Dry cleaning dates back to ancient times, according to the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute (DLI). Records about methods for cleaning delicate items have been found in the ruins of Pompeii. In those days, many clothes were made from wool, which was known to shrink in water. A professional clothes cleaner, known as a fuller, used solvents such as ammonia and lye. They also used a type of clay called fuller’s earth, which excelled at absorbing dirt, sweat and grease stains.
The Modern Era
According to the DLI, the earliest reference to anything resembling modern dry cleaning was a story about a clumsy maid who spilled some kerosene on a greasy tablecloth. The kerosene quickly evaporated, and she noticed how much cleaner the spot where the chemical fell was. People performed many experiments after that incident to determine what types of solvents were best at cleaning greasy stains..
The credit for being the first commercial dry cleaner goes to the firm of Jolly-Belin, which opened in 1825 in Paris, according to the Handbook of Solvents. In Paris, of course, fashion was an important part of society. They soaked the clothes in vats filled with turpentine. Next, they put them into a predecessor to the washing machine. They air-dried the clothes so the turpentine could evaporate.
The first dry cleaner in the United States showed up around the same time. Thomas Jennings, a U.S. tailor and inventor, as well as the first known African-American to receive a patent in the United States, used a method called “dry scouring” to clean clothes that traditional cleaning methods would damage. He patented his process 1821. Jennings ran a highly successful tailoring and dry cleaning business in New York City.
Chemical-Free Dry Cleaning
In 1998 a longtime dry cleaner preparing to exit an industry plagued by the environmental contamination issues of perc solvent tested a new approach in the back of a science lab. Seeing the results they achieved with a safe alternative to perc, they formed the GreenEarth Cleaning Company.
The GreenEarth dry cleaning solution uses silicone, an environmentally non-toxic alternative to petrochemicals. Its system of care ensures the best possible result for fabrics, the environment and the bottom line.
GreenEarth gives you one more reason to rely on Flair Cleaners. It’s the only cleaning process we use, because we care about you, your clothes, and our world.