Other Textile Cleaning Methods

The mainstay for cleaning textile garments for many years has been called “Dry Cleaning”.  Washing is what most people are familiar with when it comes to home washing of normal household types of textiles such as bed sheets, towels, washcloths, underwear, socks and casual clothing.  Drycleaning means cleaning without water for the main solvent.  Most fine garments are drycleaned because it keeps them looking better longer, while retaining their shape and tailoring details.  These garments are usually more expensive garments such as suits, outerwear, fine wool slacks and skirts, luxurious silk garments, specialty wools and if not cleaned after wearing will allow perspiration, food stains and imbedded soil to damage the garment by oxidation, weakening of the fibers or cutting the fibers by abrasion of the imbedded soil.

“Dry” does not mean the garments are not placed in a liquid.  “Dry” means cleaning with the absence of water.  The common method of cleaning has been to immerse the garments in hydrocarbon or perchloroethylene solvent.  The solvent does not contain water which can swell the fibers and distort them by shrinkage or stretching.  There must be a small amount of moisture even in the dry solvent to remove odors and water based stains.  Drycleaning solvent and water do not mix but a small amount of moisture can be combined through the use of a special detergent in order to remove water based soils.

There are other methods of cleaning lightly soiled garment or safer way for cleaning very fragile garments.  Garments can be fragile due to fiber, weave or trim that decorates the fabric.  These are not immersion methods of cleaning but modifications of them.

Usually a textile cleaner will have several methods of cleaning depending upon the garment.  These are unique other textile cleaning methods and the professional textile cleaner may have one or more of them to choose from when deciding the best method of cleaning.