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Why Professional Cleaning with a WFI Member Cleaner is Better for Your Clothes

Laundering and dry cleaning are both processes designed to cleanse and desoil clothes and other articles. The more traditional cleaning practice of laundering is a water-based cleaning process that most often utilizes an in-home washer and dryer combination and common soap or detergent. Dry cleaning, much like its name suggests, uses no water but is a comprehensive process that cleans the clothing just as effectively, if not more effectively, than the laundering method. While both processes have their purposes, in general dry cleaning is better for clothes, especially delicate items, than conventional washing in a machine. When laundering a garment is the appropriate method of cleaning, Professional cleaners may use a process called “Wet Cleaning” which uses water and detergents but with special cleaning solutions and equipment meant to be gentle on your washable articles.

The Dry Cleaning Process

Dry cleaning is a well-established practice that utilizes specially selected cleaning agents and a unique method to cleanse any number of articles of clothing without damage. While water is not the main cleansing agent in dry cleaning, the process does involve the use of liquids for stain and soil removal. Much like laundry, dry cleaning does use a specific machine in which the garments to be cleaned are put. After being put in the machine, the machine is started and gently rotates the clothes in the basket while a steady stream of clean solvent is pumped into the system. Simultaneously, the dirty solvent is pumped out of the drum to maintain the constant cleansing of the clothing. Following the solvent cycle, the next cycle begins by rapidly circulating the clothes and removing all of the solvent. Finally, the clothes are dried as warm air is pumped into the machine and continues to circulate as the basket of clothes spins. Certain articles should only be drycleaned, while other articles should be wet cleaned- only a professional is trained to know the difference.  It requires more that reading the care label on the article.  Most clothing is made outside the U.S.A and cleaning care labels are, unfortunately, not always correct.  Professional cleaners can make mistakes too if the garment’s care label is incorrect.  We have the resources to assist us in researching garments which may have incorrect care labels. 

Advantages of Professional Cleaning

As this process does not require the immersion of the clothes into water and features a gentler process, dry cleaning has several distinct advantages for cleaning clothes when compared to a washing machine.

1. Soft Process—Comparatively, professional cleaning is considered a soft cleaning process, particularly when equated to the conventional method of home laundering. The rotation of the drum in professional cleaning is much milder than the abrasive agitator in a washing machine, and the correct amounts of water, solvent and detergents used helps protect the garments being cleansed.

2. Clothing Preservation—In addition to its soft washing process, professional cleaning is also better for maintaining the new appearance of clothing. Professional cleaning rarely causes shrinking of delicate fabrics and maintains the color and texture of fabric better than the conventional method of home laundry washing.

3. Deep Cleaning—Another one of the advantages associated with professional cleaning is the process’s ability to “deep clean” tough soils and stains. Professional cleaning has a distinctive ability to dissolve oil and grease and sanitize garments, which is difficult to do with traditional home washing. This cleaning process is known to restore garments to a “like-new” state with one processing.

4. Finished Appearance—When removed from a washer and dryer, clothes often come out looking rumpled and wrinkled – in need of further ironing and treatment. However, with professional cleaning, clothes are crisp, fresh, and clean when finished with professional “finishing” equipment.

While traditional home laundering has its place, professional cleaning offers far more advantages in terms of cleanliness and clothing maintenance than the traditional residential washing machine. Professional cleaning gets clothes cleaner, keeps them looking new longer, and gives them a “like new” appearance with each treatment. When you choose to professionally clean your garments, bedding, drapes, and other articles, choose a WFI member Professional Cleaner for trained, knowledgeable and experienced professionals.

Drycleaners’ Environmental Response Fund (DERF)

DERF became state law in Wisconsin in late 1997.  Simply stated, this new law established a special fund to be used for the cleanup of contaminated ground water and soil in areas adjacent to drycleaning plants.  There is ample evidence that many drycleaning sites became contaminated notably in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a result of solvent disposal practices, that at the time, were a completely legal and accepted practice in the industry.

Today, however, as science has been able to detect dangerous levels of contamination and technologies have been developed to address these problems, drycleaners are faced with potentially catastrophic costs in employing meaningful methods to rid their properties of contamination.

In an effort to allay some of those exorbitant costs, WFI took the initiative to develop and lobby to enact the DERF program.

Funded by licensing and solvent fees imposed on drycleaners, the Fund will be redistributed to drycleaners burdened by cleanup actions, including those that have been carried out since 1991.

Funds to employ interim remediation equipment as a means to minimize major cleanups in the future are also directed under the program.  Emergency circumstances that could be prompted by an unforeseen major spill of solvents are given top priority for funding.

Wisconsin’s enactment of a contamination cleanup program exclusively for drycleaners is clear evidence that the industry of our state is on the cutting edge of the environmental responsibility and community concern.