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Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Dry Cleaning

Is there any alternative to dry cleaning? My queen sized comforter says "dry clean only" on the tag, but my husband is not crazy about the idea of dry cleaning it because of the chemicals they use. Are there any other options out there?


By Debbie from Garden City, MI

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June 24, 20090 found this helpful

Here's a quote from this URL:

Conventional dry cleaning isn't even slightly green. The standard solvent is perchloroethylene (or perc). It is a central nervous system depressant, and is listed as a hazardous air pollutant under the federal standards. There are three less toxic alternatives: GreenEarth, a silicone-based solvent used in modified dry-cleaning machines, liquid carbon dioxide used in high-pressure cleaning machines, and "wet cleaning" with regular water in computer-controlled washing machines.

A couple of years ago Consumer Reports did a test of all three of these alternatives. They found that the carbon dioxide gave the best results, even better than conventional dry cleaning (a list of cleaners using carbon dioxide can be found here).


A close second was the silicone-based GreenEarth cleaner (a list of such cleaners can be found here). Wet cleaning didn't fare well in their tests.

* One thing you can do if you want to "dry clean" something (like a shirt) yourself is, you put your garment into a paper bag with about half a cup of salt & borax & a Tablespoon or 2 of Baking Soda. Then shake well for 3 or 4 minute, then shake all the salt off. This is best done outside. The salt & borax mix can be reused & they are supposed to remove bad odors & some of the dirt. I've never tried it, just read about it.

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June 24, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks! Do most dry cleaners offer these alternatives to Perc? Or is this something that hasn't really caught on yet?

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June 24, 20090 found this helpful

Are you needing to remove stains or just "freshen"? After I carefully inspect and determine there are no stains, I take mine to the laundrymat and put it in the large dryer with two tennis balls and a couple fabric softner sheets.


However, don't do this if it's soiled at all - you don't want to heat set a stain.

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June 24, 20090 found this helpful

There are several brands of dry clean alternatives that you can buy at Walmart, etc. Purex is one of them, I know. They usually come with a special bag that you put in the dryer and you turn the dryer on a lower heat. It costs a lot less and you don't get the chemicals. The only thing I don't know is whether the bags are big enough for a bedspread. It has been awhile since I used one.

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June 28, 20090 found this helpful

Many things that say "dry clean only" can actually be washed -- either gently with a large machine, or by hand. Most of these do better if they are hung to dry, and handled carefully. Without knowing what this material is, that is all that I can say. I have washed drapes many times that said dry clean only. I have hand washed blouses that say dry clean only.


Some comforters say to dryclean because of whatever is used in for fluff. I did ruin a quilt once by washing it; the covering was cotton, but whatever the filling was got all lumpy. I always dryclean my sleeping bags. You have to decide if you are willing to risk washing it or not. I agree that if it just needs freshing up, you could run it through a dryer with tennis balls &/or hang it outside to air out.

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