Inside a dry cleaning machine

A dry cleaning machine is best described as a mixture of a large domestic washing machine and a tumble dryer. The core of the machine is a perforated drum, commonly known as the ‘basket’, which has a capacity of 20-80lb and rotates within a shell. The clothes are loaded in the basket, while the shell holds the solvent.

During the wash cycle, the chamber is filled one third with solvent whilst rotating the clothing inside. The temperature used is slightly cooler than a common washing machine and a typical cycle lasts between 8-15 minutes, depending on fabric type and level of cleaning required.

When the cycle finishes, the solvent is drained out and sent to a distillation unit to separate any water from the solvent and remove impurities that may have been transferred by the garments. The garments are then rinsed with the distilled solvent to prevent discolouration.

After the rinse cycle,  the machine starts the drying cycle, where the garments are tumbled in warm air and the last traces of solvent are removed. Finally, the garments pass through a deodorising cycle which allows the circulation of cool outside air to leave them fresh and ready for pressing and finishing.

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