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Are your fine garments being cleaned in toxic solvents? Pick your poison.
By: Stu Bloom
Almost all cleaners in the metro Phoenix area, clean garments in toxic, fabric aggressive, dye stripping solvents: perchloroethylene (a chlorinated solvent), petroleum (a hydrocarbon solvent) or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal (a formaldehyde solvent).
Perchloroethylene (aka perc)
The overwhelming majority of ordinary cleaners favor perchloroethylene (aka perc), a 1940’s dry cleaning technology.
Because perc is a volatile organic compound (VOC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies perc as a Toxic Air Contaminant. That’s why it’s strictly regulated at the federal, state and local level regarding how it’s used and how it’s disposed of. And why the State of California has outlawed the installation of any new perc dry cleaning machines starting in 2023.
Ordinary cleaners, on the other hand, love perc.
It’s dirt cheap (in most states). It’s super aggressive. It’s relatively fast in terms of cleaning and drying. And, for garments with oily stains, virtually labor free.
If we specialized in cleaning automotive mechanic uniforms, we’d definitely want to clean in perc.
Some dry cleaners have, in recent years switched from perc to synthetic petroleum. Many of these cleaners now tout their synthetic petroleum as “eco-friendly” and “green”. Even “organic”.
Synthetic petroleum is a derivative of the manufacture of gasoline and is subject to the exact same restrictions as perc.
That’s because, just like perc, synthetic petroleum is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that’s strictly regulated at the federal, state and local level regarding how it’s used and how it’s disposed of.
If you believe that synthetic petroleum is “eco-friendly”, “green” or “organic”, then you’d probably believe than the moon is made of cheese.
Formaldehyde dibutyl acetal
At RAVE FabriCARE, we don’t (and won’t) use perc, synthetic petroleum or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal.
Since 2001, we’ve been cleaning your fine garments and household textiles in siloxane.
Like most products, siloxane has its drawbacks.
It requires a substantial annual licensing fee. The cost per gallon of siloxane is relatively equal to the cost of perc or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal and significantly higher than the cost of synthetic petroleum. And it’s for more labor intensive and time consuming to use.
Nonetheless, we love siloxane. Mostly because it’s as different as different can be.
- Different in the way its made
- Different in the way it cleans
- Different in the way it feels
- Different in the way it smells
- Different in the way it reacts with your skin
- Different in the way it is used outside of dry cleaning
It’s so gentle you can (legally) wash your face and hands in it. Warning: don’t try that with perc, synthetic petroleum or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal. That would be dangerous and illegal.
- Different in the way it protects the environment
You can even water the lawn, shrubs and trees in front of City Hall with siloxane. But don’t try that with perc, synthetic petroleum of formaldehyde dibutyl acetal. That would be illegal. You could end up with fines, probation and/or jail time.
Different as different can be
And that’s not just our opinion. It’s science. Not myth.
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