What is Dry Cleaning?

11/28/2023
8 months Ago - 4 min Read

You take your clothes to a Dry Cleaner and let them do their magic. You noticed that dry cleaning breathes new life into even the most delicate fabrics but never wondered how it manages to do that. Bear with us because in this comprehensive blog, we’ll explore the intricate world of dry cleaning, its processes, benefits, and tips for optimal fabric care.

Dry cleaning involves getting your clothes clean in a different way than you traditionally do. As the term implies, there’s no water involved. Instead, dry cleaning uses a solvent-based solution, perchloroethylene (perc) being the standard choice for over 100 years, but now challenged by newer and eco-friendly alternatives like liquid carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon.

What is Dry Cleaning?

When it comes to garment care, dry cleaning stands out as a method for preserving the quality and appearance of delicate fabrics. Process-wise, dry cleaning is a cleaning method that relies on solvent-based solutions to clean fabrics, instead of water and detergent.

Dry cleaning is a gentler alternative to traditional washing since delicate fabrics, embellishments, and tailored garments often cannot withstand the agitation of washing machines or are damaged by water and regular detergents. As such, it became the ideal choice for people wishing to effectively remove stains and odors from their garments and simultaneously prevent damage to the fabric.

Early Days of Dry Cleaning

The early days of dry cleaning, marked by accidental discoveries and entrepreneurial spirit, set the stage for an industry that would become integral to preserving high-quality garments.

The story begins in 1845, when the term “dry cleaning” was first used by a French dye-works owner named Jean-Baptiste Jolly, the author of a fortuitous discovery. When he spilled kerosene from a lamp on a dirty linen tablecloth, he noticed that the parts touched by the fuel seemed cleaner, per EnviroForensics. Recognizing the potential of his discovery, Jolly experimented with various solvents, and the concept of using solvents for cleaning delicate fabrics gained momentum.

Dry cleaners began tests with various substances, from gasoline to turpentine, intending to eliminate water from the cleaning process since it had unwanted effects on certain fabrics, such as shrinking, color fading, or other forms of damage.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a spike in the commercialization of dry cleaning. It corresponded with the discovery of perchloroethylene (perc) as an appealing chemical solvent since it effectively cleaned fabrics and was less flammable than the alternatives employed earlier.

According to theAmerican Chemical Society, perchloroethylene was discovered in 1821 by American chemist Michael Faraday. Perc is a colorless, nonflammable liquid, well-liked by cleaners due to its ability to quickly and effectively clean even the most stubborn stains.

Nowadays, perc is still widely used in the dry cleaning industry. However, the last decades brought a decrease in its usage because of environmental and health concerns associated with it. Instead, more eco-friendly alternatives are slowly but steadily gaining ground.

Benefits of Dry Cleaning

You might wonder: why look into dry cleaning? Simply put, the benefits of dry cleaning extend beyond mere cleanliness. The whole process offers a tailored approach to garment care so that your wardrobe remains elegant and enjoys a long lifespan.

Let’s delve into dry cleaning’s advantages:

  • Preservation of fabric quality: traditional washing machines or water often damage delicate fabrics such as wool, silk, and cashmere. Dry cleaning solves these problems since it uses a solvent-based solution that is gentler on fibers and maintains the fabric’s texture, color, and sheen.
  • Effective stain removal: dry cleaners can identify and treat various stains with maximum efficiency. The pre-cleaning inspection allows for targeted stain removal so that your garments return to you free from the blemishes the conventional washing methods couldn’t eliminate.
  • Extending garment lifespan: the absence of water in the cleaning process keeps the wear and tear of the fabric to a minimum. This can extend the lifespan of your favorite garments, especially those with delicate embellishments and intricate stitching.
  • Restoration of shape and structure: among the steps of dry cleaning, we encounter the pressing and finishing stage, which restores garments to their original shape and structure. This is of paramount importance, especially for items such as suits and formal wear.
  • Individualized care: each piece of clothing undergoes a pre-inspection, where trained professionals assess their condition and identify loose buttons, tears, or any other problem. This approach ensures that all the garment receives the treatment it deserves.
  • Convenience and time-saving: with dry cleaning, you eliminate the need for at-home laundering, which saves you precious time and effort. You’ll have your clothes returned in the best shape possible, cleaned, pressed, and ready to wear.
  • Odor removal: dry cleaning also excels at removing odors, including those difficult to eliminate through traditional washing. This proves handy, especially for garments that have absorbed food smells, smoke, or any other persistent odor.

The Dry Cleaning Process

The dry cleaning process is a meticulous and specialized cleaning method that consists of several steps, each crucial in ensuring garments not only emerge spotless but also retain their original luster and structural integrity. These are:

  • Pre-inspection: before the cleaning takes place, trained professionals conduct a thorough pre-inspection of each garment. The examination involves identifying stains, loose buttons, tears, or any other issues that require attention, to create a tailored plan for the cleaning process.
  • Stain removal: dry cleaning professionals treat stains with specialized solutions, according to their nature. This is a crucial step since it ensures stains do not set during the cleaning cycle.
  • Garment tagging: order and precision are required during the cleaning process, so each garment gets tagged. This ensures that every item is returned to its rightful owner at the end of the process.
  • Dry cleaning machine: this is where the magic happens. Garments are placed in these special machines that, unlike traditional washing machines, rely on solvent-based solutions.
  • Post-cleaning inspection: once the cleaning cycle is complete, the garments go through a meticulous post-cleaning inspection. The professionals verify that the stains have been effectively removed and ensure the garment is in the best possible condition. Afterwards, they apply additional touch-ups or treatments, if needed.
  • Pressing and finishing: once the garments are inspected, they move to the pressing and finishing area, where professional pressers restore the garment’s original shape, structure, and crispness using specialized equipment. It is a crucial step, especially for formal wear, for items like suits and dresses.
  • Final inspection: buttons are checked, seams are examined, and the overall presentation of the garment is scrutinized to guarantee they are returned to the customer in impeccable condition.
  • Packaging: this is the last step, where the cleaned garments are carefully packaged. Garments may be hung on protective hangers and covered in plastic or placed in breathable bags to prevent dust accumulation and protect them during transportation.

Tips for Effective Dry Cleaning

When taking our garments to a dry cleaner, we all long for a seamless experience. This is why you should follow a few tips to ensure efficient dry cleaning.

For starters, ensure you regularly inspect your garments for stains, then act accordingly. If you notice any stains, promptly take the garments to a dry cleaner to prevent them from setting.

It is important to communicate any special care requirements, should your garment have any, to your dry cleaner.

When it comes to storage, ensure you keep the dry-cleaned garments in breathable bags to protect them from dust and pests.

Finally, research and choose a reputable dry cleaner with positive reviews and a history of quality service.

Timeless Cleaners, Your Ideal Dry Cleaning Partner

If you’re looking for an ideal dry cleaner, look no further than Timeless Cleaners. We have been serving Las Vegas in our locations for over 50 years, not only cleaning your garments but rejuvenating them.

Our locations, AI Phillips and Thrift D’Lux, offer a plethora of services, from dry cleaning to alterations and other specialty solutions.

Utilizing cutting-edge technology and eco-friendly solutions, our dry-cleaning services keep your garments fresh, vibrant, and remarkably clean.

No matter how delicate your garment is, be it a wedding gown, couture piece, or Elvis outfit, our specialists are trained to handle them with the highest level of care.

If your garments need attention, leave them to Timeless Cleaners. We offer convenient pickup and delivery services that work around your schedule.Quality cleaning, right to your door. Find us here.

Exceptional Cleaning
for Every Garment

Our Locations

Conveniently located across Las Vegas

Al Phillips Bicentennial

T: (702) 260-0846

A: 2900 Bicentennial Parkway
Henderson, NV 89044-4486

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Central

T: (702) 658-0320

A: 3174 N. Rainbow Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89108

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Charleston

T: (702) 228-2434

A: 9811 West Charleston Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89117-7529

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Rampart

T: (702) 288-5843

A: 8578 W. Lake Mead Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89128

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Roads Ranch

T: (702) 617-2842

A: 7345 S. Durango Dr.
Ste 104 Las Vegas, NV 89113

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Skye Canyon

T: (702) 405-8844

A: At Smiths Market Shopping Center, 9810 W. Skye Canyon Park Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89166

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Village

T: (702) 558-3197

A: 35 E. Horizon Ridge
Pkwy. Suite 130
Henderson, NV 89002

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Al Phillips Windmill

T: (702) 361-1065

A: 2637 Windmill Pkwy
Henderson, NV 89014

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Ann

T: (702) 476-3621

A: 4690 W. Ann Road
(near W Ann & Decatur Blvd)
N. Las Vegas NV 89031

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Anthem

T: (702) 837-8974

A: 2505 Anthem Village Drive #D (at Eastern & Anthem Parkway) Henderson, NV 89052

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Deer Springs

T: (702) 515-0933

A: 6720 Hualapai Way Ste 165
Las Vegas, NV 89149

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Farm

T: (702) 839-2035

A: 8414 Farm Rd. (Tule Springs Village)
Las Vegas, NV 89131

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Flamingo

T: (702) 367-8383

A: 6190 W. Flamingo
(at Jones)
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Losee

T: (702) 399-4482

A: 5892 Losee Road, Suite 133 (at Paradise)
N. Las Vegas, NV 89081

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Siena

T: (702) 463-6011

A: 10080 W. Tropicana, Ste 162
Las Vegas, NV 89147

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed

Thrift D’Lux Sunset

T: (702) 453-3344

A: 4602 Sunset Road, Unit A
(at Mt. Vista)
Henderson, NV 89014

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: closed