Dry Cleaning: Then and Now

Believe it or not, people have been entrusting their garments to professional cleaners for millenia! Local garment care businesses have around since at least as early as the Ancient Romans (togas didn’t clean themselves, you know!), and waterless (“dry”) cleaning has been used since the mid-1800’s (did you know that the first dry cleaning patent granted in the U.S. was also the first patent ever to be granted to an African American?). While people have always needed their clothes cleaned, laundry and dry cleaning methods have changed a lot throughout the centuries, with many innovations occurring just in the last decade or so.

Here’s a quick history lesson:

Then:

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Who says you need an internal combustion engine to provide laundry delivery service? The first “laundry wagons” were motored by horses! This photo from the early 1900’s shows the laundry wagon “fleet” of Elk Laundry Company (the original name of White Way Cleaners). As you can see, it was made up of both horse-drawn and motorized vehicles!

Now:

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St. Croix and White Way Cleaners continue to offer (free) home delivery! Our “wagons” look a little more modern nowadays…

Then:

Pompeii

Evidence of “professional” garment cleaning dates back to the Ancient Romans. Launderers were known as fullers and their workshops were called fullonicas.

Now:

HEN - finished

Our brand new Loring Park location, connected to Treasured Garment Restoration, can serve any of your garment care needs: laundering, dry cleaning, alterations, preservation, and vintage restoration. Or visit one of our other nineteen locations throughout the Twin Cities!

Then:

kerosene

Believe it or not, kerosene and petroleum were used as solvents In the earliest years of dry cleaning. Sure they got out the stains, but think of the smell!

LATER:

Equipment at Nu Life FL 002

Beginning in the 1930’s, dry cleaners cleaned garments using a chemical called perchloroethylene (known as “perc”). Perc is a soil contaminant and carcinogen, and cleans so harshly that it can lead to color loss and other damage. According to the EPA, the majority of drycleaners still use perc as their primary solvent.

Now:

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St. Croix/White Way Cleaners is 100% perc-free! We use only non-toxic/earth-friendly solvents like Hydrocarbon, a biodegradable and odorless compound. Not only is this better for the Earth, it’s better for your clothes! Learn more about our earth and fabric-friendly cleaning process here.

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Six Stains, Six Years in a ROW!

ST CROIX CLEANERS EARNS INTERNATIONAL DRYCLEANING AWARD

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For the 6th consecutive year, St Croix Cleaners has earned the prestigious Seal of Approval for Quality Garment Cleaning & Customer Service.  The Minnesota-based cleaner passed all the rigorous cleaning and customer service evaluations.  Earning the Seal of Approval signifies that St Croix Cleaners has successfully maintained high quality cleaning standards and has proven their ability in complex stain removal and consistently demonstrates superior quality and customer service.

This prestigious international award program is administered by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, a Washington-DC-based group.  To date, approximately 140 companies around the world have attained the Seal of Approval.

“Finding a good cleaner who will consistently treat you like a valued customer shouldn’t be a guessing game,”  Drycleaning and Laundry Institute CEO Mary Scalco said.  The 24-year veteran of the cleaning industry noted, “By becoming a Seal of Approval cleaner, St Croix Cleaners proved there is a difference between quality cleaners and their competition.  Now customers know where to find a cleaner who will treat them and their garments properly – every time.”

Each year, Seal of Approval Drycleaners must renew their status with the program by successfully completing stain removal and cleaning performance tests.  In addition, each business must meet other requirements such as continuing education, community service, and offering superior customer service as evidenced by the company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau.

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The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute represents the interests of the cleaning industry, clothing manufacturers, and consumer advisors in identifying those cleaning plants that provide the highest level of clothing care.  The group began accepting applications for the Seal of Approval Award of Excellence for Quality Garment Cleaning & Customer Service in 2005.  Visit their website or call Mary Scalco at 800.638.2627.

www.gooddrycleaners.com

St Croix | White Way Cleaners is an award-winning dry cleaning company based in Stillwater, Minnesota.  They have won the DryClean and Laundry Institute’s Seal of Approval 6 years in a row and have been voted “Best DryCleaner” over 10 times by Reader’s Choice.  They specialize in exceptional customer service, high-quality garment care, and eco-friendly dry cleaning by using non-toxic solvents, bio-degradable plastic bags, a water conservation system, and recycling hangers.  They have 20 drop-off locations throughout the Eastern Metro and within Minneapolis and St Paul.

www.StCroixCleaners.com   |   www.WhiteWayCleaners.net

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