Doing laundry has been a common household activity for years. Whether the technology was beating the garments on rocks by the river or pushing buttons on programmed washing machines, this process depends on water and a mechanical action usually assisted by soap or an alkali. The purpose of an alkali is to saponify the oils and dislodge ordinary soil and other matter. More often than not, the soapy agent holds soil in suspension as it becomes loose during the wash cycle, and is subsequently flushed away during the rinse cycle and centrifugal spin.
The drying process for doing laundry at home is either hanging clothes on a clothesline or tumbling them in a gas- or electric-heated dryer.
Dry cleaning, on the other hand, is different. It's a process that cleans clothes without water. The cleaning fluid that is used is a liquid, and all garments are immersed and cleaned in a liquid solvent -- the fact that there is no water is why the process is called "dry." In this article, we will take a behind-the-scenes look at the dry-cleaning process so that you can understand what happens to your clothes after you drop them off at the cleaners!