Many people do not understand the difference between dry cleaning and laundry cleaning, and most of them are very confused about the method of cleaning they are going use between the two. Both methods of cleaning are effective, but there are times when using one of the methods may damage your garment, if not making it look unpleasant. So, here are few differences between the two methods of cleaning; laundry and dry cleaning.
1. Basic difference
The major basic difference between these two methods of cleaning is the solvent used. Laundry cleaning uses water as the solvent while dry cleaning uses a chemical solvent other than water. The solvent used will depend on the dry cleaners preferences. Perchloroethylene also known as Perc are commonly used by many dry cleaners though there are some contradicting issues surrounding it. Other dry cleaners use Hydrocarbon because it less aggressive than Perc though it may require many longer cycle. Liquid silicone and Glycol ether are also among the popular solvents used.
2. Process differences
Laundry cleaning process
This is a total wet process, where garment or your clothes are cleaned with water using detergents and other laundry agents like bleaching agents. On arrival to your cleaner, your garment goes through the following process.
• Inspection and marking- your garment is inspected for any tears or stains that may need special treatment
• Mending- if your garment needs any mending its done immediately after inspection.
• Pre-treating stains- If there are some stains that need special treatment they are done before going to the washing machine.
• Sorting.- Your garment is sorted out, according to their color or the materials
• Washing- Here your garment is put in a washing machine using a recommended amount of detergent and then tumbled with water.
• Drying – Water will be removed in the process by spinning, and some company here in Singapore usually have a dryer that squeezes all the water out. Alternatively, they are hung out to dry completely.
• Post-spotting- laundry cleaning process is very effective in removing stains, but there are times when some stains aren’t removed effectively. Post-spotting is a process where these stains may be noticed and the necessary action taken.
• Finishing – This step includes getting your cloth or garment ready for wear, by pressing or ironing, reattaching buttons that may have disappeared during the washing process and making necessary repairs.
• Packaging is the last step.
Dry cleaning process
The dry cleaning process also begins when you drop off your clothes. In Singapore, many dry cleaners do not have equipment on site, but they usually transport your laundry to their central cleaning facility. The process is completely different with the laundry cleaning process. Here are few steps in the dry cleaning process.
• Tagging and inspection- This is a necessary step in both process of cleaning, and it’s done to avoid any possible blame game.
• Stain Pretreatment- This is part of the inspection process, where a cleaner checks for any stains prior to the solvent cleaning process.
• Dry cleaning- This is where the main difference in the two methods is noticed. The clothes are loaded in a drum machine and cleaned with water-free solvent and then gently agitated in the solution. The solvent is drained and then recycled, and your clothes are rinsed in a fresh solvent to flush away any remaining dirt.
• Post-spotting- This step is in most cases not necessary, unlike laundry cleaning because, dry cleaning works very well in removing stains. However, it’s not 100 percent guarantee that it’s going to be stain free, so here your cloth will be treated with streams, water or vacuums to remove any possible traces of dirt.
• Finishing- The wrinkles are rare in dry cleaning, so finishing may not involve ironing, but pressing may be necessary.
3. Cost Differences.
Dry cleaning is considered to be a more effective method of cleaning, as compared to laundry cleaning. This is a one of the reason the costs of dry cleaning are usually a little bit higher than laundry. It also involves using expensive chemicals solvents. However, her in Singapore, the difference is not that huge and may range from $2-$5, depending on the type of clothing.
4. The end results-differences
The conventional laundry cleaning can shrink your garment. Shrinkage occurs mainly due to the fact that the garment underwent a high mechanical action after getting washed by water and then dried for a long time. The nature of the modern washing machines can also cause shrinkage especially if the cleaner is not careful enough during the process of applying heat. Apart from shrinkage, there are also high chances of texture change and perhaps the dullness of the color. Dry cleaning gives a better outcome especially to silk garments, woolen garments, and other long garments like curtains. The chances of any wrinkles are very few and the appearance of your fabric will ‘like-new’.
Laundry cleaning gives more freshness on the cloth than laundry cleaning, because water is the prime solvent in its washing process and its more energy efficient.
So, it is very easy to distinguish whether your Clothes have been drying cleaned or washed with water. If for example;
• Your fabric will be hard, but with a fresh smell then it was cleaned using water and not solvents.
• The fabric is a little softer then; it dry washed.
• There is lots of shrinkage then; it was laundry washed.
• If your garment isn’t faded, then it means that it was dry-cleaned.
There are different factors that determine the method of cleaning you are supposed to use on your garment, but there are at times your garment may require both dry cleaning and laundry cleaning respectively. At times, the selection of the washing process may depend on personal discretion.
Many clothes usually have a label that directs you, whether to use laundry cleaning or dry cleaning, so be on the lookout on this label prior to washing your garment. The basic rule is about the fabric and the cleaning processes; cotton, linen, Polyester, Cashmere, acrylic and nylon are better cleaned using laundry cleaning process. Acetate, velvet, wool, and taffeta should be dry washed.