It is time to start pulling out the sweaters from storage and I am hoping that I stored mine carefully enough that those little buggers didn’t get in there and chew a few threads in my favorite cashmere cardigan. Which brings up a personal eco-rant of mine, dry cleaning chemicals. Now there are some things that have to be dry cleaned but that is a fairly short list and most sweaters are not on it.
Dry cleaning solution is a known carcinogen. “Perc” as is it called in the industry is actually perchloroethylene, an environmental nasty that is considered a hazardous waste, when released into the air it can contribute to smog. Perc was declared a toxic chemical in 1991 in California and will be illegal to use in the state by 2023. If that isn’t enough negative news to get you to rethink your cleaning choice, a recent study at Georgetown University showed that Perc is retained in dry cleaned clothes and the levels increase with repeated cleanings. So now you are wearing a known carcinogen next to your very porous skin. If all the scary facts aren’t enough to dissuade you, dry cleaning is hard on the fibers of your clothes and when you take them out of those un-environmentally friendly plastic dry cleaning bags your clothes smell like, guess what? Chemicals. Not a fresh, clean scent at all.
In complete desperation several years ago when my bank account was running on empty and I had a pile of dirty sweaters (I was a dry cleaning regular), I decided that cashmere was really just goat hair, and hair is washable. Taking my dirty sweaters into the kitchen sink I hand washed each with my ever so gentle and much more environmentally friendly shampoo and cold water. I rolled them in a towel to remove the excess water and laid them flat to dry. What happened you ask? Perfection. They smelled lovely, they were soft and clean. Now I am not recommending that you use your shampoo on your favorite sweater (I have read that baby shampoo is a good choice). And you may want to practice on a sweater that isn’t your best, but you can bypass the dry cleaning window and wash your sweaters at home with the right suds and a little patience.
The best website I have seen for DIY advice is The Laundress. If you’ve not heard of them or visited their website for tips you must. They have a lovely line of products for laundry, home cleaning (check out the scented vinegar) and baby too! And if you are less than thrilled about washing your gorgeous sweaters and other lovelies yourself, you little princess they have a laundry service that you are going to luv.
Washing instead of dry cleaning is environmentally friendly and your clothes will thank you for it.
Category: Go Green Fashion
About the Author (Author Profile)
Melinda received her degree in Communications from Drury University. After working in marketing for many years, she refocused her career and is now a freelance writer and artist.
Melinda brings her love of fashion, beauty and the environment together to find eco-friendly clothing and products each week.
She resides in the midwest with her wonderful husband and a really great dog.