Wet Cleaning

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What is wet cleaning?

Wet cleaning is a general term that wholly or partially involves the use of water and wet-side chemicals to remove soil and stains from garments and household textiles.

Wet cleaning may be used to:

  • Remove new, water-based stains that cannot be removed with dry-side chemical agents and dry cleaning solvents or fluids.

  • Remove old, caramelized and and oxidized yellow and brown stains that cannot be removed with dry-side chemical agents and dry cleaning solvents or fluids.

  • Clean garments and household textiles that should not be dry cleaned due to their fragility, construction, finishes, dyes, trims, embellishments, and the like.

The overall condition of the garment or household textile, including the nature and age of the soil and stains, will dictate the exact sequence of the processes to be used.

Wet cleaning includes the use of the following techniques

  • Soaking in special tubs

  • Hand washing in special tubs

  • Soaking followed by hand washing or hand washing followed by soaking

  • Tumbling in sophisticated wet cleaning machines.

Wet cleaning using sophisticated wet cleaning machines

Most ordinary cleaners will tell you that they “wet clean”. 

Please be aware, however, that most ordinary cleaners do not have specialized, computer-controlled wet cleaning equipment. Instead they rely on their basic shirt washers and an assortment of industrial and home washers.

This is not controlled, professional wet cleaning.

The use of basic shirt washers and an assortment of home washers can result in damage to your garments and household textiles, including shrinkage, dye fading, dye bleeding and dye crocking.

Even the most technologically advanced shirt washers and home washers cannot match the capabilities of our computer-controlled wet cleaning equipment where

  • micro-processors control the water temperature, cylinder speeds, mechanical action (tumbling) and moisture removal, and

  • special detergents and conditioners protect the feel or “hand” of the fabric.

Wet cleaners vs. dry cleaners

There are a few ordinary cleaners that offer “wet cleaning” only (no dry cleaning process using dry cleaning solvents or fluids).

Typically, these wet cleaners focus their marketing efforts on the “positive impact” of wet cleaning on the environment relative to the “negative impact” of dry cleaning solvents such as perchloroethylene, synthetic petroleum or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal.

(By the way, RAVE FabriCARE uses none of these dry cleaning solvents). 

When it comes to your fine garments and household textiles, wet cleaners will tell you that they can wet clean anything: your Fendi red silk dress, Armani navy wool suit, Loro Piana red corduroy trouser and Sferra Bros cream silk bed sheets.


If wet cleaning produced a quality of product that’s equal to or exceeds the quality of product that we produce using our siloxane dry cleaning fluid, why do wet cleaners around the country send us garments and household textiles that have been improperly cleaned for “restoration”?

“Washing” vs wet cleaning and/or dry cleaning

We’re frequently asked whether a particular garment or household textile can be “washed”.

Our typical response is this question goes something like this…

The question isn’t whether a particular garment or household textile can be “washed”. Anything can be “washed” if you really want to wash it.

The real question is whether it should be “washed”.

Should you wet clean your Armani navy wool suit as a matter of routine?

In the absence of very unusual circumstances, the answer is no.

What constitutes an unusual circumstance?

Consider these examples: your child vomited all over your suit; you splattered a glass of red wine all over your suit; your cat urinated on your suit that accidentally fell onto the floor of your closet. 

In these 3 examples, some form of wet cleaning will probably be required to remove the stain, the odor or both. The suit should then be hang dried, blocked to original size, hand ironed inside and out, dry cleaned and hand ironed ibnt nnnnttntttnside and out once more.

Wet cleaning for the chemically-sensitive

Wet cleaning is a process that might appeal to those who are

  • sensitive to certain dry cleaning solvents such as perchloroethylene, synthetic petroleum or formaldehyde dibutyl acetal (none of which are, by the way, used by RAVE FabriCARE).

  • sensitive to the fragrances and perfumes that many dry cleaners inject into their dry cleaning solvents during the dry cleaning “wash” cycle.

At RAVE FabriCARE, we offer clients who are chemically sensitive a choice:

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