To know more about the relative benefits of dry cleaning vs laundry cleaning we need to first understand what process is involved in each.
Dry Cleaning Process
Dry cleaning as the name suggests is cleaning fabrics without water. Instead chemicals are used to dissolve the stains and other dirt attached to the clothes. Different chemicals are used for different types of stains.
In the dry cleaning process first, the fabric is inspected for stains from greases, oils, dirt or juice. They are pre-treated with solvents to dissolve them and remove them. Then the clothes are washed in a washing machine using the chemical solvent perchloroethylene. This solution helps removes dirt and stubborn stains without affecting the color of the clothes or shrinking the fabrics. Once washed the clothes are pressed and returned to you as good as new.
Dry cleaning is suggested by most makers in order to avoid fabric loosing its shape and to avoid shrinkage. Different type of clothes need different methods of dry cleaning. Leather, rubber, woolens, nylons are cleaned differently. Also, some materials cannot be dry cleaned.
Laundry Cleaning Process
Laundry cleaning is use of water and detergent to clean clothes. Water is one of the best solvents to dissolve dirt and soil from garments. Most clothes don’t need much more than laundry cleaning and pressing to be used again.
Benefits Of Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning avoids shrinkage and fabric distortion
It avoids color fading
The fabric wear and tear is reduced.
The original texture of the fabrics are retained.
For some materials the dry cleaning process prolongs the life of the delicate garments.
Benefits Of Laundry Cleaning
The best way to remove dirt and soil from clothes is to launder it with soap and water.
It the cheapest method of cleaning.
No harmful chemicals are used.
Washed clothes smell better than dry cleaned ones.
Some people are allergic to dry cleaning solvents and chemicals.
Dry cleaning is an expensive cleaning method and over time repeated dry washes can start acting on fibers of the fabric and destroy it. To increase the life of your expensive clothes keep the dry cleaning to a minimum. Maybe 4-5 dry washes a year is more than enough. Your daily wear suits should not be dry cleaned too often. Use the same rule as above to extend their life. Aerate them after use and press them with a mild iron if need be.
Laundry cleaning is best for most cottons and other daily wear items. They come out cleaner and fresher. Dry cleaning them is over-kill and also very expensive.
For expensive and delicate fabrics, consult the professionals to find out the best cleaning method. Don’t trust the care labels attached to garments blindly. They are not trustworthy all the time. Also, some types of clothes need both dry cleaning and laundry cleaning. Some garments are labeled strictly dry clean only. In that case ask the professionals cleaners to assess the garment and use the proper method of cleaning.
Another point to remember is that dry cleaning is not the best method to clean all fabrics. Some garments may actually react badly to the solvents used in the dry wash process.