You can easily handle a washing machine at home, but when it comes to the terms associated with professional cleaning, are you completely out of it? It's not as complicated as it may seem. Let's join us and see what your clothes are waiting for when it comes to wet, dry or chemical cleaning.
When buying new clothes, most of us do not think about the way how to clean them and keep them in a good shape. If we like it, we just buy it. We will start to be interested in the method of cleaning only when we get it dirty or we are about to store it in the wardrobe after the season.
How do you know that clothes need to be chemically cleaned?
You can find an information on proper cleaning on the label that is sewn to your clothing. If there is a circle on it, this is information for you that you should definitely not wash this piece of clothing at home in the washing machine. This circle means that you should chemically clean your clothes and the letters "A", "F" or "P" specify which chemicals should be used
If your clothes are made of leather, wool, fur, silk or suede, count on you having to take them to a dry cleaner's. Formal dresses with lace, beads or those made of hand-painted fabric must also be chemically cleaned.
What is chemical cleaning?
The term dry cleaning is sometimes also used for chemical cleaning.
This is because it does not use water in the process, but chemicals. In the past, those were gasoline, kerosene, benzene, turpentine or oil. But, they are highly flammable, so they have been slowly phased out and synthetic, non-flammable solvents such as perchlorethylene (also known as PCE) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (also known as GreenEarth) have started to be used.
How does chemical cleaning work?
In addition to the solvent, a special machine is used for chemical cleaning, where the clothes are put and poured over with a suitable solvent. After cleaning and drying, the clothes are taken out of the machine. The cleaning itself can still be preceded by a so-called pre-cleaning. During pre-cleaning, experienced workers remove the most significant stains.
(Sometimes this process takes place after cleaning, in which case it is only a stain removal.) Then your piece of clothing will be moved to the cleaning machine with other similar clothes. The laundry is sorted according to colors and levels of soiling, so that the result is as good as possible, because only similar pieces of clothes can be cleaned together.
Symbols of dry (chemical) cleaning:
- it can be cleaned with all commonly used solvents and procedures, solvents that are usually used can be also used for its cleaning.
- the product can be chemically cleaned with tetrachloroethene (perchlorethylene), monofluorotrichloromethane and with all solvents listed under the symbol F.
- the product can only be chemically cleaned with trifluorotrichloroethane and naphtha (with a distillation range between 150° C and 220° C and a flash point between 38° C and 60° C).
Nowadays, you can also come across the term wet cleaning in dry cleaner's. This new technology should eventually replace the solvent Perchlorethylene.
This technology was found in the 1990s in the Miele's laboratories, the manufacturer of the washing machine and the chemical manufacturer Kreussler. Wet cleaning uses water and specially developed chemicals are added into it little by little. Appropriately chosen combination of washing mechanics and chemicals will make it possible to clean even substances that do not tolerate water.
There is a special symbol for wet cleaning already on the clothing label.
If the circle is crossed out, it means that you must not chemically clean your clothes at all. The letter "W" in a circle means that such clothing can be wet cleaned only.
Based on the instructions on the clothing label, the trained personnel will decide whether your clothing will be cleaned chemically or by wet cleaning technology
. You only take these symbols as information that you should not wash your clothes by yourself, but take them to a dry cleaner's.