Dry cleaners

Dry cleaning and garment care can generate dangerous waste. Chemicals in these facilities can contaminate water and soil, and can be hazardous to workers. We work with local businesses to ensure dangerous waste is handled safely and correctly.

We also suggest alternatives and offer reimbursement to replace perchloroethylene (PERC) equipment, and other types of chemicals and equipment with safer, environmentally-friendly products when possible.

Replace PERC equipment for a reimbursement

We are offering reimbursements to replace your PERC equipment with safer alternatives. Get up to:

  • $20,000 to switch to professional wet cleaning, or
  • $10,000 to switch to hydrocarbon.

Why should I stop using PERC?

Using PERC:

  • Puts the health and safety of you and your workers at risk.
  • Contaminates air, soil, and drinking water.
  • Can increase your regulatory oversight due to a change in generator category.
  • Can cost your business more in the long run.

What should I use instead?

Professional wet cleaning is the safest alternative to PERC. Professional wet cleaning uses water and detergents to clean all fabrics, including “dry clean only” fabrics.

Professional wet cleaning:

  • Lowers your operating costs in the long run.
  • Eliminates hazardous waste.
  • Creates a healthier working environment for your employees.
  • Is safer for the environment.

What types of wastes are common at dry cleaners?

Most dry cleaning and garment care facilities have these types of dangerous waste:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Absorbent materials contaminated with dangerous waste (often PERC)
  • Lint (contaminated with PERC or other hazardous products that become waste)
  • Detergents and cleaners
  • Machinery (like machine filters) contaminated with PERC or other dangerous waste
  • Mercury light bulbs and lamps
  • Solvents:
    • Spotting agents
    • PERC
    • Trichloroethylene
    • Sludge or “bottoms” from solvent stills that recycle solvents
    • Toluene
    • MEK
    • Glycol ethers liquid silicone
    • Liquid CO2
    • Brominate solvents
    • Other solvents
  • Used shop towels
  • Water (wash water, separator water) and muck, contaminated with PERC

Pollution prevention for dry cleaners

  • Use newer, more efficient equipment (like a closed loop dry-to-dry system) to reduce solvent use and waste.
  • Replace activated carbon adsorber PERC traps with a refrigerated condenser to reduce PERC-contaminated separator water.
  • Dissolve any additive completely before the solvent goes through the filter.
  • Fill the filter housing completely with solvent when you are not using the equipment.
  • Keep solvent return temperatures at or below 90 degrees F or 32 degrees Centigrade (C) when you run the still. This decreases solvent loss through the storage tank vent.
  • Inspect equipment and piping regularly for leaks, worn parts, proper temperatures, and solvent "mileage." Repair problems quickly.
  • Dispose of separator water as dangerous waste. Do not dispose of it down a drain.