Items for cleaning are classified and sorted into separate portable hampers according to their fibers. Wool, silk and rayon, cotton and linen, and man-made fibers are some of the most common classifications. The items then are further separated by colors—dark, medium, and light. |
After the articles have been sorted, they are agitated in a clear solvent and then in a soapy solvent. Next they are rinsed in a clear solution. A dry-cleaning machine using petroleum solvent contains a perforated metal cylinder, which revolves slowly in a metal shell containing the cleaning substance. The synthetic-solvent machine is sealed airtight and the cleaning fluid is then pumped into it.
Next the items are placed in an extractor. Here centrifugal force removes most of the moisture. If a petroleum solvent is used, the garments are then placed either in a drying tumbler or a drying cabinet. The tumbler consists of a rotating and reversing woven wire cylinder supported and housed within a metal casing. In addition to drying the solvent, it also deodorizes it.
The drying cabinet is used for items that cannot withstand rotary drying action, such as silk or rayon clothing. The drying room must be properly ventilated to remove solvent gases or moisture. This is done by changing the air every few minutes.
After drying, most items need finishing. Some garments are pressed whole on special forms inflated with air. The fabric is softened with steam to remove wrinkles and then cooled until it returns to its original shape. Portions of the garment, such as a coat's lining, may be touched up by hand-pressing. Special forms keep draperies and other items in their proper size and shape during cleaning. Modern dry-cleaning plants use a variety of equipment to accommodate all types of garments and other articles. Finally, the article is bagged or boxed for delivery to or pickup by the customer.
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