The Harmful Effects of Dry-Cleaning

drycleanDry-cleaning’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Romans who used ammonia derived from urine to launder woolen togas. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since treating our delicate fabrics with bodily fluids. But have we come far enough?

According to, “the widely used dry-cleaning solvent known as perchloroethylene, or perc for short, has been linked to health and environmental hazards, and is classified as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. See how you can help reduce perc emissions by using MyClothingHelper.

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In addition, dry-cleaning’s Wikipedia entry offers this: “when released into the air, perc can contribute to smog when it reacts with other volatile organic carbon substances. California declared perchloroethylene a toxic chemical in 1991, and its use will become illegal in that state in 2023.” Luckily, in recent years there have been significant advancements in the laundering world, making chemical treatments a last resort.

Wet cleaning, an environmentally-friendly, water-based system, cleans many dry-clean only garments. According to, “The heart of the wet cleaning system is a German made ‘Miele’ processing unit. Many dry cleaning businesses in Europe and North America are now equipped with the Miele wet cleaning unit.”

GreenEarth cleaning is another alternative to traditional dry cleaning. According to

“This method uses a silicone solvent, essentially pure liquefied sand, which is very gentle on clothes. GreenEarth is not a VOC (volatile organic compound); it is chemically inert. This means it does not chemically interact with your clothes in any way. Rather, it carries detergent to the clothing and rinses away suspended dirt and oils trapped by the detergent.”

Today Show Style editor, Bobbi Thomas, offers more cost effective quick fixes to clean and preserve your clothes in the Style Buzz section of

“The Janie Dry Cleaner Stick is made of natural clay and absorbs all types of stains, from oil to grease to dairy. Simply apply, let dry, and brush off. For complex stains, Madame Paulette’s Stain Removal Kit is trusted by designers like Vera Wang to treat even the most delicate pieces. With special formulas to fight three primary stain groups, the kit helps you identify what caused the spot, and then appropriately treat it for optimal results.”

The next time you stain your silk blouse or Cashmere sweater consider these earth-friendly and health-conscious alternatives. And consider reducing your overall footprint on the environment by using MyClothingHelper. Your body and your clothes will thank you!


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