Clean up Your Cleaners
Today’s Challenge is to find out if your dry cleaning service is “green” (if you have your clothes dry cleaned). This should be as simple as a phone call or Internet search.
What does that mean?
Dry cleaning chemicals have historically tended to be highly carcinogenic (psst…that means they cause that nasty thing called CANCER).
Articles like this one about PERC are disturbing to say the least:
(If you don’t want to read the article, let me sum up for you: PERC (which is short for a chemical I cannot pronounce (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene). It has been found in the air, water, people’s blood and breast milk. It most likely causes cancer and brain damage. IF that is enough to get you concerned, have no fear.
One helpful choice is to have your items washed and pressed at the cleaners instead of dry cleaned. With skilled technicians and the most up-to-date machinery, wet cleaning can be as safe and effective as dry cleaning.
However, you may have some clothes that have to be dry cleaned. Thankfully, many dry cleaning companies have switched to more eco-friendly practices. I would highly recommend you follow some of the guidelines below (see links down further) to find out which chemicals your dry cleaners are using.
You could try one of these searches to find one near you:
If you already take your clothes to a “green”/eco-friendly dry cleaners, ask if they have a reusable garment bag option. Our local dry cleaners offer a service with a one-time investment in a reusable garment bag. That way you aren’t getting those plastic dry cleaning bags that you have to then deal with (hopefully) responsibly. If you have a bunch of those plastic dry cleaner bags and hangers, most dry cleaners will recycle them, so you can add dropping them off to your next combined errands trip. 🙂
Also, when you take your clothes to the dry cleaners, it is helpful to have a dedicated bag in which to take them.
If you don’t dry clean any of your clothes, then today you can do one of the Optional Challenges!
For more on dry cleaning and PERC, check out these links:
(One of the links was broken in this article, so I found this: Alternative Solvents: Health and Environmental Impacts and am going to take it to my local dry cleaners and ask which products they use).
This is a simpler (and prettier) breakdown of dry cleaning chemicals that may be used by your dry cleaners:
Do you OSHA? Then, here’s a lengthy read for you:
And, finally, now that the Chemistry lesson is over, here’s a good quick read for a laugh: