, and drying. The solvents used are typically recycled, reducing waste and environmental impact. Therefore, many dry cleaning services now offer hydrocarbon cleaning as a more sustainable option for their customers.
Choosing The Right Dry Cleaning Service (Petrol Wash, Perchloroethylene or Hydrocarbon Dry Cleaning):
When deciding which dry cleaning service to use, it’s essential to consider the method they employ. Different ways may be better suited to specific fabrics or garments. For example, delicate silk or wool may benefit from the gentler approach of hydrocarbon dry cleaning, while heavily stained items might require the stain-busting power of Perc.
Additionally, environmental considerations should be considered. As awareness of environmental issues grows, many consumers are opting for dry cleaners that prioritise sustainability. Hydrocarbon and other eco-friendly methods are becoming increasingly accessible, giving consumers the option to make more environmentally conscious choices without sacrificing cleaning quality.
Dry cleaning services have come a long way since the days of petrol wash and Perc dominance. Today, consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to caring for their garments. Whether it’s the historical effectiveness of petrol wash, the standard-setting Perc, or the environmentally friendly hydrocarbon method, each technique has its place in the dry cleaning landscape.
Ultimately, the choice between these methods should be guided by the specific needs of your garments and your commitment to environmental sustainability.
Hello Laundry is a laundry service provider in London & Birmingham that offers a variety of dry cleaning services with free pickup and delivery. Hello Laundry uses the latest technology and equipment to clean clothes gently and effectively. They also use eco-friendly solvents and practices to minimise their environmental impact.