“Earth Friendly.” “Non-Toxic.” “Environmentally Friendly.” “100% Toxin Free.”
Not exactly the words that come to mind when you think about Dry Cleaning. So what really is the meaning of ‘green’ dry cleaning, and what does it mean to you, the consumer, when a dry cleaner claims they are ‘green’?
First of all, we should probably explain what Dry Cleaning itself really is. It isn’t actually the act of cleaning your clothes when they are dry. They still are saturated and become ‘wet,’ just not from water. For over 100 years, Dry Cleaners have primarily used a chemical called perchloroethylene, also known as “Perc”, as the solvent in the dry cleaning process. This is a harsh chemical which cleans your clothes very well, but with each wash can fade the colors and roughen the fabrics Perc is also responsible for the chemical smell most people associate with Dry Cleaners.
But besides just bad smells, Perc is also considered a hazardous chemical and some researchers have declared it to be a carcinogen. It is taxed by the government to use, and must be disposed of properly. Every dry cleaner in the nation must pay into a drycleaners’ “superfund” for hazardous waste cleanups (even if the dry cleaner doesn’t use Perc!). If there is a spill in a dry cleaning facility, it can be very expensive to clean up.
In the past few years, new technologies have emerged allowing Dry Cleaners to try different solvents for cleaning garments, most with the focus of being more environmentally friendly.
Since building our new plant in 2007, St Croix | White Way Cleaners uses a Hydrocarbon solvent, which, along with being odorless, biodegrades within days of being exposed to air, water or earth. Oh, and it cleans pretty well too! (Just look at our five straight Seal of Approval wins from the DryCleaning and Laundry Institute!)
Other benefits include:
Softer Feeling Clothes
Extended Garment Life
No Color Loss
Safe on Delicate Fabrics, beads, sequins and other embellishments
We have also invested in another new technology called “Wet Cleaning”. These machines use water but, unlike “washing machines”, wet cleaning machines infuse detergents, softeners and other cleaning agents via different computer programs to efficiently & effectively clean many garments that previously could only be “dry cleaned”.
St Croix |White Way Cleaners is committed to being an environmentally friendly Dry Cleaner. We are no longer considered a hazardous waste producer by the MN EPA. Not only do we use non-toxic solvents and recycle hangers, but we were the first in the Midwest to implement the use of bio-degradable plastic bags. These bags are kinder to the environment, and will help preserve our future.
We also use a state of the art water circulation system, effectively recycling and reusing the water supply in our dry cleaning plant. Since installing this system, we have reduced the amount of water used in our plant by over 35%! It effectively makes our environmental footprint even smaller.
While other Dry Cleaners may say they are “green,” (isn’t everyone, these days?) Most are still using unnatural solvents to clean your garments. Though Perc is still being used in the majority of dry cleaners, it is commendable that many dry cleaners are working as hard as possible to use more earth friendly technologies and solvents. If you want the best of both worlds right now, green cleaning is the clear choice and St Croix | White Way Cleaners is proud to be one of the leaders in the movement.