Difference Between Dry Cleaning and Washing

dry cleaners keeps clean clothes hangers bag

Difference Between Dry Cleaning and Washing

If you’re wondering what the difference between dry cleaning and laundry cleaning is, you’re not alone! Many people aren’t sure which one is better or if there is even a difference at all. Truthfully, there is a big difference—but it depends on what you need to be cleaned. Keep reading to find out more!

What Is The Difference?

Laundry cleaning uses water as the solvent, while dry-cleaning solutions can be made with various chemicals. The type of chemical used will depend on which solution is best for your particular garment. Still, both types have one thing in common: they’re way more effective than just leaving your clothes in water for an extended period!

Perchloroethylene, or Perc, is a popular solvent used by many dry cleaners, despite some contradictory issues around it. Other dry cleaners utilise hydrocarbon since it is less aggressive than Perc, albeit the cycle time may be significantly longer. Silicone liquid and modified alcohol solutions are other readily available solvents.

Difference In Process?

Other than the basic difference in the solvent and the absence of water used for cleaning, the other significant difference between the two is the process of cleaning and removing tough stains.

Laundry cleaning process

This is a completely wet process in which the garment or your clothing is cleaned using water, detergents, and other laundry agents. When your clothes are delivered to professional cleaners, they undergo the following process:

  • Stain pre-treatment: If any stains require special treatment, they are addressed before being placed in the washing machine.
  • Sorting: Your garments are grouped by colour and type of fabric to avoid color bleeding and ruining your clothes.
  • Washing: Your garments are placed in a washing machine with the prescribed quantity of detergent and then tumbled in water.
  • Drying: During the traditional washing process, water will be removed via spinning, and certain companies often have a drier that squeezes out all the moisture. Alternatively, they can be dried entirely by hanging them out.

While the procedure is quite effective at eliminating stains, there are situations when some tough stains are not effectively removed. Post-spotting is a procedure that allows these stains to be identified and remedied.

  • Finishing: This phase involves pressing or ironing your clean clothes or items.
  • The final stage is the packaging.

Dry cleaning process

women selecting clothes

When you drop off your garments at the dry cleaners, the dry cleaning procedure begins. The dry cleaning method is fundamentally distinct from that of laundry cleaning.

  • The following are some of the steps involved in the dry cleaning process.
  • Tagging and inspection: This is a required step in both cleaning methods to eliminate any potential blame game. Every piece of clothing is tagged with the owner’s name and its condition at the moment of drop-off. This includes missing buttons, undone seams and stitches, stains, fabric type, and other notable issues.

At this stage, it is best to inform your dry cleaner if you know the cause of the stain or inner stitches that you are concerned about.

  • Stain Pre-treatment: This is a step in the inspection process during which the cleaner examines for stains before beginning the solvent cleaning procedure. The spotter will apply appropriate stain removers for different types of stains.
  • Dry cleaning: This is the fundamental distinction between the two processes. The garments are fed into a special dry cleaning machine and cleaned with a waterless solvent before being gently stirred in the solution. The gentle movement of the dry cleaning chemicals will safely remove dirt from clothing items. The liquid solvent is drained, filtered, and recycled, and your garments are washed in fresh solvent to remove any lingering dirt.
  • Post-spotting: Unlike laundry cleaning, this step is rarely necessary because dry cleaning effectively eradicates any type of stain. However, no assurance can be made that it will be stain-free, so your fabric will be cleaned with steam, water, or vacuum to remove any remaining dirt and grease from clothing items.
  • Finishing: Because creases are uncommon in dry cleaning, finishing may not require ironing but may require pressing or steaming, depending on garment types.

Cost Differences

In comparison to laundry cleaning, dry cleaning is regarded as a more effective method of cleaning fabrics. This is one of the reasons why dry cleaning costs are typically somewhat greater than the cost of laundry services. Additionally, it requires the use of costly chemical solvents. The difference is significant, and the service may cost anywhere from $8 to $30, depending on the item of clothing. But if you want your delicate garments to last a long time, it would be best to follow the care label and not be stingy with your silk and woollen garments.

The End Results Differences

Conventional laundry treatment might cause your garment to shrink. Shrinkage happens mostly as a result of the garment being subjected to a strong mechanical action after being washed with water and then dried for an extended period of time. The nature of the current washing machines can also result in shrinking and affect the lifespan of clothes, particularly if the cleaner is not vigilant throughout the heat application procedure.

Apart from shrinking, there is a strong probability of texture alteration and maybe colour dullness. Dry cleaning is preferable, particularly for silk and woollen items and other long garments, including drapes. There are extremely few creases, and your items of clothing will appear brand new.

Dry cleaning leaves the fabric feeling fresher than laundry cleaning because water is the primary solvent used in the wet washing process. As a result, it’s fairly easy to tell if your garments were dry-cleaned or washed with water. If, for instance,

  • If your clothing is rough yet smells fresh, it was cleaned with water and no solvents.
  • The fabric is slightly softer after washing; it was dry-cleaned.
  • There are several shrinkages in this case; it was laundered.
  • If your item is not faded, it was dry-cleaned.

Final Thoughts

A dry cleaning service uses a dry cleaning solvent to clean your clothes instead of water. This is the best option for delicate fabrics that can’t handle the agitation of a washer and dryer. A dry cleaner will also have experience with tougher stains, like red wine or oil stains, that you might not be able to get out at home. On the other hand, wet cleaning uses water and detergent to clean your clothes. This is the best option for items that aren’t delicate and can handle being washed in a machine. Wet cleaning is usually less expensive than dry cleaning, so it’s a good option if you’re on a budget.

There are various elements that influence the type of cleaning you should employ on your clothing, but occasionally, there are items that are fine with both dry cleaning and laundry cleaning. At times, the washing method is a matter of personal preference.

Many garments come with a care label indicating whether they should be laundered or dry cleaned; check this label before washing your clothing. The fundamental premise is that fabrics such as cotton, linen, polyester, cashmere, acrylic, and nylon are best cleaned through the laundry process. Dry clean acetate, velvet, wool, taffeta, and silk garments.