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Warns Suzy Homemaker not to dry clean clothes with gasoline at home.
Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Dry cleaning is any cleaning process for clothing and textiles using a chemical solvent other than water. The modern dry cleaning process was developed and patented by Thomas L. Jennings.
Despite its name, dry cleaning is not a “dry” process; clothes are soaked in a liquid solvent. Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), which the industry calls “perc”, is the most widely used solvent. Alternative solvents are trichloroethane and petroleum spirits.
Most natural fibers can be washed in water but some synthetics (e.g. viscose, lyocell, modal, and cupro) react poorly with water and must be dry-cleaned…
Thomas L. Jennings is the inventor and first to patent the commercial dry cleaning process known as “dry scouring”, on March 3, 1821 (Patent Number: US 3,306X). He was the first African-American to receive a patent, despite attempts which fought to prevent him from receiving said patent because of the dangerous nature of the process.
An early adopter of commercial “dry laundry” using turpentine was Jolly Belin in Paris in 1825.
Modern dry cleaning’s use of non-water-based solvents to remove soil and stains from clothes was reported as early as 1855. The potential for petroleum-based solvents was recognized by French dye-works operator Jean Baptiste Jolly, who offered a new service that became known as nettoyage à sec—i.e., dry cleaning. Flammability concerns led William Joseph Stoddard, a dry cleaner from Atlanta, to develop Stoddard solvent (white spirit) as a slightly less flammable alternative to gasoline-based solvents. The use of highly flammable petroleum solvents caused many fires and explosions, resulting in government regulation of dry cleaners. After World War I, dry cleaners began using chlorinated solvents. These solvents were much less flammable than petroleum solvents and had improved cleaning power.
Shift to tetrachloroethylene
By the mid-1930s, the dry cleaning industry had adopted tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), or PCE for short, as the solvent. It has excellent cleaning power and is nonflammable and compatible with most garments. Because it is stable, tetrachloroethylene is readily recycled…