WHAT IS DRY CLEANING?


We entrust our clothes to our local dry cleaner. But what happens when you drop them off? The modern dry cleaning plant accepts soiled clothing and produces clean, fresh clothing via the cleaning process.

The process commonly called “dry” cleaning is actually wet. Perchloroethylene (perc) is a non-aqueous solvent because it contains little water.

Your dry cleaner will sort your garments by type and degree of soling and will determine if pre-treatment is required. The garments are put in the machine and the dry cleaning solvent removes dirt, stains and oils from the clothes.

Once the “cleaning cycle” is completed, the “extract cycle” removes any excess solvent from the clothes. The solvent evaporates while inside the sealed system. When the clothes are removed from the dry cleaning machine you can expect them to be clean and fresh. Garments are then professionally finished and returned to the customer in like-new condition.

WHAT DRY CLEANERS DO TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT:

The use of solvents in the dry cleaning process has always been a concern for customers and for industry alike. The dry cleaning machine is sealed to prevent solvent from escaping. Solvent is filtered, distilled and recycled. The remaining “sludge” is then removed to a recycler using a provincially licensed carrier.

The Certified Environmental Cleaner program was designed to educate dry cleaners in environmental safety. All Ontario Fabricare Association (OFA) members are Certified Environmental Cleaners.

Some of these practices include ensuring that solvents are recaptured and re-used, and that hangers, plastic and dry cleaning paper are recycled. As a group, OFA members are committed to finding new ways to improve the process, to meet the concerns of their customers and doing their part to make our world a healthier place.

THE EVOLUTION OF DRY CLEANING

From satellites and space travel, technology has had a tremendous impact upon our lives. The way uor clothes are cleaned has also been greatly improved by advances in technology.

The first clothes-washing machine was invented in 1677 by Sir John Hoskins. It used a wheel and cylinder to squeeze water through a bag of linens. Other devices like washboards, rollers, stirring sticks, and hot irons for pressing led the way for commercial laundry industry which was born in 1837.

Dry cleaning was discovered in 1848 by the owner of a textile dyeworks who found that liquid from an oil lamp dissolved fat and eliminated shrinking, fading and discoloring caused by washing some fabrics in water.

By 1900, commercial laundries offered wet wash services cleaning clothes and returning them for drying and pressing at home. The eventually did laundering, starching and drying, leaving the customer only the ironing.

The first synthetic cleaning fluids were developed after WW II. Eventually a colorless non-flammable, fast-evaporating liquid called perchloroethylene (perc) was developed. Perc is now the preferred choice for 90% of the industry and has revolutionized the way clothes are cleaned.

Consumers have often expressed concerns about the impact of frequent dry cleaning on clothing. A study conducted by Dr. Manfred Wentz, chairman and professor of the department of clothing and textiles at the University of North Carolina has concluded that commercial cleaning methods did not change the properties of wool garments.

Ask your OFA dry cleaner any questions you might have about the cleaning process or visit the OFA web site at www.fabricare.org.


ABOUT SHIRTS


Shirts may be one of the most common items that a dry cleaner sees, but that doesn’t mean that all shirts are created equal. Indeed, with more tailored styles and new fabrics and fabric blends, shirts continue to pose a variety of challenges both for home cleaning and dry cleaning.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN PURCHASING A QUALITY SHIRT:

CHECKLIST FOR SHIRT CARE:

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

For more information, contact your local Ontario Fabricare Association member dry cleaner. For a list of these dry cleaners near you visit the OFA web site at www.fabricare.org – search OFA members.


ABOUT CARE LABLES


CANADA’S CARE LABELLING PROGRAM

Care labels enable your dry cleaner to properly clean and finish your garment. It is important for consumers to realize that care labels are not required by law in Canada. The Canadian Care Labelling Program is a voluntary system of providing garment care instructions through the use of simple symbols.
Although the program is voluntary, most reputable garment manufacturers
Will include care labels on their clothing. * But be aware that if you purchase an item without a care label the manufacturer has no liability for any damage that may occur when cleaning.
The Ontario Fabricare Association (OFA) recommends that consumers only purchase garments that have care labels attached.

When manufacturers use the Care Labelling System they must:

*Canada’s Textile Labelling Act, subsection 5(1)
“No dealer shall apply to a consumer textile article a label, or sell, import into Canada or advertise a consumer textile article that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may be reasonably be regarded as relating to the article.”

WHAT ARE THE CARE LABELLING SYMBOLS

The Canadian Care Labelling Program uses five basic symbols in three different colors. The colors of a traffic light, red, yellow and green, are used to signify the same ideas: red for “stop”, yellow for “use caution”, and green for “go”.


  represents washing.
  Is the symbol for bleaching.
  Represents drying.
  Is the pressing or ironing symbol.
  Is the dry cleaning symbol.
  Any symbol with a red cross through it is telling you to “stop” –using that method of cleaning will ruin your garment.

TEMPERATURE MARKINGS

Different garments will need to be washed and ironed at different temperatures. It’s important for the consumer to understand that only you dry cleaner can provide all of the temperature settings required for washing and ironing.
Washing temperatures are always indicated in Celsius, usually within the washing machine symbol on the care label.

There are four maximum washing temperatures that are used, 30o C, 40o C, 50o C and 70o C.
Ironing temperatures in Celsius degrees, or with dots.

The dot symbols indicate:
One dot means 110o C, two dots mean 150o C, dots mean 200o C.

 WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

For more information, contact your local Ontario Fabricare Association member dry cleaner. For a list of these dry cleaners near you visit the OFA web site at www.fabricare.org – search OFA members.

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