The UK's Leading Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning,
Laundry & Finishing Equipment Supplier
Tel: 020 8579 2661 Email: mail@renzacci.co.uk

Start Ups - Understanding Solvents & Processes

With an array of different solvents and processes to choose from, this decision can seem confusing to a customer with no industry knowledge. Renzacci UK will give you all the information you need using plain English and without jargon.

Below we have set out the basic information with all the pro's and con's for each method, but our sales team will be happy to explain in further detail and answer any questions you may have.

Drycleaning

If you opt for a traditional solvent based drycleaning process the main solvents used in this area are explained below:

1) Perchloroethylene - otherwise known as 'Perc' in the industry. This is the most commonly used solvent in the UK today. Over 95% of independent drycleaners use this solvent. However Perc is coming under increased pressure with many European countries phasing out its use and replacing Perc with greener options.

Pro's Con's
Faster Cleaning Process More statutory controls required to use and operate
Ideal for heavily soiled fabrics and work-wear processing Staff health and safety procedures required
Excellent for every day general drycleaning Annual license fee of approx. £130-£150 to use this solvent
Less machine space required

Annual statutory machine service required

Saves on spotting procedures Additional costs of specialised waste disposal 
Lower start-up machine costs

Perc machines cannot be converted to use other solvents

  Cost of Perc is higher than other solvents and will only increase in cost

2) Hydrocarbon - Is still a solvent with excellent cleaning ability, but has the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly. You can obtain similar results as 'Perc' but you should expect a 25% longer processing time as additional spotting is required.

Pro's Con's
Environmentally friendly Machines larger and more expensive to purchase and run
Safeguards against future environmental compliance Staff health and safety procedures required
Ideal as a second machine

Additional costs of specialised waste disposal

The solvent is cheaper to purchase than Perc Annual statutory machine service required
Gentle cleaning action  
Machine is compatible with other alternative solvents like K4  

3) K4 - Is more environmentally sound then either 'Perc' or 'Hydrocarbon'. K4 has a good cleaning ability which is more effective than Hydrocarbon, but not quite as effective as Perc. Stain removal and any additional detergents used with K4 have to come from the recommend range from Kreussler to ensure compatibility. If you are considering this option we normally recommend that customers invest in our multi-solvent machine, that way you have the option of switching between different solvents if needed, rather than having to buy a new machine.

Pro's Con's
More environmentally friendly Less cleaning power than either 'Perc'
Gentle Clean Machines more expensive to purchase
Safeguards against future environmental compliance The solvent is more expensive than 'Perc' or 'Hydrocarbon'
Better cleaning power than Hydrocarbon Annual license fee of £130-£150 per year
  Staff health and safety procedures required
  Must use additional detergents and spotting liquids from same range to ensure compatibility
 

Annual statutory machine service required

 

Additional costs of specialised waste disposal

4) Wet Cleaning - What does it mean?  Wet cleaning has been around since the 90's, but it is not to be confused with Laundry cleaning as there are some inherent differences. Our Wet Cleaning systems use water and specially formulated detergents to clean traditional dryclean only fabrics. So it does the same as 'Perc', 'Hydrocarbon' and 'K4' but does not use solvents, only water and soaps.

Pro's Con's
Environmentally sound as the system does not use solvents, only detergents that can be discharged through the normal drainage Not 100% of all dryclean only items can be processed
No waste collection requirements therefore no on-costs Longer process time for some garments
No statutory controls to run the system  
No licence required  
Pleasant working environment for workers  
Almost perfumed finish to fabrics  
Wet cleaning machines can be used for standard laundry services including duvet and services washes  
No annual statutory machine service required, although an annual service is recommended the time the service takes is much shorter. Therefore the cost is significantly reduced  
Additional business opportunities/revenue streams, as items like leathers, suede and Ugg boots can be processed successfully  
Energy efficient on both water and electricity  

5) Laundry - laundry fabrics are fabrics that are not dryclean only items but still need to be cleaned. The difference between laundry and wet cleaning is mainly around the detergents that are used and the garments cleaned. Many drycleaners offer a laundry service to their clients, with shirts and flat work (table clothes and sheeting) having the potential to bring in significant revenue streams.

Pro's Con's
Environmentally sound as the system does not use solvents, only detergents that can be discharged through the normal drainage

Dryclean only items cannot be processed using laundry equipment, unless using a Wet Cleaning system that can process both.

No waste collection requirements therefore no on-costs  
No statutory controls to run the system  
No licence required  
No annual statutory machine service required although an annual service is recommended  
Additional business opportunities/revenue streams for business to business ventures  

If you require any further information on solvents and cleaning processes, just call the office for a free, no obligation discussion.

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