Wet dry cleaning?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Kent Wang, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    My cleaner in Austin, Ecomat, offers a wet "dry cleaning" service. They even often refer to it as dry cleaning as they charge by the garment, offer ironing and will individually hang each item, the same service as you would get from a conventional dry cleaner, except they claim to use a method that uses steam instead of any chemicals. Does anyone else know more about this process? Surely they're not the only cleaners in the world to use it.

    I've given them shirts which have come out fine but I wonder how wool suits would hold up. I see lots of other customers that have them handle their wool garments so it must not be too terrible. Assuming that the steam is effective at getting dirt, sweat etc out of wool without causing shrinkage problems this sounds like a vastly superiour process to conventional dry cleaning.
     
  2. Vintage Gent

    Vintage Gent Senior member

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    No experience with that process, but you might want to liberate a wool suit from one of the local thrifts and use it as a guinea pig.
     
  3. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Senior member

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    No experience with that process, but you might want to liberate a wool suit from one of the local thrifts and use it as a guinea pig.
    Good idea - I can't imagine how steam would not shrink wool, assuming it's hot enough to clean the cloth properly. A cuople of times, I've done irreparable damage to wool just by steam-ironing it.
     
  4. dare-

    dare- Senior member

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    It's not the heat that shrinks wool. It's the sudden shift in temperature.

    I know in austin, they had a CO-2 cleaner, Hangers, but the prices were about double, so they had to close down operations.
     
  5. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Senior member

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    All "dry cleaning" is wet.
     
  6. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    All "dry cleaning" is wet.

    In the conventional sense, yes. In chemistry however, when you dry a liquid, you're removing water from the solution with a drying agent.

    Drycleaners use tetrachloroethylene as a solvent as opposed to water, so chemically-speaking it's dry ;p

    Btw, I don't think it's unusual for shirts to be cleaned with water and detergent at the cleaners unless it's got a stain that cannot be removed effectively with water as a solvent. They're not gonna do that with wool unless they're idiots.

    CO2 cleaners use a solution of liquid CO2 and detergent to clean. Since CO2 is a gas at room temperatues, they don't use heat to "dry" your clothes after they've been cleaned. For this reason, it's gentler. I'm assuming it's double the cost because people have had to invest in brand new equipment that must keep CO2 under pressure (that's how they keep it in liquid form without dropping the temperature).
     
  7. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I found out that the term is "wet cleaning". http://departments.oxy.edu/uepi/ppc/projects.htm
    I gave Ecomat a beater wool suit and it turned out great. In fact, they did a great steaming job and restored the roll to the lapel that I never knew existed. I'm still a bit worried about the long-term effects of shrinkage though.
     
  8. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    I just tried a CO2 dry cleaner in the area for some of my trousers and they didn't come back with that lifeless feel that seems to accompany regular dry cleaning.
     
  9. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    CO2 cleaning is a different process than wet cleaning though it sounds like both may be superior to conventional chemical dry cleaning.
     
  10. hughjoen

    hughjoen Active Member

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    I think wet cleaning is a good thing for environmental point of view, but do not let them clean your suit. There is a chance it might shrink; it will wrinkle your suit in the "wet cleaning" process so ironing is harsher. Its good for the environment but not good for your fine structured items like your suit. Cotton shirts are ideal for this process. An alternative might be to look for a cleaner with Hydro Carbon or "Green Earth" cleaning. These cleaning method still use solvents but not as toxic as Perchloroethylene.
     

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