I found a local alternative to traditional dry cleaning that I think everyone in Chicago who uses a cleaning service should try out. It's called GREENER CLEANER and the company has five locations throughout the city. Greener Cleaner uses a toxin-free process to clean your delicates, and locals have rated it 4 out of 5 stars on YELP. Even if you don't live in the windy city, a comparable service will be better for the environment and your health.
Here's what to look for:
*Perc-free cleaning: Perchloroethylene is a toxic chemical that wasn't even initially intended for cleaning clothes- it was originally meant to degrease metals- ew! For decades it's been used as a dry cleaning solvent that has contaminated water systems across the country and is considered a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA. Once you inhale PERC fumes, they can hide in your body's fat tissue. Any process that eliminates this substance is a huge step above traditional dry cleaning.
*Wet cleaning: This is the eco-friendly process used by Greener Cleaner. Basically water and biodegradable detergents are used to clean your clothes. The cost is slightly higher than traditional dry cleaning (although you can get coupons for Greener Cleaner via their website), and since water is part of the equation, there is a chance shrinkage will occur.
*Liquid CO2: Developed in the 90's, this process uses existing industrial and agricultural CO2 emissions to create a liquid solvent that, when combined with detergent, becomes a powerful method to clean your clothes. Hangers Cleaners is a national chain using this method. One drawback, however, is that the detergents used contain some VOC's.
Have you tried an eco-cleaner before? Let me know what the experience was like!
Source: National Geographic Green Guide, EPA