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Dry Cleaning – How It’s Done

Dry cleaning is a cleaning process for clothes and textiles that degrade in water or cannot withstand the rough tumbling of a washing machine. What expectedly comes as a surprise to many, however, is that contrary to what its name implies, dry cleaning is not an entirely dry process! Here’s how it’s done:

During the dry cleaning process, clothes are first soaked in a solvent that is different to water, in that it dissolves stains that would not be dissolved by water, therefore eliminating the need for high temperature and tumbling and resulting in less damage to the fabrics.

This is done in a machine that is similar to a combination of a regular washing machine and clothes dryer. Items are placed in what is called the “basket” or “drum” of the machine, and the wash cycle begins, rotating the clothing in the solvent. The solvent is later removed and sent to a distillation unit which consists of a boiler and condenser, and is then fed into a separator unit where any remaining water from the condensing process is separated from the solvent.

A typical wash cycle lasts between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on the type of garments and severity of the stains. At the end of the wash cycle, a rinse cycle begins where the garments are rinsed with the freshly distilled solvent mentioned previously. This helps to prevent discoloration caused by dirt particles being absorbed back into the garment.

Following the rinse cycle, the machine begins the extraction process. This process recovers the solvent for reuse, and is done by draining it from the washing chamber and accelerating the basket to spin at 350-450 rpm, which causes most of the solvent to “fly” off. When no more solvent can be spun off, the drying cycle begins.

During the drying cycle, the clothes are tumbled in a stream of warm air that circulates through the basket. This evaporates any traces of solvent remaining after the spin cycle. The temperature of the air is controlled so as to prevent damage to the garments. After the drying cycle is complete, the garments receive the final cleaning treatment; the deodorizing cycle, which cools the garments and removes any final traces of solvent by circulating cool air over them and then through a vapor recovery filter.

The garments are then clean and ready for pressing and finishing. If you found the process of dry cleaning interesting, then be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Have any clothes that need to be dry cleaned? Portughes offers to pick them up and bring them back at your convenience! Call us now on 2144 4444 to book or visit our website for more information.