Project at a Glance

Title: Alternatives to perchloroethylene-based garment care: assessing the viability of professional wet cleaning.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Gottlieb, Robert

Contractor: UC Los Angeles

Contract Number: 94-315

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control, Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution, Stationary Sources


The report analyzes the viability of Cleaner by Nature, a 100 percent professional wet cleaner, and whether professional wet cleaning represents a variable pollution prevention approach in eliminating perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical solvent used in dry cleaning. PCE, which has been identified as a toxic air contaminant and probable human carcinogen, is heavily regulated in terms of its use in dry cleaning. The analysis includes a comprehensive plant level case study, and comparative performance, financial and environmental assessments of wet cleaning and PCE-based dry cleaning. The major issues associated with the viability analyses were identified and specific information was collected in relation to how the clothes were cleaned (a customer garment profile, a problem garment analysis, a technical evaluation or repeat clean test, a wearer survey, and customer satisfaction surveys); how wet cleaning did financially (a start-up cost analysis and a profit / loss analysis); what environmental impacts were identified (water, energy, and chemical inputs and outputs); and what contributing factors (technology changes, garment manufacturing and labeling and regulatory or legislative actions) influence the viability of professional wet cleaning.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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