Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Cleaning Up Your Dry Cleaning


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Friday Finds: Pushing Clean Air’s Buttons

Tired of breathing dirty air during your daily commute? Just turn on your car vent’s recirculation button, advises researchers from the Univer...

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Friday Finds: The Ocean’s Plastics Predicament

Tiny plastics clog the world’s oceans By now we all know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a giant mess of trash in the ocean—b...

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Friday Finds: An Oceanic-Sized Miracle

Mexican government saves miracle reef Cabo Pulmo, an ecological treasure and the jewel of California, recently received a stay of execution after the...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
08 April 2009, 10:13 AM
 

Question: When is dry cleaning actually dry?
Answer: Never. 

When you send your dry-clean-only clothes to the local dry cleaner (and believe me, I'm the first to admit I'm a stickler for nicely pressed shirts and pants) they use special machines and a toxic solvent called perchloroethylene to get your clothes clean.

That sickly sweet smell you notice when you take off the plastic covering? That's the residue of perchloroethylene, otherwise known as perc. Federal and state regulators say that over prolonged periods of time, perc may cause cancer, can damage your kidneys and liver, and will irritate your eyes, skin, and throat.

A few years back, we went to court to challenge a weak EPA proposal that failed to regulate and eventually phase out the use of perc in dry cleaners. California has already done this, and other states are considering a phase out as well. But don't fret: certain washers use water to get your dry-clean only clothes just as clean without damage and at a cheaper cost to you and the environment.

This week, the EPA, facing an upcoming court appearance on this case, took a voluntary remand, essentially asking the court for more time because they want to review the legal and policy positions of the Bush EPA. We're hopeful that the agency will consider the health threats of using perc, the benefits of using safer, cleaner alternatives, and follow California's lead of eventually phasing the use of this toxic chemical out. In the meantime, look for dry cleaners that use a wet cleaning process. If you can't find any, the best thing to do when you get those garments home is to get them out of the bag and air them out in a well ventilated area.

Best thing to do is NOT wear clothes that need dry-cleaning in the first place.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.