How can I clean neck tie without sending it to the drycleaner, where they use not very green or safe cleaning processes?
Dear Green One: Conventional dry cleaners use the chemical perchloroethylene, also called "perc", which is a probable human carcinogen, hazardous air pollutant, water pollutant, and must be disposed of as hazardous waste [1-3].
In response to efforts to eliminate perc exposure and pollution, several alternative dry cleaning options are now available:
- Carbon Dioxide Cleaning: This process uses captured carbon dioxide from the production of other industrial chemicals, as well as natural sources, to clean clothes in high-pressure machines. Because the process does not produce any new CO2 it does not contribute to global climate change. This process is considered environmentally preferable to perc by the EPA. Consumer Reports tested carbon dioxide-based cleaning systems in 2003 and found that carbon dioxide cleaning is actually more effective than traditional dry-cleaning with perc. Find a carbon dioxide cleaner near you.
- Professional Wet Cleaning: This process uses water as a solvent in special machines, along with specially-formulated detergents and additives that are typically biodegradable. This process is considered environmentally preferable to perc by the EPA. Find a professional wet cleaner near you.
If neither option is available in your area, or if you want to take a more do-it-yourself route you can try these options:
- Dryer Steam Cleaning: If your dryer has a steam cleaning option follow the manufacturer’s directions. If not, dry your tie with a damp, colorfast towel to steam clean.
- Hand Wash + Professional Pressing: You always have the option to hand wash your garment and line dry. Follow that up with a professional pressing from the local dry cleaner for that crisp look.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2006) IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Complete list of agents evaluated and their classification.
- Michael Moran. Contamination of Ground Water by PCE – A National Perspective. U.S. Geological Survey.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for tetrachloroethylene.