*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
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.