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Dry Cleaning

  • By: Stephen T. Schroth, Jason A. Helfer & Maurice J. McDavid
  • In: Green Health: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Oladele Ogunseitan
  • Subject:Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Geography of Health

Dry cleaning, the process by which clothing is cleaned using organic chemical solvents rather than water, is a major source of hazardous waste and air pollution, at least when traditional methods are used. Since the 1980s, those concerned with environmental risks of dry cleaning have sought to increasingly regulate individual operations and to create green alternatives to toxic solvents traditionally used in the process. Efforts to create green substitutes to traditional dry cleaning practices have involved the development of strategies to balance environmentally friendly practices with effectiveness and efficiency for a diversified and decentralized industry.

Dry cleaning dates to the mid-19th century, when French industrialist Jean Baptiste Jolly began using petroleum-based solvents such as kerosene and gasoline to clean clothes and other fabrics. The dry ...

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