To avoid the additional toxic load on the environment and on your body, find a green cleaner that does not use perc in their cleaning processes. Perchloroethylene (or perc) is a clear, colorless solvent that is used by most dry cleaners because it removes stains and dirt from common types of fabrics. The bad news is that perc is also a toxic chemical tied to both human health and environmental concerns. Perc can pollute the air, water or ground during the various phases of the dry cleaning process.
Take the time to find a professional green dry cleaner that acts responsibly toward the environment. Most experienced dry cleaners are familiar with perc-related health or environmental issues.
Here are some specific actions you can take to minimize the impact on your health and our environment:
- Know what you are paying for. Learn about the different cleaning processes and options that are available to you.
- Ask about the cleaning methods used. This includes safety and maintenance practices, and how she/he handles her/his solvent waste streams.
- Bring clothes to a professional cleaner who follows safety requirements. Also check to be sure the cleaner properly maintains the cleaning equipment.
- Consider the wet cleaning process as an option. Ask your cleaner if they are familiar with the wet cleaning process and consider having clothes wet cleaned instead.
- Give your cleaner information on how the clothes were soiled. Provide the fabric content information off of the care labels and point out any stains in advance.
- If you smell solvent when you enter a cleaning shop, go somewhere else.
- Ask to have the clothes re-processed if there is a solvent odor. If you think the solvent was not effectively removed, or if the newly dry cleaned clothes have a strong odor, ask your cleaner to re-process your order or take them to another cleaner.
Source: EPA.gov, Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Cleaning