National Clothesline
Many drycleaners I do consultations and training for are concerned about using only safe
cleaning agents in processing their customers’ garments.
They want to relate to their
customers that they are a
concerned drycleaner who only
uses acceptable solvents and
chemicals approved by EPA.
They do not use any chemicals
that are harmful to the clothes or
the environment. As a state
licensed drycleaner and approved EPA instructor, I guide the staff in replacing harmful cleaning
agents with safe alternative solvents.
The drycleaner who uses alternative solvents is not necessarily a green cleaner if the spotting
department does not meet EPA standards. Another aspect of safe cleaning is using spotting and
cleaning agents properly so they can avoid possible damage to the garment or irritation to the
About Oceanside Cleaners
Oceanside Cleaners in Jacksonville, FL, is a high volume, high quality drycleaner that handles
different types of garments and also specializes in cleaning wedding gowns and preservation.
They have a separate building and a trained staff to talk to their customers about wedding gown
cleaning and preservation.
Michael Harris, owner of Oceanside Cleaners, makes sure his staff receives constant training
with consultants like myself so they are using the latest and most efficient cleaning procedures.
Drycleaning solvents
Oceanside Cleaners uses a hydrocarbon solvent. The solvent temperature runs between 75°
and 80°F. They do heat their solvent, therefore preventing any change in texture or color that
may occur. The solvent relative
humidity runs below 80 percent.
Safe chemical usage
Steam gun. The proper use of
the steam gun is a major factor
in chemical usage. When the
steam gun is initially held close
to the fabric, the stain will set
and require more chemicals for
Neutral lubricant. The
proper use of a concentrated
neutral lubricant is effective in
removing most wetside stains.
Proper use of the spotting brush
will make the lubricant effective
enough to avoid use of stronger
Tannin formulas. The tannin
formula used should only be
slightly acid and not produce any
color change on fabrics. It
should be free of odor and rinse
easily from the fabric.
Protein formulas. The
protein formulas used should
only be slightly alkaline based.
This will avoid color loss and
color change on fabrics such as
silk. I would avoid ammonia-
based protein formulas.
Oily-type paint removers. 
The paint removers used should
be environmentally friendly and
not contain solvents such as
trichloroethylene. These agents
can be flushed dry or wetside.
These agents will not contribute to odor in the drycleaning machine or affect the distillation
Oily-type ink removers. The ink removers used should not contain any solvents and should
be acid based. The agents can be flushed wet or dryside.
Other environmentally friendly ink removers are lanolin-based and can be flushed wet or dry.
Leveling agents. The leveling agents used should be able to absorb water but should not
contain dryside solvents.
Replacing amyl acetate. Amyl acetate is used for removal of plastic-based stains. In some
states environmental laws have banned usage of amyl acetate. Some dryside ink removers are
very effective in removing plastic based stains.
Enviromentally safe spotting procedures
Neutral lubricant.
Tannin formula.
Mechanical action.
Citrus-based nonionic detergent.
Mechanical action.
Oily-type paint remover (Environmentally friendly).
Mechanical action.
Hydrogen peroxide.
Bleach if necessary.
The elements of green cleaning
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Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh
Projects of interest to drycleaners Green cleaning certificatio