Difference Between Laundry and Dry Cleaning

The term ‘washing’ refers to the method of removing dirt and stains from the clothes with soap, water, or detergent. It also refers to keeping our bodies clean.


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Keeping clothes clean is an important part of good hygiene. Two methods of cleaning clothes include laundry and dry cleaning. Knowing the correct way to wash different kinds of clothes is important.

Key Takeaways

  1. Laundry uses water, detergent, and agitation to clean fabrics, while dry cleaning employs chemical solvents.
  2. Dry cleaning is more suitable for delicate or stain-prone materials, as it is gentler and less likely to cause damage.
  3. Both methods effectively clean garments, but the choice depends on fabric type and care requirements.

Laundry vs Dry Cleaning

Laundry is the process of washing clothes in water and detergent to remove dirt and stains, and it is a cheaper option for washing clothes. Dry cleaning is frequently used for delicate fabrics that can be damaged by water or detergents, and it may be more effective at removing specific types of stains and is relatively expensive.

Laundry vs Dry Cleaning

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The term ‘laundry’ stands for washing clothes and other textiles. Ironing and drying also form a part of this process. It can also refer to the place where the clothes are washed.

Various detergents are used to increase the efficiency of washing. These are available both in the form of soap or liquid.

The term ‘dry cleaning’ refers to the process of cleaning clothes using non-water-based chemical solvents. It involves various processes starting from inspection and tagging and ending with finishing touches.

It is used for garments that cannot be washed using water, such as silk. It can also be used to remove stains not easily removed by laundry.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLaundryDry Cleaning
Usage of waterIn this, the clothes are immersed in water for cleaningIn this, chemical solvents are used instead of water for cleaning
Cleaning agent usedSofteners, detergents, or soaps are used with waterChemical perchloroethylene used
RecyclingDetergents used in cleaning cannot be reusedSolvents are generally recycled
Process of drying garmentsThrough spinning, garments are freed of water and hung out to dryDried using dry cleaning machines
Stain removalLess effectiveMore effective compared to laundry

What is Laundry?

Laundry refers to the use of washing machines to clean clothes. The process of laundry is rather simple. The first step in doing the laundry correctly is identifying the garments you need to wash.

This is essential as some garments cannot be washed through a washing machine and must be dry or hand washed.

After identifying the kind of clothes, the garments need to be separated into groups according to their colors or how soiled they are.

Another round of sorting is needed to sort the grouped clothes so that clothes that have similar requirements can be washed together. This helps to choose the right type of washer cycle.

The next step involves choosing the right detergent and using it in the right way to avoid residue. Before starting the washing machine, it needs to be set to the right water cycle by the fabric being used.

Before loading the clothes, the final step involves checking if everything is set right and treating any stains beforehand.

After this, the clothes can be loaded into the machine and unloaded after the appropriate time. This is the basic process of laundry.

However, various laundry services do this for us. The only thing we need to do is to drop the clothes at their shop and pick them up after laundry.

What is Dry Cleaning?

Dry Cleaning refers to the use of huge dry-cleaning machines to clean clothes. These machines are controlled through computers that are generally advanced.

Because of the use of solvents not based on water, the clothes that are dry cleaned regularly have a longer shelf-life than the ones laundered at home. The main steps in dry cleaning include:

  • Inspection and tagging process: The first step in the process of dry cleaning involves taking it to the dry cleaners. They examine it thoroughly for any stains and then put a tag on it accordingly.
  • Pre-spotting: In this, a vacuum, chemical solvent, or heat is applied to the garment stains to clean them during dry cleaning.
  • Dry Cleaning: The most important part of the process. In this, the clothes are left in a machine containing non-water-based solvents. Required cleaning solvents are regularly discharged into a cylinder where the clothes are rotated. Excess solvent is also removed from the clothes by rapidly spinning them. Clothes come out entirely dry.
  • Post-spotting: Once again, the clothes are checked for any persisting stains. If found, the second process is repeated.
  • Finishing: Once cleaned, clothes are pressed, ironed, or steamed before dispatch.

This is the basic process of dry cleaning. It has various advantages over the usual laundering and helps keep our garments fresh.

Main Differences Between Laundry and Dry Cleaning

  1. Softeners, detergents, or soaps are used along with water to rid the clothes of dirt in the laundry process. On the other hand, in dry cleaning, clothes are cleaned using the chemical perchloroethylene.
  2. In the laundry, detergents, once used, cannot be used again. This is because detergents get mixed with the water. While in dry cleaning, solvents used for cleaning can easily be recycled for reuse.
  3. In the laundry, inside the machine itself, they are spun dry. On the other hand, separate machines are used for drying in the dry cleaning machine.
  4. In the laundry, stain removal is much less effective compared to the one in dry cleaning.
  5. In the laundry, clothes have a lesser shelf life due to the use of water. In dry cleaning, clothes have much more shelf life.
Difference Between Laundry and Dry Cleaning
  1. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jos/56/7/56_7_327/_article/-char/ja/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001623611100127X

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