Those who own a dry cleaning business are faced with several risks. A few of these risks include exposure to certain types of cancer. The risk is primarily related to the use of certain chemicals in the dry cleaning process.
When a customer brings in a stained garment, the dry cleaners use special chemicals to pre-treat the stain. This helps them to remove the stain safely without damage. They also use small amounts of detergent in the process, which helps the machine operate properly.
Dry cleaners use several different types of solvents to remove stains from clothes. These chemicals include petroleum-based fluids, kerosene, and perchloroethylene. The latter is known as perc, and is the most common solvent used in dry cleaning.
Petroleum-based solvents are extremely flammable, and they are not safe for use in long-term situations. They are also a potential threat to the health of the dry cleaners and other people who work with them. In addition, some chemicals are listed as irritants.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency began to regulate dry cleaning chemicals in the 1990s. The agency’s goal is to ensure that people are safe when they use these chemicals. They also require that dry cleaners obtain a permit before installing a dry cleaning machine.
A dry cleaning machine includes a pump, a filter, and a holding tank. The filtration process helps to trap solid impurities, which are then re-circulated back into the holding tank. The filtration process also helps to ensure that the solvent is totally purified.
Dry cleaning solvents are typically used in combination with detergents. These detergents are designed to emulsify hydrophobic soils. This prevents soil from redepositing on the garment. Dry cleaners also use protein-based removal agents to remove sweat stains. These chemicals also help to remove blood and egg stains.
If a stain on a garment occurs, it is important for the customer to call the dry cleaner to discuss the stain with them. The cleaner will then recommend a stain removal method. The cleaner will also use professional judgment to determine which method will be most effective.
If a stain is particularly delicate, the dry cleaner may recommend that the item be hand-washed. This is especially important for clothing made of natural fibers, such as wool, silk, and suede. Water will shrink the fibers of these materials. It may also damage the fibers by causing them to become rigid. In addition, water can lead to the color fading of the garments.
In the case of brominated solvents, the EPA has approved them as safe to use. However, these solvents are much more expensive than PCE. They also have higher KB values than PCE, which can cause damage to synthetic beads and sequins. Brominated solvents also have a short drying time. This means that they are not as effective as PCE.
Dry cleaners also need to be aware of special care instructions provided by the manufacturers of their clothing. Dry cleaning garments that have unique fabric may require additional care, such as removing stains with a special cleaning agent.