Despite people’s entitled opinions, cleaning clothing and other household textiles is a science on its own. Scientists from all over the world have worked hard to find out the most efficient cleaning methods for all fabrics; which includes dry cleaning and wet cleaning.
The “dry cleaning versus wet cleaning” debate has gone on for quite some time now. Some say that dry cleaning is harmful to the environment, toxic, and all sorts of excuses. As a matter of fact, wet cleaning – which does not imply cleaning clothes in a household washing machine but a more professional method – has grown and gained more popularity thanks to a push towards using environmentally friendly cleaning methods.
But the bone of contention is in the properties of water. We never question the use of water. We drink it, use it to wash, cook with it, and many more. In this case, however, we are talking about the property of water which is used as a solvent when washing our clothes. Have you ever wondered why water doesn’t get the stain off no matter how hard you try?
Why Is Water Not the Best Solution For Removing Stains?
You have probably heard of hard water and soft water. But are you aware of the problems it imparts on cleaning? One reason why we recommend not using water to clean out stains on your garments is that it might be hard water. Hard water is practically everywhere, and not just in rural areas like a lot of people believe. We are often misguided by the notion that our appliances are the problem, which leads us to make bad financial decisions. Studies show that 85% of water in the United States is hard water. Which means it contains a lot of Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese and Iron. Hard water is a big liability especially when it comes to cleaning. This is because;
Clothes Don’t Get Clean
Soap and detergent don’t work well in hard water. The dissolved minerals present in hard water inhibits the effectiveness of many cleaning products. Minerals such as Calcium and Manganese hampers water from mixing with soap/detergent to form a complete solution. It results in a scum which is a white, chalky substance that gets on your laundry.
A substance, commonly known as “detergent curd” sticks to the clothes and make things uncomfortable. This results in ugly-looking clothes that have residue on your clothes that even attract more dirt when you put them on.
Clothes Become Dull
Soap scum and mineral residue on your clothes can also affect your appearance negatively. Hard water causes fading of colored clothes. In fact, hard water adds stains instead of getting rid of them. The yellow or reddish brown stains on clothes that appear after washing are caused by hard water. The same also appears porcelain sinks and toilets.
Household water that has a lot of iron may leave those stains on your clothes and it becomes even worse if you use chlorine bleach to wash your white garments. This is because when iron combines with bleach, it creates iron-oxide (rust).
Towels and Sheets Feel Hard and Scratchy
Apart from ruining the appearance of your laundry, hard water also distorts the natural feel of the clothes and it becomes scratchy and uncomfortable to wear. Mineral build up on the cloth leaves it feeling stiff and the residue that gathers up over time makes it less absorbent.
Trying to remove stains by yourself may not be such a good idea if you have no clue about the state of the water. If you have a sensitive skin condition such as eczema, washing clothes in hard water may lead to irritated skin.
Many people who suffer from irritated skin apply all sorts of lotions, creams and special soaps. They don’t know that the residue of hard water is what causes redness, chafing and dryness.
How to Solve Hard Water Problems
One way you’d know you have hard water is when you use too much detergent just to create foam. Also, the accumulation of deposits on your washing machine means you need to check the water intake that potentially is hard water.
To solve this issue, software is the most ideal way of cleaning. The best way to solve the hard water problem is by installing a water softener. Water softeners eliminate the minerals that constitute hard water. The water-softening process, Calcium and Magnesium ions are replaced with soft minerals such as sodium or potassium ions. In the end, it will eliminate the negative effect on your appliance, hair and skin.
When using a machine with softened water, water temperatures can be reduced by 60 degrees Fahrenheit or cold water instead of 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot water and still achieve the better or same stain removal and cleaning.
Stains that Water Cannot Remove
We have all done it at one point in our lives. Spot a stain, apply some water to the area, and pray it comes out. However, there are situations that water is no help, but a liability instead. Here are some of the stains that simple water cannot fix;
People who are often in a working area and multitasking various tasks often have their shirts or garments dotted with a pen. We always try to dub some water to dispel the stains but we only make things worse. This is because water only spreads the ink out and make things worse than they were before.
To solve this, sponge with rubbing alcohol or a dry-cleaning solvent, such as Afta Dry Cleaning Solvent and Spot Remover.
When those yellow, tiny, powdery pollen grains get on your clothes, you’ll probably think to brush it away and take out all the excess stain with water. This will only make the situation worse as water can dissolve the pollen and sip right into the fabric. Brushing it away with your hand will only rub it in more and create a bigger mess. The solution for this is to carefully shake it off the material by bending it over so that the loose particles easily fall off. If they are still there, use a tape to lift the extra particles off the fabric.
Water won’t do much for a muddy stain. It’s best to do nothing first and wait for it to dry that you can easily get rid of by brushing away. Treat what remains with a prewash stain remover such as Shout Advanced Gel, then launder it as usual.
il naturally repels water, therefore, blotting it with a little water won’t help remove the stain. Instead, use talcum powder to pat it and absorb the mess. Then as soon as you do this, treat the spot with a prewash stain remover as soon as you can.
Why Water Is Not the Most Effective Stain Remover
Most stain removers depend on a mixture of chemical strategies that get rid of or hide stains. There’s isn’t really one single or standard method for stain removal, but there are several blends that make your whites white, remove patches of grass or any accidental blood stains.
When it comes to stain removal, dry cleaning or wet cleaning is better for your clothes depending on the material of your garment and type of stain.
Most people are aware of dry cleaning simply because the name is popular, or that is where they take those “dry clean only” clothes. Wet cleaning is not cleaning your clothes in a household washing machine, but it is a more professional cleaning process.
What Is Dry Cleaning?
Dry cleaning is basically the cleaning of clothing and textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. During the dry cleaning process, little to no water is used to clear out dirt and stains from your clothes’ fabric.
Dry cleaning solvents are used to treat stains and dirt materials before dry cleaning begins. The clothes are then put into the washing compartments of dry cleaning machines to let loose of embedded dirt.
Basically, machines with hydrocarbon solvents need a wash cycle of at least 2 minutes because they operate at slow rates. After the wash cycle is the rinse cycle where the garment gets rinsed with fresh solvent from the distillation tank, preventing discoloration.
After rinsing and no more solvent can be drained from the fabric, the machines start the drying cycle. Warm air is then passed through the garments to evaporate any traces of solvent left. Temperatures are controlled to protect the clothes from the damage of heat. They are then cooled by circulating cool air over them and finally ironed.
There are different types of dry cleaning and they include;
1: Carbon Dioxide Cleaners
This is a more fancy and expensive method that is most effective for getting rid of toxic residues, soot and odors of fire.
Hydrocarbon encompasses the use of petroleum-based dry cleaning solvents which are less aggressive than perc.
3: Liquid Silicone
Liquid silicone is the most sort after solvent for soft fabrics simply because it is gentle and does not cause fading. It also does not produce toxic waste but it is more expensive compared to perc.
4: Eco-Friendly Cleaning
This is keen on using environmental friendly nontoxic solvents in the cleaning process. Since the 1940s, perc was deemed to produce toxic waste that causes cancer in test rodents. Hence Eco dry cleaning refers to any dry-cleaning process that does not use perc. This includes Co2 cleaning, Green Earth cleaning and hydrocarbon cleaning.
What Is Wet Cleaning?
For an environmentally safe alternative to dry cleaning, wet cleaning is the simply the use of a gentle computer-controlled washing machine, some water, and organic detergents and conditioners to clean clothes in special moisture sensitive dryers.
Instead of hazardous chemicals, wet cleaning utilizes water which is a universal solvent, and does not generate harmful wastes or contribute to pollution much as dry cleaning does.
Wet cleaning is mainly for sensitive fabrics such as wool, silk, rayon, and linen. Drycleaners have more flexibility when it comes to dealing with garments that may not be suitable for a dry-cleaning process, or ones that have soils which would be better removed in water.
For instance, many items, for example, wedding gowns, are often trimmed with plastic beads or sequins which may dissolve or discolor in dry-cleaning but actually perform great after undergoing wet cleaning. Items that have large water-soluble stains are more likely to have the best results after undergoing a wet cleaning process.
Why Is Wet Cleaning Better?
Standard dry cleaners mainly use toxic perchloroethylene (perc) which is used throughout many cycles of the dry cleaning process. Not to mention, it is harmful to the environment compared to standard wet cleaning. Perc has a heavier density than water (1.5 times), and uses high temperatures so as to remove stains from clothing.
Other dry cleaners that advertise not using perc for organic or natural solvents usually seek after the DF2000 chemical. Even though it is not as toxic as perc, it is a chemical commonly found in gasoline for automobiles which can actually be flammable. Wet cleaning uses no chemicals and maintains a more environmental-friendly way of cleaning one’s garments and textiles. This method is not only safe to the environment, but also to other people as well.
Benefits of Wet Cleaning
Clothing –It can practically be used for cotton, silk, leather/suede, wool and wedding gowns. For other highly-structured garments such as satin, acetate linings and gabardine, wet cleaning is not suitable.
Environment – Wet cleaning doesn’t require any hazardous chemicals and hence, it has no toxic waste or air pollution. The only environmental downside is that it does not require more water.
Finances – This method requires more workers but the chemicals used are less expensive, meaning they will be the creation of employment opportunities which means everyone benefits.
- No chemical odors or Residue
- Softer than hand washing
- Fresh, clean scent
- Soft to touch
- Gentle to sensitive skin
- Safe for your clothing
- Best way to remove stains
- Moderate compared to Home Laundry Products
- Brighter, vibrant colors without fading
- Makes white garments whiter
- Safe for the environment
Ajay Cleaners has 25 years hands on experience in the New York market and will ensure your garments get the best treatment. We promise – We deliver – We care.