Dry Cleaner Demonstrates Safer Technology
Feb. 21, 2016, Springfield, Mass. – To clean clothes, most dry cleaners in the nation use the toxic substance perchloroethylene (perc), a solvent classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In Massachusetts, however, the tide is changing as some shops are switching to the safer alternative called Professional Wet Cleaning.
Quality Dry Cleaning in Springfield, Mass. recently demonstrated the safer technology to other dry cleaners with the help of a grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell.
After experiencing headaches while working long days, shop owner Noah Choi decided to replace his perc machine with Professional Wet Cleaning technology in 2011.
“I was having trouble with my perc machine and had to decide whether I would purchase another perc machine or consider a safer solution,” says Choi. “I chose professional wet cleaning and have been very happy with both the health improvements and financial savings.”
The financial savings has been substantial – he has saved 40 percent on water, 30 percent on electricity and about 20 percent on gas expenses. In addition, he is saving $1,200 per year by not having to purchase perchloroethylene and dispose of the toxic waste generated.
“I am very happy that I made the investment for the safety of myself and my workers,” said Choi. “I have never regretted spending the money and will continue to recommend Professional Wet Cleaning to other dry cleaners.”
Professional 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.
“It was exciting for us to showcase Quality Dry Cleaning who has already made the switch to professional wet cleaning,” said Joy Onasch. “Noah Choi has five years of data to back up the claim that Professional Wet Cleaning costs less to operate with high quality cleaning results. It’s very motivating for other dry cleaners to hear directly from someone who is running a successful business without the use of toxics.”
TURI awards grants to Massachusetts dry cleaners to help them make the switch to Professional Wet Cleaning from processes that use toxic chemicals such as perchloroethylene. Learn more or apply for a grant by visiting www.turi.org/drycleaning.