Quite recently, new products have been launched in the UK which claim to be an alternative to dry cleaning. These kits contain a sheet which is saturated in solvent, the sheet is placed in a tumble dryer, along with the garment to be “cleaned”, the dryer is then run though a cycle.
The feedback for these new products has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been pretty bad. One customer who bought such a product on Amazon stated that the product had bleached her skirt and the garments did not smell clean. The customer went on to say that she would simply save her money and use a professional dry cleaners in future, good advice!
It may not surprise our more astute readers to learn that your tumble dryer is not intended to perform dry cleaning. There are other kits out there that are perhaps not as bad as the one described above, but the fundamental flaw of all home dry cleaning kits is that the chemicals used in dry cleaning are certainly not the sort of substances you want in your home. Perchlorethylene is an irritant which has been linked to serious skin conditions, it is also a carcinogen. Modern dry cleaning machines are designed to contain and recycle the perc, thereby protecting the atmosphere from any potentially damaging leaks by condensing exhaust emissions and collecting the perc before filtering it for reuse. Dry cleaning machines also do a very good job at removing all residues of the cleaning chemicals, something your tumble dryer was not intended to do.
Even the more effective of these kits have serious flaws, firstly regardless of the chemicals used, your tumble dryer lacks the cleaning power of an industrial dry cleaning machine. Secondly I would certainly advise any parents to seriously consider the wisdom of introducing a chemical such as Perchlorethylene into their home where it could potentially come into contact with their children.