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KMK Cleaners of Walpole Eliminates Use of Perc

Demonstrates New Technologies to Dry Cleaners, Public

May 2, 2013 -- KMK Cleaners in Walpole switched its dry cleaning operation from using perchloroethylene (perc) to professional wet cleaning with the help of a $15,000 grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell.

After six months of using the equipment, the owners will demonstrate to other dry cleaners and others around the Commonwealth how professional wet cleaning technology works on Wed., May 8, Noon to 2 p.m.

Professional wet cleaning is a proven, effective and safer replacement to perc, a ‘likely human carcinogen’ as characterized by the Environment Protection Agency. Wet cleaning allows for “dry-clean-only” clothes to be effectively washed with water and detergents in computer-controlled machines and finished with tensioning and pressing equipment.

The motivation to eliminate the use of perc was driven by the Director of Marketing and Sales Kristy Mead, daughter of the owners Michael and Mary Flaherty. Before becoming pregnant, Mead was concerned about her and her family’s health and worked with her parents to find a safer solution. After attending TURI-sponsored demonstrations at other dry cleaning shops, they decided wet cleaning was the best solution and applied for a TURI grant.

“Perc is out and wet cleaning is in,” says Mead. “The health benefits to our staff and our customers make wet cleaning a no-brainer.” She explains that wet cleaning does a better job cleaning clothes because it more effectively penetrates the fibers.

Dry cleaners and others who are interested are invited to attend the demonstration on Wednesday, May 8, Noon to 2 p.m., at KMK Cleaners, 641 Main Street in Walpole. This event is free but space is limited. To reserve a spot, contact Maria Scholl, 978-934-4964.

Perc is out and wet cleaning is in. The health benefits to our staff and our customers make wet cleaning a no-brainer."
- Kristy Mead, KMK Cleaners