That clothing care label is required by law
alexialex/Shutterstock The basic indication that clothing is “dry clean only” can be found right on the label. The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that every item of clothing sold in the United States include a “care label” containing regular care information and instructions. What the care label must say is subject to stringent and highly detailed FTC requirements. These requirements define dry cleaning as a “commercial process by which soil is removed…in a machine which uses any common organic solvent.” The most commonly used “organic solvent” is perchloroethylene (PCH) because it is widely considered to be the most effective. It’s what gives clothes that familiar dry cleaned smell. Although PCH is a carcinogen, it is not considered hazardous to wearers of dry cleaned clothing (because its presence is typically low). Still, however, dry cleaning can be expensive, and the trips to and from the dry cleaner can be time consuming.
“Dry” cleaning isn’t exactly dry
hrk422/Shutterstock As defined by the FTC, the dry cleaning process may, and often does, include adding moisture to the cleaning solvent—up to 75 percent relative humidity. That’s not exactly “dry,” now is it? Kind of makes you wonder whether, maybe, just maybe, can you wash dry clean only clothes, yourself? Don’t miss the 13 things your dry cleaner won’t tell you.