According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the dry cleaning and laundry service industry was comprised of approximately 43,000 establishments employing, nearly 390,000 people with an annual payroll of about $6,700,000. The vast majority of these businesses - approximately 91 percent - were relatively small businesses, employing fewer than 20 persons each.
Perchloroethylene (also called perc) is the most common cleaning solvent used in the dry cleaning industry. Perc is a colorless, nonflammable liquid that accounts for 80% to 85% of all dry cleaning fluid used. Hydrocarbon/petroleum solvents make up a majority of the remaining 15-20%. In recent years, increased awareness of environmental health risks and regulations have resulted in increasing portions of the industry moving away from Perc and returning to the use of petroleum solvents. In addition, new cleaning methods have developed including wet cleaning and carbon dioxide cleaning. These methods are estimated to hold industry-wide usage rates of one percent.
A complete glossary of dry cleaning terms, Material Safety Data Sheets and additional information can be located at http://www.drycleancoalition.org/docdisplay.cfm?doc=dcglossary.htm
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Hub Last Updated: 2/26/2013