From satellites and space travel, technology has had a tremendous impact upon our lives. The way uor clothes are cleaned has also been greatly improved by advances in technology.
The first clothes-washing machine was invented in 1677 by Sir John Hoskins. It used a wheel and cylinder to squeeze water through a bag of linens. Other devices like washboards, rollers, stirring sticks, and hot irons for pressing led the way for commercial laundry industry which was born in 1837.
Dry cleaning was discovered in 1848 by the owner of a textile dyeworks who found that liquid from an oil lamp dissolved fat and eliminated shrinking, fading and discoloring caused by washing some fabrics in water.
By 1900, commercial laundries offered wet wash services cleaning clothes and returning them for drying and pressing at home. The eventually did laundering, starching and drying, leaving the customer only the ironing.
The first synthetic cleaning fluids were developed after WW II. Eventually a colorless non-flammable, fast-evaporating liquid called perchloroethylene (perc) was developed. Perc is now the preferred choice for 90% of the industry and has revolutionized the way clothes are cleaned.
Consumers have often expressed concerns about the impact of frequent dry cleaning on clothing. A study conducted by Dr. Manfred Wentz, chairman and professor of the department of clothing and textiles at the University of North Carolina has concluded that commercial cleaning methods did not change the properties of wool garments.
Ask your OFA dry cleaner any questions you might have about the cleaning process or visit the OFA web site at www.fabricare.org.