RAVE FabriCARE: Position Papers

Our brief discussion of various issues related to
fine garments, household textiles and accessories

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Are your fine garments being cleaned in toxic solvents? Pick your poison.

 

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.

Synthetic petroleum

 

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”.

Really?

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

 

Coming soon

 

 

Siloxane

 

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

    By General Electric. Not Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips or Kreussler.

  • Different in the way it cleans

    It’s chemically inert. That means that it doesn’t interact with pigments and dyes. So it doesn’t bleed your colors. Your colors will remain vibrant. Instead of bleeding your colors, it just carries the dry cleaning detergent to your garments and then carries away the oils and soils.

  • Different in the way it feels

    Your garments will always have a butter soft feel and silky drape.

  • Different in the way it smells

    There’s no smell. None. It’s odorless. So you’ll never smell that familiar “dry cleaning solvent odor,” even on heavy cotton garments and household textiles.

  • Different in the way it reacts with your skin

    Siloxane is dermatologically friendly. It’s suitable for chemically sensitive individuals who, up to now, had only two choices: wear machine washable garments (a practical idea) or air their “dry clean only” garments outdoors before wearing (a nonsensical idea).

  • Different in the way it is used outside of dry cleaning

    Siloxane is an ingredient in many personal care products you apply to your skin on a daily basis – products such as shampoos, antiperspirants, deodorants and moisturizing creams.

    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

    At RAVE FabriCARE, we use no hazardous chemicals. None. So there’s nothing to dirty the air, contaminate the soil, or pollute the water. And, unlike perc, synthetic petroleum or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal, our siloxane fluid can be safely disposed of. It’s biodegradable. So it merely breaks down into its three natural components.

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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Filed Under:

Dry Cleaning,Position Paper

Author

Stu Bloom

Stu Bloom is Founder and President of RAVE FabriCARE. RAVE FabriCARE, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, cares for fine garments, household textiles and accessories and serves clients throughout the USA and Canada. Stu is the author of various ebooks on these subjects, all of which are available from www.ravefabricare.com/freestuff. He is an evangelist for true quality cleaning and is a contributor to and editor of True Quality Cleaning, RAVE FabriCARE’s blog. You can find Stu on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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