The term “Green” has been thrown around a lot in the recent years. And, we the consumers are becoming desensitized and indifferent to products claiming to be “green.” We hear “green” and our eyes glaze over. What does “green” mean? We know that it has something to do with being natural and it is good for us or the environment. But, as we examine many products or services that use “green, eco-safe, eco-preferred or natural,” it is increasingly clear that it is merely a finely crafted marketing campaign. This process is “greenwashing”.
Of course there are products and services that are “greener” or even truly “green.” Let’s take dry cleaning as an example. Everyone knows that the dry cleaning industry uses a toxic solvent called Perchloroethylene (perc) as the industry standard for cleaning clothes. It is classified as a probable carcinogen by the EPA and its use is being phased out in California by 2023. Some drycleaners then switched to petroleum or hydrocarbon (DF-2000 or Ecosolv) because it is less toxic than perc. It is less aggressive than perc, but it is flammable and the drycleaners can use the term “green” in their marketing. But, is it really green? Is cleaning your clothes in what is essentially kerosene a natural and toxic free method? Does washing in either perc or petroleum produce a cleaner garment? The answer is no. Both solvents are very good degreasing agents and are decent at removing some dirt with proper detergents, but stains such as food, drinks, sweat, urine and many other naturally occurring stains will not budge in perc or petroleum.
So what is a truly “green” drycleaner? The EPA has classified two liquids as completely toxic free: liquid CO2 and water. There are few cleaners who use CO2 because of the cost, and its cleaning is not as effective as some of the other solvents. On the other hand, water is the true natural, eco-safe, eco-preferred cleaning medium. Drycleaners who use this process are called “Wetcleaners.” Wet cleaning uses water to clean all “dry clean only” labeled garments with no shrinkage, such as wool suits, silks, cashmeres and rayon in special washers and humidity controlled dryers with EPA approved detergents and conditioners. Water naturally takes out all the stains that perc and petroleum cannot. A fresher, cleaner garment is produced.
Ask your drycleaner what makes them “green”? Find out what solvent they use. Do they recycle hangers? Maybe they use biodegradable garment covers or recycled poly? Or, are they taking steps to save energy? Of course, you can determine what “green” means to you. For many, a little perc or petroleum in their clothing, comforters and other household items is but a mere nuisance. For others, not allowing those chemicals into the home is the practice in which they want to live; they should choose the wet cleaning process.
For more info, contact Spot Cleaners at (775) 851-7768.