Wednesday, July 12, 2006

For Dry-Cleaning Lovers

Hey car-drivers, how’d you do on your car-free day? Was it easy or a challenge? Didn’t do it? Why not? Can you do it this week? Just pick a day. Any day.

How many of you out there have clothes or throws that need to be dry-cleaned? Well this installment’s for you!

TO Do This Week

Ever thought about the chemicals used in “dry” cleaning? Concerned? You should be.

What’s the Big Deal? The whole process is toxic – to the people who dry clean and to you. Most dry cleaners use a chemical called perchlorethylene, affectingly known as ‘perc’. If not disposed of properly, perc contaminates the environments, killing wildlife and fish. It’s also known to cause cancer. You really want that up against your skin?


1. Cheat
Now really, if you clothes say “dry clean only” you can likely get away with hand washing them in cold water with a mild detergent.

Some things like leather and wool should not be washed in water, however….

2. GreenEarth
I am blessed to work near Eco Cleaners, which uses GreenEarth cleaning, a silicone-based solvent. They did a fabulous job in cleaning our wool throw. Prices are comparable to perc cleaning.

3. Liquid carbon dioxide
This sounds suspect…for some reason. However, according to Andy liquid carbon dioxide:
“is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-hazardous waste producing, non-ozone-depleting, odorless, and cannot spill into the soil or groundwater since it becomes a gas if it escapes from the system. Since the CO2 that is used in this process is already in the air and is recaptured for reuse in the machines, no new CO2 is produced or added to the atmosphere over the life of the system. Commercially CO2 is already used for carbonating beverages, decaffeinating coffee beans, and preserving foods.”

4. Professional wet cleaning
This method uses water and special detergents in computer controlled machines.

According to my research the most effective cleaning methods are listed in priority:

1. Liquid carbon dioxide
2. Silicone
3. Perc
4. Wet cleaning.

Green Dry Cleaners in your Community:

GreenEarth (Canada, USA and UK)
Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention
Hangers Dry Cleaners – for cleaners that use the carbon dioxide method. However, the site is under construction

Join the March!!
Over 430,000 to date have signed up to stop global warming. Join us!

In the News

NewsWeek features the Green Movement
It’s going mainstream…

David Suzuki wants you to contact Ontario

Green Bloggers

Grist Magazine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! How could I be so naive as to not have considered the harmful effects of dry cleaning before. Cheryl, you have changed my dry cleaning habits with this blog. Thank you!

FYI: Eco Cleaner has free pick-up/delivery...not that we should have someone driving all over the city creating, that wouldn't be green, but I might start up a pick-up service at work. Group dry cleaning!

Also, they give a 25% discount for signing up a friend.