Thursday, July 5, 2018

Dry Cleaning Versus Wet Cleaning for Clothes

Dry cleaning vs wet cleaning:
There is a fundamental difference between the wet cleaning and dry cleaning operations, which the consumers should thoroughly understand. The garment should be treated by a professional organization (wet/ dry cleaning if they are labelled so). For several years the dry cleaners have wet cleaned a small percentage of their wash load either by hand or small washers. However, dry cleaning and wet cleaning differ in the use of solvents and other washing aids. In addition, they also differ in the degree of cleaning and effectiveness in removing special stains. Each process has its own benefits and limitations as described below. Firstly we should denote dry cleaning and wet cleaning. Then discussion will be clear about dry cleaning vs wet cleaning.
dry cleaning vs wet cleaning

Wet cleaning:
Wet cleaning or washing is the method of cleaning clothes that is usually done with water, often in the presence of a soap or detergent. Soaps and detergents are used for the emulsification of oils and dirt particles so that they can be easily washed away. The washing will often be done at a temperature above room temperature to increase the activities of any chemicals used and the solubility of stains. In addition, high temperature kills microbes that may be present on the fabric.

Benefits of wet cleaning:
  1. No hazardous chemicals are used, hence no air pollution and lower water pollution. 
  2. Wet cleaning consumes about 50% less energy than dry cleaning, hence, is energy efficient.
  3. Easy removal of water-based stains; whites look whiter and better soil removal from some garments.
  4. Wet cleaning much cheaper compared to dry cleaning as solvents are used in the latter process, which are more expensive than water. 
  5. A wide range of fiber types such as wool, silk, linen, cotton, leather/ suede, wedding gowns and garments decorated with beads can be wet cleaned.
  6. Wet cleaned clothes are free from chemical odor unlike dry cleaned clothes, which can retain strong odor after dry cleaning. Softening agents used give a pleasant smell to the clothes.
Limitations of wet cleaning:
In spite of these advantages, the wet cleaning suffers from certain disadvantages such as:

  • Shrinkage, wrinkling, surface changes, felting, loss of lustre and dye-bleeding problems can occur, which need special care to avoid the problems.
Dry cleaning:
Dry cleaning does not refer to a dry method of cleaning clothes. It is the process of cleaning clothing items and other textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. Dry cleaning is used to remove soil and stains from delicate fabrics, which cannot withstand the conditions used in the washing machine and dryer. As the name indicates, dry cleaning is not completely dry, rather it is performed with the use of various solvents and/or other chemicals instead of water.

Benefits of dry cleaning:

  1. Better cleaning efficiency compared to wet cleaning to effectively remove some stains, oil marks and greases.
  2. Reduces shrinkage, wrinkling, colour fading and distortion of the fabric.
  3. Dry cleaning facilities have started to use eco-friendly solvents and chemicals that disintegrate easily and are less harmful. These chemicals do not produces odor, or produce reduced odor, and clothes smell fresher and feel better.
  4. The original properties of the material are better retained.
  5. Protects texture and increases the durability of clothes.
Limitations of dry cleaning:
The dry cleaning process has the following limitations:

  1. People with sensitive skin may have negative reactions to the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process.
  2. The use of perc can enter the body through dermal and respiratory exposure leading to irritations of the eye, nose and throat; damage to the liver and kidneys; impaired memory; confusion; dizziness; headache; and drowsiness. Repeated dermal exposure can lead to dermatitis.
  3. Only skilled people can perform this as a higher health risk is associated with dry cleaning.
References:
  1. Care and Maintenance of Textile Products Including Apparel and Protective Clothing by Rajkishore Nayak and Saminathan Ratnapandian
  2. http://www.presstoasia.com.my/blog/dry-cleaning-vs-wet-cleaning/