Advantages and Disadvantages
The final wrinkle-removing step, in addition to the time you spend pre-treating clothes and waiting for the dryer cycle to end, make home dry cleaning a pretty time-consuming endeavor! This is one benefit of professional dry cleaning -- all the hard work is done for you.
However, if money is a concern, you might help your budget by using the kits. With home dry cleaning, you can clean 16 garments for about what you'd pay for one garment to be professionally dry cleaned. As long as you're not trying to remove large, set-in or greasy stains, these kits can be used to freshen garments and stretch the time between visits to the cleaner. You have to weigh the money you could save using the kits against the time you'll lose actually doing your dry cleaning at home.
One big plus of home kits is that they do prevent you from being exposed to the solvent, perchlorethylene, used by commercial cleaners. This does make them a good alternative for people with chemical sensitivities (not including perfume) or those who are looking for a process that's less harmful to the environment. Perchlorethylene can damage your liver, kidneys and brain, and is a contaminant in up to 25 percent of the U.S. water supply. The chemicals used in home dry cleaning don't accumulate in the environment, and, compared to perchlorethylene, they are fairly safe.
In the end, home dry cleaning kits don't represent a major step forward in cleaning technology. The kits simply take advantage of some pretty basic chemistry (the generation of steam from water, for example). Whether you choose to use them or not depends on the relative importance of their advantages and disadvantages to you.