The cleaning instruction tag in many clothes says “dry clean only”, but what most people don’t realize is that conventional dry cleaning methods are toxic.  Eighty-five percent of dry cleaners use a solvent known perchloroethylene or perc, classified by the EPA as a toxic air contaminant. The dry cleaning smell we are all familiar with is perc, which is highly regulated because disposal of perc can seriously contaminate soil and groundwater, and exposure can irritate eyes, nose and throat, as well as cause headaches, dizziness or fatigue. Perc is also classified by the EPA as a possible to probable human carcinogen and is one of the top four contaminants found in drinking water.  California recently banned perc and other states have similar legislation.

The good news is that there are safer alternatives such as silicone and carbon-dioxide based cleaning and more and more cleaners are using these methodologies.  The silicone solvent is odorless, non-toxic, and affordable. The liquid carbon-dioxide process uses earth friendly detergents without high heat.  Both processes are less damaging to your clothes. To find a cleaner near you, go to GreenEarth Cleaning, google environmentally friendly dry cleaners for your area, or email me.  If there isn’t one, be sure and air out (preferably outside) your dry cleaning before putting it in your closet.  Don’t forget to recycle or reuse the plastic bag!


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