Have you ever wondered why dry cleaning is called 'dry cleaning' when your garments get wet after they are submerged in a liquid solvent? It is because they go in dry and come out dry. The term 'dry cleaning' is a little misleading for this cleaning process.
Here is how it is done:
After you handover your garments to your trusted cleaner, they tag your garments with something that will withstand the cleaning process and provide you a receipt. Some dry cleaners staple tags on your garment while others use plastic fasteners.
The garments are then arranged and sorted according to the type of fabric, their color and the nature of stain. If your garments have tough stains, the cleaners have to undergo 'prewash' or 'spot cleaning' by hand.
Then, they are sent to the dry cleaning machine, which looks like a big washing machine. It can hold 60 to 80 pounds of garment. Here, a chemical solvent called 'Perc' is used instead of water. Detergents are added to help in removing stains. It is only after 30 minutes that the spin cycle starts where your garments are actually cleaned. After 40 to 50 minutes, the garments are exposed to high temperature to evaporate the chemical solvent.
Your garments are dry now. The cleaners will check for any loose buttons or embellishments that might come off during the cleaning process. If there are any, they will fix them and send the garments for pressing. Generally the garments are pressed by an industrial press, but certain delicate items are pressed manually by hand with a small iron.
New ID tags, matching the original ones, are attached to the garments. The cleaned garments are then hanged on a conveyor. Then, after you give the receipt to the cleaners, they will give your garments back in the garment bags.
This is the general dry cleaning process, to which there might be some modifications depending on the dry cleaners. There might be an addition of a few techniques for better service.
Did you know?
Jean Baptiste Jolly discovered the chemical based dry cleaning process in the mid-19th century. You may be surprised to know that this form of cleaning was discovered by an accident. When Jolly's maid accidentally spilled kerosene on a tablecloth, he noticed that it became cleaner than before. That's when he thought about starting a service to clean people's cloths.