I get questions quite often about dry cleaners because I do so much work at shopping centers that contain dry cleaners.Â Despite the name, traditional dry cleaning operations do, in fact, use a liquid in the cleaning process.Â Most dry cleaning businesses use tetrachloroethelene (PCE).Â Historically, other chlorinated solvents were used including Stoddard solvent and kerosene, but these were a bit too flammable. While PCE may not be as flammable as kerosene, it does present quite a problem in regards to air quality, it has to be disposed of as a hazardous waste, and has a tenancy to leach into soil and groundwater causing a tremendous headache for the property owner.
There is one other alternative to wrinkled clothes, a Dow Chemical product know as Siloxane D5 or “GreenEarth”. According to Dow, the chemical is silicon based and degrades to sand, water, and carbon dioxide. Sounds like a good alternative, but I have heard statistics stating that as many as 80% of dry cleaners are still using PCE rather than newer products such as GreenEarth.