Rethinking dry-cleaning

It’s time to rethink the chemical process of dry-cleaning.

We all want to look after our clothes and often dry-clean fragile fabrics.

Yet the process of dry-cleaning is highly toxic and uses the chemical perchloroethylene. Prolonged exposure to the chemical can cause damage to your liver, kidney and even the reproductive system.

But, many of us believe that if a label says “dry-clean only” then that is what you have to do. In Nana’s day there were no dry-cleaners to take their silks and linens to, so they hand washed, which is still a very safe way to treat fabrics.

To hand wash successfully only wash one item at a time. Fill a small basin with cold to lukewarm water.

Use a mild soap and gently squeeze and knead the garment, focussing on places where you know there is dirt or stains. Do not leave to soak.

After about five minutes, gently squeeze the soapy water from the garment and rinse in clean, lukewarm water. Do not wring dry. Squeeze water out, then lay on a clean towel.

Roll up the towel and squeeze it. I do this by laying it on the floor and standing on it, moving my way up the roll.

Dry the garment out of direct sunlight and lay it rather than hang it to prevent stretching.

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