Dry cleaning isn’t dry or clean. It’s called dry cleaning because chemicals are used instead of water as the cleaning agent. The most common chemical solvent used in Canada is PERC (short for perchloroethylene). This chemical creates hazardous waste, pollutes soil and air, contaminates water, and poses serious health risks to all the people who handle it —including employees, consumers, and people who live near dry cleaners. Despite being identified as one of the “highest concern” substances for public health in Toronto, qualified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and “likely a human carcinogen” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, PERC is still used in over 80 per cent of dry cleaners across Canada.
Professional wet cleaning is an environmentally friendly and toxic-free alternative to conventional dry cleaning. It uses small amounts of water and biodegradable soap in computer-controlled machines to clean even the most delicate of fabrics. This method of garment care isn’t just effective at removing stains and odour, it also extends the longevity of your clothes by ensuring fibres are respected.
Yes. Wet cleaning is safe and even more effective than conventional dry cleaning at stain and body odour removal. Always consult your professional wet cleaner if you have concerns.
Aside from wet cleaning being safe for your health, it also has other benefits: For your clothes The wet cleaning process is much like hand washing. However, it’s automated and controlled for the type of fabric, colour and build, such as sequins, pleats, structured garments, etc. Since the care for each garment is customized, it extends the longevity of the garment as the fabric fibres are protected. Wet cleaning leaves garments clean and smelling fresh, with no shrinkage or harmful residues. Wet cleaning is also the only way to genuinely remove body odour and perspiration stains from your clothes, ensuring that discolouration doesn’t accumulate over time. For the environment Switching from dry cleaning to wet cleaning can help you reduce your negative impact on the environment. Since wet cleaning uses only biodegradable detergent and water. The leftover water and soap mixture is safe to go down the drain and is easily handled by local municipal water treatment facilities. Dry cleaners, on the other hand, require government regulated handling and disposal of the hazardous waste created by using PERC.
While both laundering and hand washing are also water-based and require detergents, they are not the same as professional wet cleaning. Laundering uses standard washers and dryers to clean certain garments. The settings on these machines are preset, with only the amount of detergent being roughly controlled. Hand washing, on the other hand, is limited to delicate garments and cannot be performed in volumes as it is labour intensive. In comparison, wet cleaning precisely measures water, solvent, and moisture levels that are tailored to fit each garment’s specific needs.
No. It’s a common misconception that water shrinks fabric. The true reasons fabric shrink are an aggressive mechanical agitation in a washer along with high water temperatures and the over drying of garments.
As wet cleaning uses only biodegradable detergents and water to clean garments, it’s the only eco-friendly and effective method of professional garment care. Dry cleaners that advertise their services as eco-friendly, green, organic, or natural might not be what they claim. These terms are entirely unregulated in Canada. Here are some sneaky “green” chemicals that consumers need to look out for:
- Silicone cleaning (Siloxane D5) – often marketed as “green.” However, siloxanes used in silicone-based cleaning are environmental pollutants. These solvents are flammable and potentially harmful to aquatic ecosystems.
- Hydrocarbon solvents (also called petroleum solvents), such as DF2000 and EcoSolv – are flammable, volatile and toxic. These solvents contribute to smog and nasty air pollution through volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Carbon dioxide cleaning – involves liquid CO2 as the cleaning solvent. It is non-flammable and non-toxic, but is significantly more expensive than other alternatives.
- Solvair, Solvon, K4, DrySolv, and Rynex – just a few other risky alternatives to PERC that are often marketed as eco-friendly, green, organic, or