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Dry Cleaning vs Laundry

Dry Cleaning vs Laundry What is the difference?

The difference between dry cleaning and laundry is a very common question that leaves many people baffled. Why are certain items dry clean only? And what happens if you launder them instead? Is a dry clean only label attached to expensive garments by manufacturers just so they can shift the blame if the garment gets ruined? 

The fundamental difference between dry cleaning and laundry is the use of water. The former does not use water while the latter does. Dry Cleaners use chemicals and solvents to get rid of stains on the garments while laundering involves using water and detergents. Solvents in dry cleaning are recycled and purified before being used again. Whereas in laundry, water and soap are reused from garment to garment. 

History of laundry:

A river bed and a pile of rocks were the humble beginnings of laundry and washing clothes. Later, wooden washing tubs and wash boards were developed. Soap too was invented to give the clothes a good clean and a pleasant smell to get rid of any odours. Although riverside washing is still practiced today in rural areas of under developed nations, most laundry today is done in either coin operated Laundromats, at home washing machines or delegated to a laundry company. 

History of dry cleaning:

Dry Cleaning is said to have originated in Paris, France in 1845 when a French dye works operator called Jean Baptiste Jolly used kerosene and gasoline to clean fabrics. As gasoline is highly flammable and a potential health hazard, gradually less flammable alternatives were developed. After World War 1, chlorine based solvents began to be used instead. These solvents were less flammable hence, the risk of fires and explosions was minimized yet had more cleaning power. The shift to tetrachloroethylene (commonly called perc)happened in the 1930’s due to its excellent cleaning power and ability to be recycled and purified for repeat usage.

Each process is used for different types of garments and materials though. And each process has its pros and cons which are listed below:

Dry Cleaning

  • Better at removing oil and grease stains as well as pen marks.
  • Increases the wearable life of the garment and gives it the “brand new” appearance. Garments that have been dry cleaned last longer than those which have been washed.
  • Some dry cleaners use chemicals which can be toxic or hazardous. However at Gold Dry Cleaners, we only use high quality British standard solvents which are environmentally friendly as well. 
  • It is better for the clothes because the likelihood of colour bleeding, shrinkage and shape distortion is greatly reduced.
  • Can be more expensive than laundry due to the technique and nature of equipment involved. 


  • No harmful chemicals are used only soap/detergents and water.
  • Less expensive than dry cleaning so more economically viable. The types of machinery and techniques used are more simplistic.
  • Not suitable for some types of garments e.g. silk, woolen and leather/suede items.
  • Might not be able to get every stain and spill off the clothes especially oil and grease marks. 
  • Having a dedicated laundry service such as the one Gold Dry Cleaners offers (free collection and delivery for every order above £30) is useful for those on a tight schedule or just not fond of doing laundry at home. We charge per kilogram for washing, drying and folding. You have the option of getting an 8 kg bag of laundry done for just £15.

The Choice:

The choice on which process to opt for can be made simpler by two basic ways:

  • Reading the manufacturer’s care label instructions carefully and looking at the laundry and dry cleaning symbols they have on the label. Educate yourself on care label 
  • By taking your clothes to a reputable dry cleaning and laundry service and asking for expert advice on the best method that would be suited to your particular garment. 

If you are still confused about which process i.e. laundry or dry cleaning is best suited for your garment, bring it into our store at 162 Old Brompton Road and one of our team members will be able to assess it based on wear and tear, stains and fabric used. 

At Gold Dry Cleaners, we always tailor our method of cleaning and aim to get the best results. Apart from laundry and dry cleaning we also offer wet cleaning services which in contrast to traditional dry cleaning does not involve the use of chemical solvents the most common of which is perchloroethylene (usually known as perc).

Because we aim to reduce our carbon footprint and be more environmentally conscious, we do not use perchloroethylene in our dry cleaning. We also offer wet cleaning services with non toxic detergents and spot removers which can give you the quality and finesse of dry cleaning minus the harmful chemical involvement. Gold Dry Cleaners have always been pioneers in terms of our methods of cleaning and not scrimping on quality to make more money.

With our tagline of “Value you can trust”, we give your clothes the care and attention they deserve minus the hefty price tag. Despite being based in an affluent neighbourhood, we can proudly say that we beat our neighbours on price very easily. At the same time, our quality and standard of finish is very high. Customer satisfaction is our top most priority and we strive to make sure we deliver the results we promise.

If we cannot do that in the first clean, we re clean your garments free of charge. With Gold Dry Cleaners, you can have complete peace of mind that your clothes are in safe hands and we deliver quality and affordability together. So order with us today and get a free consultation on the method best suited for your items. Then, sit back, relax and let us do the hard work.

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