Dry Cleaning

Dry Cleaning in the UK

How does dry Cleaning work in the UK?

When clothes are taken out for dry cleaning in the UK, they typically undergo six phases. You might observe a slightly different process in some places, but most UK dry cleaners prefer sticking to the set process.

The six phases consist of the following:

    1. Cloth tagging
    2. Pre-treating fabric
    3. Dry cleaning process
    4. Post-dry cleaning treatment
    5. Ironing clothes
    6. Packing and delivering

Let’s dive in a little deeper.

1. Cloth tagging

Every cloth for dry cleaning is first tagged with all the necessary information. Tagging is an essential part. The information that the tag contains is as follows:

  1.     Contact details of the customer
  2. A unique identification number is allotted
  3. Cloth description if it contains any stain etc.
  4. Date of collection

2. Pre-treating fabric

Any stains found on the clothes are treated first. The manner of the stain determines the ease of cleaning that stain. Greasy and oil-based stains are easy to get rid of, whereas water-based stains are hard to remove. 

3. Dry Cleaning Process

Now comes the main step in the entire process. When clothes come in for dry cleaning, they get dumped into a machine that looks similar to your washing machine. This machine is famously known as a washer-extractor-dryer and works with liquid solvents, not water.

Once the clothes are popped in, the machine is set to work. The liquid solvent perchloroethylene (perc for short), which most dry cleaners use, is sprayed on the clothes while spinning. This process is repeated repeatedly until the dirt is removed from the clothes. 

After this process, the washer starts to spin the clothes around quickly to remove the excess solvent. 

At last, in this process comes the drying. The dryer dries up the clothes and vaporizes the remaining solvent from the machine sprayers. 

4. Post-dry cleaning treatment

Once the clothes are out to dry and clean, they get checked for any pending stains. If there are any stains left, the cleaner will individually clean them off. 

A typical dry-cleaner uses either of these three methods to clean the leftover stain.

    1. Steaming clothes
    2. Airing clothes 
    3. Water

As mentioned earlier, some stains are hard to get rid of. So, there is a slight chance that the dry-cleaned clothes will have some residue from the stain.

5. Ironing clothes

Dry cleaning doesn’t just stop at cleaning the clothes. After washing, drying, and inspecting for any leftovers, the clothes are sent forward for ironing. 

6. Packing and delivering

The final step is packing the clothes correctly and shipping them. The tags here again play an important role. All the clothes brought in by the customer are packed together by checking the tagged information.

Why is dry cleaning important?

Most people’s thoughts are generally centred on this question. Is it worth sending clothes in for dry cleaning? What’s the use?

Dry cleaning is done to protect the fabric, which is too delicate for the traditional washing method. It is done to retain the original shape and shine of the clothing and also remove the stains that regular washing can’t remove. 

The stain removal process requires water-based detergents and a high degree of heat to dissolve the stain. This process damages the fabric if done through the wet cleaning process. Hence, dry cleaning is the appropriate method of cleaning delicate and stained fabric.


Dry cleaning may appear unnecessary and opulent, but this is not the case. Every fabric is different, and so is its cleaning process. If stains are old or too greasy, removal is tougher. Dry cleaning laws state that whatever requires dry cleaning must be dry cleaned. For example, silk, wool, and leather need dry cleaning because these fabrics are too delicate to be wet cleaned or washed with water.

This is a step-by-step process that needs to be done. Missing out on even a single step might not give the desired results. Sometimes, some greasy stains can be absorbed into the fabric, so cleaning with water and detergent won’t remove them.

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