How to care for your fabrics — and the planet!

Switch to wet cleaning

Dry cleaning dirties the planet. Find a professional wet cleaner near you!

Wet cleaning uses environmentally-friendly, 100 per cent biodegradable soaps and conditioners to remove tough stains and treat “dry clean only” items without harmful solvents. State-of-the-art machines allow for flexibility and precision in water temperature, agitation and amount of detergent — the best options for stain removal and fabric care.

Gentle detergents, a process that measures the humidity during the drying process, and finishing machines for pressing means less stress on garments, reduced energy and water use, and no toxic ingredients. The cost is about the same and it’s ultimately less costly to us all — no air, water or soil pollution.

What are the benefits?

Dry cleaning dirties the planet with harmful chemicals released into the air (including in your home), water and soil that are toxic to aquatic animals and humans. The active chemical, perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC), is a known neurotoxin and carcinogen, and can skin cause irritation and redness. (Ever feel itchy after your clothes were dry cleaned?)

Harsh chemicals also deteriorate fabric over time. Wet cleaning is safer for all fabrics, including delicates like wool, silk, chiffon and lace. It’s also great for natural rubber pillows or wool and silk duvets, too. Some machines even disinfect items like handbags, shoes and stuffed animals in only eight minutes.

Don’t forget about the people doing your cleaning! Do you want your clothes washed in a solution that isn’t safe for employees to put their hands in? A workplace without harsh chemicals is better for everyone.

Avoid formaldehyde in fabrics 

What’s colourless, preserves frogs, coats, pillow cases and impregnates “no-iron” shirts?

Answer: formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is used in clothing, bedding and curtains because it …

  • Prevents wrinkles
  • Prevents mildew during shipping
  • Increases colour fastness
  • Increases stain resistance

Why the concern?

  1. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen says the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Canada has also declared it toxic. The U.S. doesn’t regulate its use in clothing.
  2. You won’t find it listed on the label.
  3. Even low-level exposure can cause headache, runny nose or contact dermatitis (a.k.a. skin irritation/rash).

Formaldehyde is particularly troublesome for those with chemical sensitivities, which may explain why you’re still suffering from rashes or eczema even after switching to less-toxic laundry soap and ditching fragranced dryer sheets.

Four ways to reduce your exposure

01

Wash

Wash all clothes and linens BEFORE wearing or using — gets rid of about 60 per cent of the stuff. 

02

Avoid

Avoid products labelled “wrinkle-free,” “iron-free,” “permanent-press” or “stain-resistant.”

03

Smell

Perform a “sniff test” — if it smells chemical-y, don’t buy it (or return it if you already have).

04

Choose

Look for certified organic cottons.