[Patricia] Day 18: Phase out PERC in your Dry Cleaning methods

Aug 03, 2013

photo (10)It’s a beautiful day in Los Angeles, so I decided to visit  Redondo Beach. Leave it to the beach towns to have organic cafes and eco-friendly retail stores everywhere you go. One particular shop that caught my attention was a dry cleaning service called OrganiClean: Non Toxic Cleaning. I’ve been going to the dry cleaners all my life and have never heard of an organic dry cleaner. What’s most intriguing is that I have recently heard about the negative effects of chemicals used in traditional dry cleaning processes. 

If you go to the dry cleaners regularly, you might want to ask them what solvent they use to wash your clothes. Perchloroethylenebetter know as PERC, is a solvent used in paint strippers and spot removers. It’s the main ingredient used to clean your clothes during the dry cleaning process. Although it’s extremely effective for cleaning, PERC could be left on your clothing and brought into your house. Negative effects include nausea, dizziness, and decline in motor skill functions (and these are the less sever effects). Also, it’s also not great for the environment because many cleaners expose these chemicals to the soil and ground water around them. 

So here’s the good news: a lot of the clothes that you have labeled as “dry cleaning” can actually be washed by hand. If that’s too tiresome, there are wet cleaners that do the hand washing for you. There are also some cleaners that label themselves as “organic”. As this article states, make sure to ask them what replacement solvent they are using other than PERC.  Silicone and Petroleum based solvents give cleaners more lean-way to mark themselves as “organic” because they aren’t using PERC, but they are as bad for your health and the environment.

Time to roll up my sleeves and do some hand washing.


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