Whatever happened to DIY dry cleaning.?

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*When I worked for my dad in the 60's he had a lot of customers in the laundry and dry cleaning business. I remember wiring those self-serve dry cleaning machines. At that time they used perchlorethylene (Perc for short) in those machines and other commercial machines. That fluid got distilled periodically to get the dirt out of the fluid. Another process used a fluid that I only knew as petroleum which went down the sewer drain after it was used. These were all open systems and the chemicals evaporated freely into the air. A few years later the government required closed systems so no evaporation occurred. I think one type of machine used fluorocarbons while others still used perc. The dry cleaner that I use now told me his machine uses a soy based cleaning fluid after I made a comment once about the place not smelling like the chemicals I remember growing up with.
I would guess that a number of forces caused the demise of the self-serve machine. Government regulation which made it too expensive to design and make new machines in compliance every few years. Man-made fibers such as polyester which don't need dry cleaning. The need to press the remaining clothes such as wool suit and sport jackets that still do require dry cleaning.
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wrote:

Thanks, and thanks all. John's was particularly interesting.
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