Most people have no idea how dry cleaning works, all they know is that their clothes go into the dry cleaners dirty and come out sparkling clean, looking good and smelling fresh.

Some people think dry cleaning is some sort of magic, which it is when you consider that it is a technique that gets your clothes clean without throwing them into a washing machine or uses any liquid to remove dirt and grime.

So how does dry cleaning work? Let’s take a look at one of life’s biggest mysteries.

The first thing to reveal is that dry cleaning isn’t actually dry! Yes, this is true. Are you shocked?

While the dry cleaning process doesn’t use water to remove the dirt, it isn’t entirely a dry procedure. Dry cleaning uses specialist liquid chemicals to lift dirt and stains from the fabrics of your clothes.

Years ago most dry cleaners used chemicals called tetrachloroethylene to clean clothes, but unfortunately, these were petroleum-based agents and were highly flammable. These days dry cleaners have switched to greener, more environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions that are better for the planet, for the health of the dry cleaning staff, and are not a fire risk.

How does the process work?

On dropping off your clothes to be dry-cleaned, our team at American Dry Cleaning will tag your garments with your name. We will then inspect your clothes to check for any damage such as holes, missing buttons and rips. We will also check for any stains that may need a bit more focus to remove, such as red wine.

If you highlight any particularly worrying stains that you want us to remove, we will pre-treat the stains before the garment is dry cleaned. The stains or stubborn dirt will be treated with a water-based cleaner for wet stains and a solvent-based cleaner for stains such as oil or grease.

We will pre-treat and blot the stains to make it easier for the dry cleaning agents to work during the cleaning process. It can help to draw our attention to any stains and identify the culprit so we can pre-treat it most effectively.

The dry cleaning process

Following any pre-treatments, your clothes are put into a large cleaning machine that is not dissimilar to a washing machine – but much bigger. The machine fills with the water-free cleaning solvents and your clothes are then swished around to allow the fabrics to absorb the cleaning agent and to break up and lift dirt and stains from the fibres.

The machine works in much the same way as a traditional washing machine, only it is the combination of the dry cleaning solution and the pounding of your clothes against the drum that works to remove the dirt.

The dry cleaning process works especially well on oil or grease-based stains so is great at removing grime and dirt from shirt collars, this is why our shirt service is so popular. Unlike with a standard washing machine, there is fresh dry cleaning solution filtering through your clothes the whole time it is in the dry cleaning machine.

The dirt in your clothes is filtered out, and the dry cleaning team will clean the filter and dispose of the accumulated dirt after the process has finished.