Dry Cleaning Doesn’t Have to Be Toxic

It’s been years since I’ve taken anything to the dry cleaners. When I realized how toxic dry cleaning chemicals are, I promptly began checking any and every tag of each item of clothing I bought. It was machine or hand wash for me or nothing.

But recently, I began working my first business casual job and shopping for clothes has become a pain. All of the clothes I try on that happen to fit are “dry clean only.” Ugh. So, surely, I thought, by now there MUST be some green / healthier dry cleaning options.

A simple Google search led me to Green Earth, not a particular dry cleaning establishment, but a type of dry cleaning that “uses environmentally friendly, odor-free liquid silicone as a dry cleaning solvent. From the recyclable plastic covers to the cardboard hangers made from recycled materials, just about everything at Sparks Cleaners is Earth-conscious.”

Hey, I could get on board with that. And if I don’t have to wash, dry, fold, put away, etc. my weekly Mount St. Helen of clothing, I’m happy to pay a few extra bucks for the service.

But as it turns out, and not surprisingly, not every dry cleaner in Dallas is going to offer Green Earth. Startup costs for the equipment and supplies are expensive – 25 to 30 percent higher than that of regular equipment and supplies. And with our current state of recession, customers are cutting back on extra, unnecessary services like dry cleaning, so establishments are trying harder now than ever to keep prices down.

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While I’m happy to spare some recession-era change for green options, I understand that not everyone is willing to do the same. However, there may come a time when there’s no longer an option… in the dry cleaning industry anyway.

The chemical usually used by dry cleaners, called perchloroethylene, is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pollution hazard, and the used solutions are even required to be handled as hazardous waste. Our most progressive state, California, was the first state to outlaw the chemical, but the law won’t be enacted until 2023. Fingers crossed we’ll be out of recession land by then.

In the meantime, you can do the green thing because you want to, not because you have to. Check out these DFW locations for safer dry cleaning:

Swiss Cleaners 
3030 Mockingbird Lane 

Fort Worth:
Centre Cleaners 
4620 Bryant Irvin Rd. #502 

Executive Cleaners 
1720 El Dorado Pkwy., #108 972-548-2900

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