Dry cleaning uses solvents to clean fabrics and clothes instead of water. Perchlorethylene, or perc, is probably the most popular solvent used by the vast majority of dry cleaners in Singapore. This solvent is safe and quite effective at removing dirt.
During dry cleaning, clothes are first taken through a pre-treatment process to remove stains. The pre-treatment loosens up any stains or soils in the fabric, making it easier for the solvent to clean the clothes. Once the pre-treatment is completed, the clothes are placed into the dry-cleaning machine and the cleaning solvent is added.
The dry-cleaning machine works more like a washing machine. In the first machine cycle, it spins the clothes at high speeds while administering large amounts of solvent (up to 750 liters in about 8 minutes). The machine then drains the solvent and spins the clothing in the next cycle. Most machines have a heating element. So after all the solvent is siphoned off, the clothes are dried by hot air which circulates inside the machine.
Once the clothes are removed from the machine, each piece is re-inspected for various imperfections before they are steamed and pressed.
Does Dry Cleaning Remove Odors?
Whether dry cleaning removes odors largely depends on the dry cleaning process itself. Routine dry cleaning doesn’t do a great job of removing odors from clothes. In fact, the traditional dry cleaning process may leave clothes smelling horrible. This foul smell is from the solvents used in dry cleaning.
However, there are a number of special dry cleaning processes that do remove odors, including bad orders caused by sweating, smoke, urine, pollen, insect droppings, food and drinks spills, and cooking vapours. One such type of dry cleaning process is called ozone treatment. It involves treating clothes in a high-performance, controlled ozone chamber.
Ozone generators are widely used in buildings to purify air in Singapore. They are also very effective at removing odors from dry clean only clothes. After pretreatment, garments that smell of body odor, smoke, strong perfume, mold or any other contaminant are put in an ozone machine. This machine works on the principle of oxidation. It uses electrical energy to convert oxygen (O2) molecules into ozone or O3 molecules. Ozone is an unstable form of molecular oxygen, and a very powerful oxygenating gas. When clothes are placed inside an ozone chamber, the gas reacts with the volatile organic components that account for 99% of all bad odors. The odorless clothing is then put into the dry cleaning machine. By removing the odor-causing agents, ozone treatment eliminates bad odors from clothes without risk to delicate fabrics.
Another dry cleaning process that may be used to remove odors from clothes is liquid CO2 cleaning. This method is quite rare, but does a great job of removing odors. It involves dry cleaning clothes using a special machine or green cleaner which utilizes liquid carbon dioxide as solvent. This machine provides a pressurized environment that turns the liquid CO2 into vapor. The vapors remove all bad odors, including sweat and smoke. This method is considered to be more environmentally friendly than using traditional solvents such as perc.
In certain extreme cases, very strong odors may not be eliminated completely from the clothing even after ozone treatment and dry cleaning or liquid CO2 dry cleaning; at which point another hand-applied chemical treatment can be utilized. One of the simplest chemical treatments that can be used is applying a paste of baking soda into the foul-smelling areas. Baking soda can also be used to remove stains from the underarm and collars. Aside from baking soda, there are many dry cleaning kits and chemical based products that can successfully remove odors.
If you have some bad odors in your dry clean only clothes, you need to seek out a professional dry cleaner who performs ozone treatment, liquid CO2 dry cleaning or chemical treatment for odor removal. A dry cleaning company with experience in odor removal knows how to properly remove odors from garments. While home remedies work for some odors, many others are stubborn and can remain in clothing for good. Most reputable dry cleaners in Singapore have the equipment and products necessary for removing bad odors from clothes, carpets and even upholstery. They can safely remove odors from all types of clothing without weakening the fabric, which can happen when applying some home remedies. This allows you to enjoy fresh smelling clothes that also look and feel good.