Solvents and Chemicals Used in Dry Cleaning

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Dry cleaning relies on various solvents to clean garments. The most common solvents used in the industry are  Perchloroethylene (Perc) and Hydrocarbon solvents.

Below are some of the features and characteristics of these dry cleaning solvents.

Perchloroethylene (Perc)

Efficiency: Perc is highly effective at removing oil-based stains and doesn't require high temperatures, which can be better for delicate fabrics.

Speed: It has a faster drying time compared to hydrocarbon solvents, reducing overall energy usage and time.

Hydrocarbon Solvents

Safety and Health: Hydrocarbon solvents are less toxic and pose lower risks to health and the environment than perc. They are not classified as hazardous air pollutants.

Regulatory Compliance: Less regulatory burden for use and disposal, which can ease operational overheads for dry cleaning businesses.

Consumer Preference: Some consumers prefer hydrocarbon solvent cleaning because it's seen as more environmentally friendly.

Cleaning Power: Hydrocarbons are less aggressive solvents than perc, which may result in slightly less effective cleaning of some stains.

Operational Adjustments: Equipment and processes may need adjustment to handle the different chemical properties and cleaning behaviours of hydrocarbon solvents.


Each solvent has its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of cleaning effectiveness, environmental impact, and health and safety concerns.

If environmental impact and worker safety are a priority, hydrocarbon solvents might be the better choice. They offer a safer profile with less stringent regulatory challenges.

If efficiency and cost-effectiveness are more critical, especially for heavily soiled garments, perc might be preferred despite its potential health and environmental risks.