Stain Removal Tools

Dry-cleaning Solvents

­Dry-cleaning solvents are chemicals, often derived from petroleum or benzene, used to remove dirt and stains from clothing. These are powerful chemicals, and some have been removed from the market due to their effects on humans and the environment.

Others, such as tetrachloroethylene (or perchloroethylene, also known as PERC) are now used mostly by commercial dry-cleaners or in automotive or hobby-related cleaners. Some products that contained these solvents have been retired or reformulated.


If you purchase a dry-cleaning solvent (or you have an old bottle on hand) you should use and store it carefully. Their fumes are toxic and should not be inhaled. Not all spot removers/dry-cleaning solvents can be used on all surfaces, nor will all products remove all stains, so be sure to read the labels before using.

Among the products that are still on the market or have been reformulated are K2r Spot-Lifter (American Home Foods), Afta Cleaning Fluid and Afta Spot Remover Wipes (Guardsman Products).

Learn how to remove stains from carpet ­in the next section.