The Science of Dry Cleaning: How Does It Work?

Pedro Amorim


Dry cleaning is a mysterious process for many. Unlike traditional washing with water, dry cleaning uses solvents to remove stains and dirt from fabrics. In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind dry cleaning, explaining the methods and chemicals involved to give you a better understanding of this essential service.

The Solvent: Perchloroethylene (Perc)

Properties of Perc

Perchloroethylene, commonly known as Perc, is the primary solvent used in dry cleaning. Learn about its unique properties that make it effective in cleaning fabrics.

Environmental Considerations

Explore the environmental impact of using Perc and alternatives that are more eco-friendly.

The Dry Cleaning Machine

Airtight Chambers

Understand how the dry cleaning machine creates an airtight environment to prevent the escape of solvents.

Agitation and Tumbling

Learn about the mechanical actions that help the solvent penetrate the fabric, removing dirt and stains. Dive into the science of dry cleaning! Explore how it works and experience exceptional dry cleaning with Dry Cleaners Pimlico.

Distillation and Filtration

Discover how the machine distills and filters the solvent for reuse, minimizing waste.

Pre-Treatment and Spot Cleaning

Stain Identification

Before dry cleaning, stains are identified and treated individually to increase the chances of successful removal.

Spot Cleaning Techniques

Explore the specialized techniques used to target and remove stubborn stains.

Finishing Touches

Pressing and Steaming

After cleaning, garments are pressed and steamed to restore their original shape and appearance.

Inspection and Quality Control

Understand the thorough inspection process that ensures garments are free from any remaining stains or imperfections.

Special Considerations for Delicate Fabrics

Silk, Wool, and Other Delicates

Learn how dry cleaning is adapted for delicate fabrics to prevent damage.

Beading and Embellishments

Discover the precautions taken to protect intricate details during the dry cleaning process.

Advantages of Dry Cleaning

Fabric Preservation

Understand how dry cleaning can extend the lifespan of your garments.

Stain Removal Effectiveness

Learn why dry cleaning is often more effective at removing certain types of stains compared to traditional washing.

Safety and Regulations

Handling and Disposal of Perc

Explore the safety measures in place to protect workers and the environment when using this solvent.

Government Regulations

Learn about the regulations that govern the dry cleaning industry to ensure safe practices.


Dry cleaning is a sophisticated process that combines chemistry, engineering, and skilled craftsmanship. Understanding the science behind it can give you a greater appreciation for the meticulous care that goes into keeping your clothes looking their best.


  1. Is dry cleaning suitable for all types of fabrics? While many fabrics can be dry cleaned, some delicate or sensitive materials may require special care.
  2. Can I attempt to spot clean my clothes at home? It’s generally not recommended, as improper spot cleaning can lead to further damage. It’s best to leave it to professionals.
  3. Are there eco-friendly alternatives to Perc for dry cleaning? Yes, there are environmentally-friendly solvents available that have a lower impact on the environment.
  4. How often should I have my clothes dry cleaned? The frequency of dry cleaning depends on factors like how often you wear the garment and the type of stains it incurs.
  5. Can dry cleaning remove all types of stains? While dry cleaning is highly effective, some stubborn or specific stains may require specialized treatment. Always inform your dry cleaner of any stains for best results.

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