Dry-Cleaning Goes Green

Evanston First to Offe Environmentally Safe Dry-Cleaning

It's been more than a decade since the EPA began scrutinizing the chemicals used by most dry cleaners. Since then, some have changed, but many have not. But there is a dry-cleaning system being used first here in Chicago that is expected to revolutionize the world of dry-cleaning.

Behind the wall of shirts and suits perfectly pressed and ready for pick up, the latest in dry-cleaning innovation is not only cleaning your garment in half the time, but doing it with the environment in mind.

Lake City Cleaners in Evanston is the first in the world to utilize Solvair.

Janice Seydin -- co-owner of Lake City with her husband, Vincent -- said Solvair is like nothing they have ever cleaned with before.

"Customers are concerned about the environment and doing what's best (for) it. We are happy to be able to tell them we have a solution for them where clothes will come out great, and it's safe for the environment," she said.

"It's not just another cleaning solvent . It's truly an advance in the science of dry-cleaning," said Ross Beard, president and CEO of R.R. Street & Co.

Here's how it works: the clothes go in, a biodegradable natural solvent is added and hardly any emissions are released.

"The cleaning is much better than what is previously possible," Ross said. "You are going to get brighter garments -- whiter whites. The texture of clothes will have a nice finish."

According to Ross, all the garments can mix together: "You can take a red silk blouse, white down coat, something with fragile buttons, even a heavy overcoat and process all together, so that is unique and a big time-saver for a dry-cleaning."

Also with Solvair, you don't have to use any prestain remover.

"The real uniqueness of the system is the way we dry," said Mark Rockcastle of R.R. Street & Co. "High pressure assembly allows us to bring liquid CO2 into the system."

When the pressure is released, the liquid CO2 instantly turns to gas.

"The garments actually float in densified gas," said Ross.

"You look in there and the garments are simply floating," said Rockcastle. "Almost like a dream."

To have your clothes cleaned with Solvair rather than the traditional way, you'll pay about $1 more per item.

Click on the following links for more information on environmentally friendly cleaning processes.

Dry Cleaning: http://lakecitycleaners.com/

Household Cleaning Products: http://www.4streets.com/

EPA Statement On Dry Cleaning Solvents: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/garment/ctsa/factsheet/ctsafaq.htm#1

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