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Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning


As the world becomes increasingly conscious of the impact of human activities on the environment, individuals and businesses alike are exploring more sustainable options. One area where sustainability is possible is in the dry cleaning industry. Companies like Mulberrys Garment Care have emerged as leaders in providing eco-friendly dry cleaning services. This article will explore what eco-friendly dry cleaning is, why it is important, and the benefits it offers.

What Does Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning Mean?

Eco-friendly dry cleaning refers to the use of cleaning methods and solvents that are less harmful to the environment and human health than conventional dry cleaning or laundry techniques. Traditional dry cleaning typically uses a solvent called perchloroethylene (PERC), which has been linked to several health and environmental issues. On the other hand, eco-friendly dry cleaning methods use solvents and techniques that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and more sustainable.

What Is PERC and Why Is It Used by Dry Cleaners?

PERC is a colorless, non-flammable liquid that has been the most widely used solvent in dry cleaning for decades. However, the use of PERC has been linked to various health and environmental issues. Exposure to PERC has been shown to cause dizziness, headaches, and even cancer. In addition, PERC is a volatile organic compound that contributes to air pollution and groundwater contamination. Despite these risks, PERC is still used in many dry cleaning facilities because it is effective in removing tough stains and odors.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaner?

There are several benefits to using an eco-friendly dry cleaner that make it a more sustainable choice.

It’s Safer

Eco-friendly dry cleaning methods use solvents that are less toxic and safer for customers, the environment, and people working in dry cleaning facilities. By using eco-friendly methods, dry cleaning facilities can reduce the risks of exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants.

It’s More Energy Efficient

Eco-friendly dry cleaning methods typically use less energy than traditional methods. For example, wet cleaning uses less energy to dry clothes because it involves using water to clean and rinse clothes instead of using solvents. This makes it a more sustainable and cost-effective option for both the environment and businesses.

It’s Better for Your Clothes

Eco-friendly dry cleaning methods are gentler on clothes than traditional methods, while still possessing the same stain-fighting power. They use solvents that are less harsh, reducing the risk of damage or shrinkage. This is especially important for delicate fabrics and garments that require special care.

What Are Green Dry Cleaning Methods?

Eco-friendly dry cleaners use different methods and solvents to clean clothes. Here are some of the most common methods:

Wet Cleaning

Wet cleaning is a process that involves using water, detergents, and specialized equipment to clean clothes. It is a gentle and effective method that is especially suitable for delicate fabrics. Wet cleaning can be used to clean most types of clothes, including those that are labeled “dry clean only.”

Mulberrys Corn-based solvent dry cleaning

Mulberrys’ proprietary solvent is corn-based and provides the highest level of cleaning according to the Delta Whiteness Index. Thanks to the work of Green Biologics and their facility in Minnesota we are now making dry cleaning solvent from corn grown by about 500 family-owned farms in the heartland of America. The halogen-free solvent has very different properties from conventional solvents in dry-cleaning and is known as an “alternative solvent.” Alternative solvents are dry cleaning solvents other than PERC which is being phased out in the dry cleaning industry. It is a halogen-free, organic solvent with a pureness of > 99 %. Our solvent is classified in Europe as either a non-hazardous material or a non-hazardous substance! Moreover, Mulberry solvent is biodegradable and has been tested dermatologically with the result “Very Good”.

CO2 Cleaning (Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning)

CO2 cleaning involves using liquid carbon dioxide as a cleaning agent. In a specialized machine, CO2 is pressurized to become a solvent that effectively cleans clothes. It is a non-toxic and energy-efficient method. Utilizing a naturally occurring substance (CO2) eliminates the need for traditional chemical solvents and reduces carbon footprint.

Biodegradable Solvent Cleaning

Green cleaners may use biodegradable solvents derived from natural sources, such as citrus or soy, to clean garments. These solvents break down more easily in the environment than traditional chemical alternatives. This reduces the use of petroleum-based solvents, promoting sustainability and minimizing harm to ecosystems.

Silicone-Based Solvent Cleaning

This method employs silicone-based solvents as an alternative to traditional dry cleaning chemicals. The silicone solvent is reusable, and its properties make it effective in cleaning various types of fabrics. This reduces environmental impact by using a solvent that is less harmful, and the recyclability of the silicone contributes to sustainability.

How Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaners Differ from Traditional Dry Cleaners

  • Cleaning Agents:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Contrary to its name, traditional dry cleaning has always been immersed in a wet world of harsh chemical solvents. These solvents can be harmful to both the environment and human health.
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Utilize non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning agents that are gentler on fabrics and pose minimal risk to the environment.
  • Solvent Usage:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Rely on petroleum-based solvents, contributing to air and water pollution. 
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Embrace eco-friendly solvents, often silicone-based or derived from natural sources, reducing environmental impact and health risks.
  • Energy Consumption:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Tend to use energy-intensive machines, contributing to a higher carbon footprint.
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Embrace energy-efficient technologies and practices, minimizing electricity consumption and promoting sustainability.
  • Packaging Materials:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Often use single-use plastic and excessive packaging, contributing to landfill waste.
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Prioritize eco-conscious packaging, opting for biodegradable materials or reusable garment bags to minimize environmental impact.
  • Waste Disposal:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Generate hazardous waste through the disposal of chemical-laden filters and residues. I
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Implement responsible waste management practices, ensuring proper disposal or recycling of waste materials to minimize environmental harm.
  • Water Usage:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: May involve water-intensive processes for certain cleaning methods.
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Minimize water usage, with some methods being entirely dry, reducing the strain on water resources.
  • Certifications and Standards:
    • Traditional Dry Cleaners: Might not adhere to stringent environmental standards, potentially posing risks to workers and the surrounding community.
    • Eco-Friendly Cleaners: Often adhere to recognized certifications and eco-friendly standards, demonstrating a commitment to environmentally responsible practices.
  • Sustainable Practices:
    • Traditional Cleaners: May lack comprehensive sustainability initiatives in their operations.
    • Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaners: Prioritize sustainability by adopting eco-friendly practices, from energy-efficient equipment to recycling programs, showcasing a commitment to a green future.

Understanding these differences empowers consumers to make environmentally conscious choices when it comes to garment care, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly industry.

What to Look for in a Green Cleaner

Embarking on a journey towards sustainable wardrobe care? Consider these key features when selecting a green dry cleaner:

  1. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Agents: Opt for cleaners committed to non-toxic, biodegradable solutions for a spotless wardrobe without environmental compromise.
  2.  Innovative Technologies: Look for energy-efficient equipment, showcasing a commitment to cutting-edge, sustainable practices.
  3. Transparent Practices: Choose a cleaner with open communication about eco-friendly methods and responsible waste disposal, empowering you to make informed choices.
  4. Certifications and Accreditations: Ensure your cleaner adheres to industry-leading standards, reflecting a genuine dedication to both quality and environmental responsibility.
  5. Reusable and Recyclable Packaging: Select a cleaner that minimizes waste through the use of eco-friendly, reusable, and recyclable packaging materials.