Last week we reported the good news about a new environmentally friendly laundromat service in Tel Aviv. But what about those delicate items that you can’t just throw in the laundry? Things like silk, wool, or garments with sequins and embroidery? Usually you’d just take these to the dry cleaner’s, right?
Well, think again. Most dry cleaners use tetrachloroethene or perchloroethylene (PERC), chemical compounds that dissolve organic materials.
The problem with these chemicals is that constant exposure poses a serious risk to the workers in contact with the dry cleaning, to you (causing both short term and long term health damage), and to the environment.
The short term health effects of exposure to these chemicals are dizziness, confusion, nausea, skin irritation, and unconsciousness. Long term effects include spontaneous abortions, fertility problems, and liver and kidney damage.
The environmental effects aren’t pretty, either. Tetrachloroethene and perchloroethylene are double whammy air pollutants and soil contaminants. That’s no good.
Luckily, there’s an alternative.
Wet cleaning is a method that uses biodegradable soap and water, and which can clean most “dry clean only” fabrics (including leather, suede, most woolens, silks, and rayons). Though it is not as widely available as dry cleaning (since it requires some special equipment and knowledge), more and more businesses are adopting this method so keep your eyes open.
For our readers in Jerusalem, 35 year-old Jerusalem laundry landmark – Superclean Laundromat – offers this service.