Despite the name, dry cleaning isn’t actually dry – the process does involve liquid, only that liquid isn’t water. The basic goal of dry cleaning is the same as with laundry (should we call laundry “wet cleaning”?) – to remove dirt and stains from garments.
Have you ever thought about how washing actually gets clothes clean? According to scienceclarified.com, most of the dirt that collects on clothing (or on our bodies or on dishes, for that matter) is surrounded by a layer of oil. That’s the reason washing clothes in water with no detergent would not affect the dirt. (Since oil and water don’t mix, the water could never approach the dirt!) That’s where detergent and laundry soap come in – the detergent molecules attach at one end to the oily dirt, with the other end “attached” to the water molecules. The dirt is “pulled” into the water, and it can then be rinsed right down the drain.
So why can’t we launder all our garments? Certain fabrics (silk, rayon, and wool blends, for example) don’t do well when put into water:
- The fabric shrinks
- The garment shape becomes distorted
- The fabric fades or changes color because of a chemical reaction
How Stuff Works explains that water molecules interact with certain fibers to make them expand, contract, or change. Because dry cleaning solutions have a chemical makeup that is different from water, garments typically don’t shrink or fade. At the same time, though, the dirt and stains “attach” and float off the clothes.
At Classic Cleaners, we know both cleaning and laundry play an important part in protecting your wardrobe. We carefully check the care labels of your garments and use the dry cleaning or laundering process that will produce the best cleaning results. We even go the extra mile and clean your garments by hand when needed. At Classic Cleaners, we keep those molecules marching in exactly the right direction!
—Reb of the Classic Cleaners Blog Team