Dry cleaning is known to be very bad for the enviornment, much worse than using washing machines. A chemical used in the dry cleaning process is called perchloroethylene, this is hazardous to humans as well as all other animals. It can leak into groundwater sources and be consumed by animals and humans, and can kill plants. To make sure your home washing machine is doing the least environmental harm possible, buy an energy and water efficient one and use biodegradable detergent and fabric softeners so chemicals are not ending up in our water stream.
There are “green” dry cleaners. Check out the links below to find one in your area.
“The most common non-toxic dry cleaning method is is “wet cleaning”, which uses water and non-toxic, biodegradable detergents to clean sensitive fabrics. For a searchable database of wet cleaners around the country, check out Earth 911.
Another way to have your things “dry-cleaned” would be to use a CO2 cleanerwhich uses natural liquid carbon dioxide (the stuff that makes your soda bubble). Although I prefer the wet cleaning method, it looks like CO2 cleaning is catching on. If you want to read a little more about it, check out Green Apple Cleaners in New York City. And if you want to find a CO2 cleaner in your area, take a look at Find CO2.
Really, the most important thing to do is to stop going to dry cleaners that are still using perchloroethylene to “clean” your goods. It’s bad for you, bad for the workers at the store, and bad for the environment. Try to find a wet or CO2 cleaner in your neighborhood if you can; the less chemicals we all use the better off we will all be.”
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