7 Ways Dry Cleaners Can Be More Sustainable Today!

Sustainable Dry Cleaners
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The Importance of Sustainable Dry Cleaners

Sustainability. You’ve likely heard this buzzword. But what does it mean for dry cleaners?

In simple terms, it’s about minimizing your environmental footprint. This involves using resources wisely and reducing waste.

And yes, even dry cleaners play a pivotal role.

The Role of Dry Cleaners in Sustainability

The dry cleaning industry faces unique sustainability challenges. Historically, it’s relied heavily on perchloroethylene (PERC), a solvent with significant environmental and health concerns.

Today, many dry cleaners are switching to more eco-friendly alternatives. This shift is part of an industry-wide commitment to being more sustainable.

The environmental impact of dry cleaning is significant. The industry contributes to water and air pollution, as well as waste generation.

However, dry cleaners can change this narrative. They can adopt practices that conserve resources and protect the environment. In doing so, they can become part of the sustainability solution.

The transformation to sustainable dry cleaners is not just good for the planet. It can also benefit businesses by improving their reputation and attracting eco-conscious customers.

Startup creates environmentally friendly method of dry cleaning

7 Ways Dry Cleaners Can Be More Sustainable

1. Switch to Eco-friendly Cleaning Solvents

Many traditional dry cleaners use harsh chemicals like perchloroethylene (PERC). While effective, PERC is not eco-friendly. By switching to green solvents like liquid carbon dioxide or wet cleaning methods, dry cleaners can significantly reduce their environmental impact.

Implementing this change involves investing in new cleaning machines compatible with these green solvents. You’ll also need to train your staff to handle and use these new cleaning agents effectively.

Switching to eco-friendly solvents can lead to less pollution and waste. Moreover, promoting your use of green cleaning methods can attract customers who prioritize sustainability, boosting your business.

2. Recycle Hangers and Plastic Bags

Plastic bags and metal hangers are common waste products in dry cleaning. Encouraging customers to return these items for recycling can greatly reduce waste.

Start by setting up a recycling program at your shop. Display signs prompting customers to return hangers and bags. You could also offer incentives, like discounts, to encourage participation.

Implementing this simple recycling program can lead to significant reductions in waste. Plus, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainability to your customers.

3. Reduce Energy Consumption

From heating water to running cleaning machines, dry cleaning can consume a lot of energy. Energy-efficient appliances can help lower your energy usage and your carbon footprint.

Choose Energy Star rated appliances whenever possible. These machines are designed to use less energy without sacrificing performance. Also, ensure your shop is well insulated to prevent heat loss.

Reducing energy consumption doesn’t just help the environment—it can also help you save on energy bills, adding to your bottom line.

4. Utilize a Water Reclamation System

Water is a key resource in the dry cleaning process, and excessive water usage can lead to wastage and higher bills. A water reclamation system can help conserve water.

These systems collect, filter, and recycle water used in the cleaning process. Installation can be complex, so consider hiring a professional to ensure it’s done correctly.

A water reclamation system can drastically cut down on your water usage, saving you money and conserving a crucial resource. It’s another step towards becoming a sustainable dry cleaner.

5. Offer a Green Delivery Service

A delivery service can help expand your customer base, but it can also contribute to air pollution if not managed responsibly. Offering a green delivery service can help mitigate this impact.

You could use electric vehicles or bicycles for nearby deliveries. For distant ones, consider partnering with a local courier service that uses eco-friendly transport methods.

This service can reduce your carbon footprint while offering a unique selling point to customers interested in eco-friendly services. It’s another aspect of becoming a truly sustainable dry cleaner.

6. Educate Your Customers

Many customers may not understand the environmental impact of dry cleaning. By educating them about sustainable practices and your efforts, you can help shift the industry towards greener methods.

You can share information through pamphlets, email newsletters, or even one-on-one conversations. Highlight the benefits of green cleaning methods and explain why your business has chosen to adopt them.

Education not only fosters a loyal customer base but also promotes broader change in consumer habits and expectations. This, in turn, supports the wider goals of sustainable dry cleaners.

7. Source From Sustainable Suppliers

The materials you use in your shop, from cleaning solvents to garment bags, all have an environmental impact. By sourcing from sustainable suppliers, you can reduce this impact significantly.

Research suppliers who prioritize eco-friendly practices. This could mean suppliers who use recycled materials or avoid harmful chemicals in their products.

Sourcing from sustainable suppliers can help minimise your environmental footprint, while also promoting a green supply chain. This is crucial for any business seeking to enhance sustainability in their operations.

Dry Cleaners sustainability toolkit

Sustainability Toolkit For Dry Cleaners

This toolkit is specifically designed for dry cleaners, offering a comprehensive guide to enhancing sustainability in your operations. Here’s what it includes:

Sustainability Action Plan Template: An easy-to-follow template that helps you identify your sustainability goals, outline steps to achieve them, and track progress. This practical tool can guide your transformation towards becoming a more eco-friendly business.

Sustainability Policy Template: A blueprint for crafting a sustainability policy specific to your dry cleaning business. It can serve as a commitment to your eco-friendly values and a promise to your customers, helping to distinguish your business in the market.

Sustainable Supplier Assessment Template: A comprehensive tool to evaluate the sustainability credentials of your suppliers. It can help you make informed decisions and foster a green supply chain, a crucial part of your sustainability journey.

Waste Audit Template: A valuable resource to identify waste sources in your operations and develop effective strategies to minimize them. It can help you save resources and become a sustainable dry cleaner.

Employee Sustainability Pledge Template: A way to engage your team in your sustainability efforts. This pledge can boost employee morale, instill a culture of sustainability, and encourage behaviors that align with your green objectives.

Download Sustainability Toolkit

Dry Cleaners Found These Helpful

Looking for more ways to make your business sustainable? Check out these additional resources specifically tailored for other cleaning professions. They provide unique insights and strategies to reduce your environmental footprint, just like we discussed for dry cleaners.

Sustainable Window Cleaners: Discover specific sustainability strategies for window cleaning businesses.

Find out how home cleaning services can go green without compromising quality Sustainable Domestic Cleaners

Sustainable Commercial Cleaners: Explore how commercial cleaners can make their operations more eco-friendly.

“Dry cleaners can prioritize sustainability by adopting environmentally friendly cleaning methods and using non-toxic solvents.” – Sustainable Cleaning Products and Services Association (SCPSA)

The Challenges for Dry Cleaners & Solutions

Moving towards becoming a sustainable dry cleaner isn’t without challenges. Potential roadblocks can include high upfront costs for eco-friendly machines, resistance to change from employees, or difficulty finding sustainable suppliers.

The cost of eco-friendly cleaning machines can be daunting. These machines, while more efficient and eco-friendly, often come with a hefty price tag compared to traditional options. This can deter many dry cleaners from making the switch.

Change can be difficult, and some employees may resist shifting to green cleaning methods. This resistance can stem from unfamiliarity or perceived difficulty of new procedures.

Finding sustainable suppliers can also be challenging. Not all suppliers prioritize sustainability, and sourcing from those that do may be more expensive.


While these challenges may seem daunting, they’re not insurmountable. Various strategies can help you overcome these barriers on your path to becoming a sustainable dry cleaner.

For high upfront costs, consider seeking grants or loans tailored for businesses making eco-friendly upgrades. Many governments and organizations offer financial assistance for such initiatives.

For employee resistance, provide thorough training and communicate the importance of sustainability. Help your team understand why these changes are necessary and how they can contribute to a healthier planet.

Finally, for sourcing challenges, collaborate with other businesses seeking sustainable supplies. Together, you may have more bargaining power to negotiate better terms with eco-friendly suppliers.

Case Studies – Dry Cleaner Sustainability

Let’s look at some inspiring real-world examples of sustainable dry cleaners making a difference.

GreenEarth Cleaning in the United States has developed a patented technology using liquid silicone, a safe and natural byproduct of sand, for dry cleaning. They’ve eliminated the use of harsh petrochemicals, reducing environmental impact and providing safer workplaces.

In the United Kingdom, Blanc has revolutionized the industry by offering ‘wet cleaning’ – a process using biodegradable detergents and water. This method is kinder to the environment, the clothes, and even the customers’ skin.

Impressive Stats

According to a Eurofins study, wet cleaning, as used by Blanc, can reduce the carbon footprint of garment cleaning by up to 50% compared to traditional methods in Europe.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that dry cleaners using eco-friendly methods can reduce the use of harmful chemicals by up to 99.7%.


Becoming a sustainable dry cleaner is a journey filled with both challenges and opportunities. Embracing eco-friendly practices can lead to cost savings, improved reputation, and a healthier planet.

With our seven strategies and sustainability toolkit, you’re equipped to make significant strides towards greener operations. The journey starts now. Take the leap and go green!

Sustainable Dry Cleaners FAQ

Q1: Is becoming a sustainable dry cleaner costly?
A1: While there might be upfront costs, sustainability often leads to long-term savings. Additionally, many grants and loans are available for businesses making eco-friendly upgrades.

Q2: What’s the impact of sustainability on customer attraction?
A2: As eco-awareness grows, more customers prefer businesses that prioritize sustainability. Going green can enhance your brand reputation and attract more customers.

Q3: Are there sustainable alternatives to traditional dry cleaning chemicals?
A3: Absolutely! Alternatives like liquid silicone and biodegradable detergents are safer for the environment and can provide equally effective cleaning.

Q4: How can I engage my employees in our sustainability efforts?
A4: Providing thorough training and creating a culture of sustainability can engage your employees. Our toolkit includes an Employee Sustainability Pledge Template to assist you.

Q5: Can I still maintain cleaning quality while being sustainable?
A5: Certainly! Many sustainable cleaning methods and technologies not only maintain but can even enhance cleaning quality.

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