Probably the biggest misconception about dry cleaning is that liquids don't actually play a part in the process. Dry cleaning doesn't mean no liquid; it means no water. Though dry cleaners do often use water for water-based stains like tomato soup and coffee, the most common practice is to drop clothes into a bath of perchloroethylene, or "perc," a colorless solvent that has the power to dissolve the stains that water can't, like gravy and tar.
So, why is it called "dry cleaning" if there are fluids involved? "Toxic chemical soup cleaning" just isn't as catchy.