Environmentally-Friendly Dry Cleaning

Workplace uniforms

Did you know that nearly 30,000 dry cleaners across the United States use a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene in their daily cleaning processes? How harmful is perchloroethylene? According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, “perc” qualifies as a Group 2A carcinogen, which means that it has been proven to be a direct cause of cancer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also classified perc as a hazardous waste, and requires it to be handled according to hazardous waste guidelines. Although perc is most immediately harmful to employees who work for dry cleaning services, it also escapes into the air, and, ultimately, enters our air, water, and soil. Thus, even those of us who seldom use dry cleaning services can be adversely affected by perc.

As Americans continue to become more environmentally-conscious, many will likely find this information alarming. The good news is if you are someone who has your clothes professionally dry cleaned on a regular basis, or use the services of uniform rental companies, you can take comfort knowing that there are environmentally friendly dry cleaning services out there. Also, more uniform rental services are choosing eco friendly dry cleaning options when cleaning their rental uniforms.

If avoiding perc is important to you, you want to be aware that if you rent any type of clothing from a uniform rental company that has their garments cleaned with perc, you will also be exposed to perc. Of course, this extends beyond work uniforms, and can include every type of rental garment. Keep that in mind the next time you rent a gown or tuxedo for a wedding.

In order to minimize your risks for perc exposure, you should choose only dry cleaning and uniform rental services that utilize environmentally friendly dry cleaning methods. The difference between “regular” dry cleaners and environmentally friendly cleaners is in the cleaning products they use. Instead of toxic chemicals such as perc and turpentine, green dry cleaners use non-toxic products like liquid silicone and minimal amounts of carbon dioxide and water.

It sometimes can be scary when you become aware of the harmful practices that people have been using for so long. In fact, it can make you wonder how much healthier humans and the environment might be if we could eliminate toxins from the environment completely. While that is impossible at this point, at least you can rest assured that your clothing will not make you ill.

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