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Pollution Prevention for the Garment Care and Dry Cleaning Industry

“Professional wet cleaning is a safe alternative to dry cleaning that eliminates the use of toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and your health,”  Commissioner Klee, CT DEEP

illistration of dry cleaning rack

The CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection is working with garment cleaners across the state to promote the use of wet cleaning as an alternative to perchloroethylene and has compiled information to assist cleaners. 

 

 
What's New?
  • NEW, March 2020!  Safer Alternatives in the Garment Cleaning Industry - The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center has information and links to help garment cleaners with reducing and eliminating chemicals in the shop. A new report, Alternative Spotting Chemicals for the Garment Cleaning Industry analyzed currently available POG spotting formulations for health and environmental characteristics, and guidance for safer alternative ingredients are described for solvents like glycol ethers, glycol ether acetates, and hydrocarbons, surfactants and fragrances. There is also a link to a recorded webinar that can be accessed.
  • FAQs for Connecticut Dry Cleaners - Part 2 (January 2018, updated July and Nov 2018) - answers to questions on property transfer environmental issues when buying and selling a dry cleaning business, and preventing pollution by reducing chemicals and risks.  
  • The Resilient Dry Cleaner power point presentation on how extreme weather events can impact a dry cleaning business and what shop owners can do to protect their business and the environment. 

 

NEW! Watch a short video to find out more about the benefits of professional wet cleaning. Wet cleaning significantly reduces or eliminates human health and environmental concerns and leaves clothes cleaner than traditional dry cleaning.
CT DEEP sponsored a wet cleaning demonstration at Fabricare Cleaners, Norwalk, CT, in August 2016 and created a handout on Wet Cleaning Resources.
 
Guides to Wet Cleaning Process, Equipment and Detergents
  1. Equipment Report: Professional Wet Cleaning, by Sustainable Technology & Policy Program, UCLA  - Detailed list of professional wet cleaning washers, dryers, tensioning equipment and biodegradable detergents, including contact information and prices.
     
  2. Professional Wet Cleaning Guidebook, prepared by California Air Resources Board - Guidebook for garment care professionals wanting comprehensive information on wet cleaning.
     
  3. New England Wet Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Information, TURI
    Report prepared by the Toxic Use Reduction Institute at UMass-Lowell, on wet cleaning equipment and detergents.
     
  4. Professional Wet Cleaning Implementation Guide, prepared for New York State by Rochester Institute of Technology - This Guide provides a basic understanding of wet cleaning to help garment care professionals understand the costs and benefits of wet cleaning in order to make decisions about how to implement wet cleaning.
Perchloroethylene being evaluated by US EPA:
  • EPA announced in November 2016, it will evaluate the first 10 chemicals including Tetrachloroethylene or perc under the new chemical safety law, for potential risks to human health and the environment.  Congress amended the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act in June 2016. Under TSCA EPA is now required to evaluate existing chemicals to determine whether they “present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.”  These chemicals were selected based on their hazard and the public’s potential exposure, as well as other considerations such as persistence and bioaccumulation. 
  • Tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene) is used in consumer products and dry cleaning. It is present in biomonitoring, drinking water, indoor environments, ambient air, groundwater, soil and has high reported releases to the environment.  It is probable human carcinogen. 
In December 2016, EPA published in the Federal Register a proposed regulation to prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping.
Related Information
For more information, please call the Office of Pollution Prevention at 860-424-3297 or e-mail the Pollution Prevention Coordinator.
 
Fact Sheets
The Garment Care and Dry Cleaning Fact Sheets outline basic regulatory requirements and best management practices for the garment care industry.

Note: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in the following fact sheets is up-to-date, but there may have been changes in the programs since publication. Please consult with the appropriate DEEP staff listed in the fact sheets for specific program updates.

 
Garment Care Fact Sheets (all pdf files)
NOTE: These documents were done several years ago and have not been updated.  Please be aware that environmental laws and regulations, as well as dry cleaning process technology may have changed significantly since these were published.  Please do not rely on them for current information, but rather to provide background and as an historical reference. 

 
Introduction Stormwater
Green Cleaning Perchloroethylene Air Emissions
Purchasing Environmentally Preferable Products (Updated Nov. 2009)
Remediation Fund (Updated March 2010)
Remediation Fund-Korean (Updated March 2010)
Lint, Rags and Filters
Recycling Aquifer Protection*
Spill Reporting Frequently Asked Questions
Shop Wastewater Hazardous Waste Management: Appendix A
Contact Information (Updated April 2017)
Contact Information-Korean (Updated April 2017)

 

*For program updates, visit the DEEP Aquifer Protection website

Content Last Updated March 2020