Is Dry Cleaning Better Than Washing?




Dry cleaning, which method is better than other: dry cleaning or washing, is dry cleaning better than washing, benefits of washing and dry cleaning

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You may be struggling to choose between using dry cleaning or washing to clean your clothes. I think you are not alone in that dilemma. Many other people are confused as well regarding the two cleaning methods.

In this article, we are going to try to answer the question of which one is better. Do follow us through to clear your doubts about the question. I hope this article will be helpful for you.

What Are the Differences Between Dry Cleaning and Washing?

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To understand the better method between the two, we need to understand the differences between them.

In this section, we will look at the major differences between the two methods. The table below illustrates their main differences:

Dry CleaningWashing
It uses chemical solvents such as Perchloroethylene (Perc), liquid silicone, Glycol, hydrocarbons, etc.It uses water as the solvent.
It is costly due to the energy and chemical solvents used.It is less expensive.
It involves loading clothes into the dry-cleaning machine and tumbling.The process involves putting clothes in water with the recommended amount of detergent and washed with a machine or by hand.
Dry cleaning machines help dry the clothes.After the spinning process, clothes are hung to become dried or dried in a drier. 
Clothes do not shrink and are often ready to use after the cleaning process.Clothes shrink due to spinning and squeezing processes in cleaning and have to be pressed and ironed before usage.
It is less energy efficient.It is much better in terms of energy efficiency.

The Advantages of Dry Cleaning

Having explored the differences between the two methods, it is important to assess the benefits of dry cleaning. The following are some of its advantages:

Garments Do Not Crumple

Unlike washing or laundry cleaning, dry cleaning does not crumple clothes and fabrics. Dry cleaning machines do not spin and squeeze clothes in the process of draining water from them or drying them.

Garments Do Not Discolor

The process of dry cleaning does not fade the original color of the garment or fabric. That is garments are not dipped into the water during the cleaning process. This allows its original color to remain intact without decoloring.

Increase in Garments’ Life Span

Laundry cleaning sometimes makes the color and fabric of clothes fade. That reduces the life span of the garment. However, the life span of clothes can be extended if they are dry cleaned. This is because clothes are not kept in water and washed with detergents.

Fabrics Do Not Shrink

As the name implies, dry cleaning is done with some special chemical solvents without water. Due to that, we will not face the challenge of seeing our clothes or fabric shrink.

Also, there is no spinning and squeezing process when dry cleaning. This prevents clothes from becoming smaller, as we often experience when we wet-clean them.

Deep Cleaning is Possible

As part of the process of dry cleaning, there is an option for deep cleaning. This makes it possible for dry cleaners to clean a garment deeply such that they can remove certain types of stains that cannot be removed through the traditional wet cleaning processes. This makes it a better option for cleaning some stains than wet cleaning.

The finished result is Great

As stated earlier, a dry-cleaned garment comes out looking good and not crumpled or shrunken. There are no spinning and squeezing processes in dry-cleaning fabrics. Due to that, the process does not affect the appearance of the dry-cleaned garment.

Disadvantages of Dry Cleaning

If you are wondering whether there are disadvantages associated with dry cleaning, we will look at some of the drawbacks of dry cleaning. Below are some of them:

It is Expensive

Dry cleaning is costly as compared to its wet cleaning alternative. This is largely due to the high cost of chemicals and solvents used in the process.

Moreover, it consumes lots of energy, which further translates into the high cost of dry-cleaning fabrics. Due to that, dry cleaning is an expensive alternative form of cleaning garments.

It has High Energy Consumption

Dry cleaning companies use sophisticated machines to help them throughout the cleaning process. These machines are huge and use large amounts of energy when operating.

The cost of the energy used is therefore passed on to customers. This makes it expensive to engage the services of dry cleaners.

The Chemical Used is Toxic

There is evidence out there that Perc is toxic and can therefore be harmful to both humans and their environment. After dry cleaning, some deposits of this chemical are still left on the garments. This is why the garment still smells of the solvents used.

For example, I engaged the services of a company to clean my carpet. They dry-cleaned it because of the nature of the fabric. When the carpet came, it had a foul smell and a smell of chemicals. I kept it under the sun on my balcony for a week before I could use it.

These chemicals, when come to contact with your skin and the ground are found to cause health problems.

Not All Stains Can be Removed

The process of dry cleaning does not remove every stain on garments. There are often post-dry cleaning efforts to spot uncleansed stains that need to be treated with water. For example, dry cleaning is more suitable for removing oily stains such as grease.

The Advantages of Washing

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I think we have to understand the benefits of washing or wet cleaning before we can tell which method is better. Below are some advantages of carrying out wet cleaning:

It Has No Health Risks

Relatively, the detergents used in washing garments in water are skin-friendly. They pose a health danger if they fall into the mouth of a person. So, we can avoid their risk if we put in place precautionary measures. This is better than the case of Perc.

It Removes Stains that Cannot Be Removed by Dry Cleaning

Some stains are better cleaned in water. This is because most stains are soluble in water. It is even used to clean up stains that are unclean after dry cleaning. Wet cleaning removes the majority of the stains that we encounter daily.

It is Cheaper

The detergents used in washing clothes or fabrics in water are relatively cheaper. Also, the processes of traditional washing consume low energy compared to other alternative cleaning methods. All these make wet cleaning cheaper overall.

It is Energy Efficient

Compared to dry cleaning, it uses less energy. For example, a study by Lailata et al. (2018) found washing or cleaning in water consumes less energy when compared to dry cleaning.

This reduces the cost of cleaning clothes and fabrics for customers. With that, many people can afford to wash their garments.

Disadvantages of Washing

Let us now look at some of the disadvantages of washing fabrics in water. Understanding them is important for us to determine which is best for cleaning our clothes or fabrics. Some of them are:

Shrinkage, Crumple, and Stretching of Garments

With this method, garments sometimes become smaller after being washed in water. This is because the water used causes the fibers of fabrics to swell. Hence, the garment shrinks and becomes smaller.

Also, the squeezing and spinning processes in washing with water and detergent cause clothes and fabrics to crumple and sometimes stretch.

This is often due to faulty machines and inappropriate handling of the cleaning processes. Also, handwashing can cause clothes to stretch.

It is Sometimes Labor Intensive

This is especially the case with handwashing. Handwashing is not for the lazy ones among us. This is because one has to put in effort to get his or her clothes cleaned.

Clothes that Are Suitable for Dry Cleaning

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From the discussion, dry cleaning is not suitable for every garment or fabric. It is therefore essential to assess the suitability of fabric before deciding to dry clean it. The following are some of the fabrics that can be dry cleaned:

  1. Silk
  2. Rayon
  3. Linen
  4. Wool
  5. Suede
  6. Leather

Clothes that Are Suitable for Washing

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What are some of the fabrics that are suitable for washing with detergent in water? Practically, washing is not suitable for cleaning and maintaining all fabrics. The following are some clothes and garments that must be washed to remove stains:

  1. Cotton
  2. Polyester
  3. Nylon
  4. Spandex
  5. Acrylic
  6. Acetate
  7. Cashmere
  8. Lace
  9. Beaded, embroidered, and decorated garments  

Final Thoughts

From the discussion above, I want to ask you the question: which of the methods is better? I think it depends. That is, it depends on the fabric to be cleaned and the type of stains you want to remove. Despite their respective disadvantages, there are still helpful steps you can follow to get the best out of the two methods. Thank you for following us through. If you find this article helpful, share it with others to also benefit.

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