Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Laundry and dry cleaning are two cleaning methods often used to remove the stains, grease and all other spots on garments. The processes are distinct even though they have the main purpose of cleaning fabrics. The inability to decipher the main difference between laundry and dry cleaning leads to the inadequate use of the method in cleaning specific clothes. Some clothes are meant for dry cleaning only and, likewise, other fabrics are designed to be laundered only. This article seeks to unveil the key differences between dry cleaning and laundry cleaning.

What is dry cleaning?

As reflected in the name “dry”, this process does not encompass the use of water as the main solvent in removing the toughest stains, grease and dirt from fabric materials. It involves using advanced modern technology of using chemical solvents to get rid of the stubborn stains on garments. The use of these solvents can vary among professional dry cleaning companies, but the main one is perchloroethylene (PERC).

Dry cleaning services are rarely done in households as they involve advanced machinery. People often outsource the services to professional cleaners. When undertaking the dry cleaning procedure, garments are inspected manually for the type of stains they have. The garments are then treated with the chemical solvent and subsequently ran through the tumble drier. The chemical solvent will eventually be filtered and removed from the garments and then recycled.

The clothes will then be dried using dry cleaning machines and then steamed or ironed to remove the wrinkles before the customer collects them. This is how basically the process works in dry cleaning process. However, not all fabrics are meant for dry cleaning because the chemical solvents may end up damaging them instead of cleaning. Look for the garment’s tag usually at the inner back side to see if the typical cloth is machine-washable or dry cleanable.

The downside of dry cleaning is the hazardous chemical used which turns to be environmentally unfriendly despite the quest to recycle it after use. For those with sensitive skins, the dry cleaned clothes may irritate the skin. Moreover, dry cleaning consumes more power compared to laundry cleaning hence the excessive costs charged.

The benefits of dry cleaning include the following:

  • Dry cleaning effectively removes the toughest oil stains that water could not succeed in removing
  • It retains the original texture of the garment
  • It attenuates discoloration
  • It prolongs the quality of the garment
  • It prevents crumbling and shrinkage of the garments
  • Attenuates color bleeding that is a case with laundry cleaning of different colors


What is laundry cleaning?

This is often referred to as “wet” cleaning because it mainly encompasses the immersion of garments in water as the solvent. Laundry cleaning is also capable of removing the tough but not the toughest stains compared to chemical solvents. In laundry, detergents, soap, and water are predominantly used. Other companies use bleach or softeners. Whichever additive used, chemicals are disregarded in laundry cleaning.

Laundry cleaning includes the conventional way of hand washing. Nowadays machines have increased in popularity in many households. Only a few resort to outsourcing laundry services to professionals. These could be those living a fast-paced corporate life and couldn’t squeeze time to do laundry duties. Whether using machines at home or outsourcing services, the procedure remains the same. The professional cleaners are well-trained to execute the services better as they can even add additives that will provide a long-lasting scent.

During laundry, clothes are inspected manually for the type of stains. Depending on the fabric material, some clothes with the toughest oil stains may be taken for dry cleaning. After inspecting stains, the computerized mixture of specific measurements of detergents and solvents will be put in the laundry machine. The clothes will then be tumble dried and spinned to squeeze out the remaining water. For final removal of moisture, the garments may be hung in direct sunlight. They will turn be ironed and folded for customer collection. 

The downsides of laundry include the crumbled or shrunk clothes. The clothes turn to lose color after repeated uses and they can wear and tear prematurely if washed more frequently. Moreover, clothes laundered tend to lose their original texture in a long run. It is important to check the garment labels to ascertain if a certain garment is designed for laundry washing. Manufacturers recommend either laundry or dry cleaning depending on the type of fabric. Men suits and curtains are often referred to dry cleaning while your everyday cotton wear can be safely laundered.

The benefits of laundry cleaning include the following:

  • There are no hazardous chemicals used
  • It is much cheaper and consumes 50% less power than what dry cleaning uses
  • Garments can be laundered with softeners to give them a long-lasting scent
  • Clothes will not irritate the skin because no harmful chemicals used
  • One can do laundry at home instead of outsourcing it to professionals

Key differences between laundry and dry cleaning

Cleaning process of Laundry and dry cleaning

Laundry uses water as the solvent in combination with detergents and soaps. Bleach and other softeners can also be used. On the other hand, dry cleaning makes use of the chemical solvents, mostly perchloroethylene as the removal of the toughest stains.

Safety of Laundry and dry cleaning

Laundry is safer because no hazardous chemicals are used. Dry cleaning involves the use of chemicals which can be irritants on sensitive skins.

Affordability of Laundry and dry cleaning

Laundry cleaning is affordable and consumes less electricity while dry cleaning is expensive and consumes more power.

Benefits of Laundry and dry cleaning

Dry cleaning prolongs quality, retains texture and attenuates color bleeding while laundry is notorious of fading colors and crumpled clothes.


Summary of Laundry Vs. dry cleaning

  • Laundry cleaning involves the immersion of garments in water, soaps and detergents
  • Dry cleaning encompasses the use of chemical solvents
  • Dry cleaning is effective in removing the toughest stains
  • Laundry can also remove the tough stains but unparalleled with dry cleaning
  • Dry cleaning retains the color of clothes and prevents color bleeding
  • Laundry cleaning is notorious of crumbled clothes and faded colors
  • Dry cleaning is expensive while laundry cleaning is less expensive

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1 Comment

  1. Similarities of laundry and dry cleaning The laundry cleaning services include plenty of water for washing clothes with soap. Dry cleaning, on the other hand, includes original water and soap washing…!”

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References :

[0]Jones, K. (2014). Difference between Dry Cleaning and Laundry. Retrived from: https://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/27436-difference-between-dry-cleaning-and-laundry. Published 04 February 2014.

[1]ingapore Dry Cleaning. 5 Differences between Laundry Cleaning Versus Dry Cleaning. Retrieved from: http://www.drycleaning.com.sg/blog/5-differences-between-dry-cleaning-and-laundry.html

[2]Image credit:

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dry_clean_rack.jpg#/media/File:Dry_clean_rack.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Simply_Fresh_Laundry_Machine.jpg#/media/File:Simply_Fresh_Laundry_Machine.jpg

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