Q. What is a home dry cleaning kit?
A. A home dry cleaning kit supposedly can offer consumers substantial cost savings and convenience by allowing them to dry clean clothes from the comfort of their homes. For example, the Custom Cleaner advertising materials claim that it allows you to "conveniently remove everyday spots, freshen and revitalize your dry clean only clothes at home for about 50 cents a garment.
Q. How do they work?
A. A home dry clean kit consists of several cleaning sheets and dryer-safe plastic bags. The consumer unfolds and opens a dry cleaning sheet, which he or she places in the bag with one or more garments. The bag is then tumbled in a clothes dryer for about 10 minutes. The clothes should then be shaken, removed from the bag and hung up to prevent wrinkling.
Q. Who makes them?
A. Dryel is made by Procter and Gamble, and the Dryel website can be found at http://www.dryel.com. Custom Cleaner has been bought by a joint venture of The Dial Corp. and Henkel. Their website is http://www.customcleaner.com. Clorox has also recently entered this lucrative market with a product called FreshCare, which you can find at http://www.cloroxfreshcare.com/dryclean.html
Advantages: * A home dry clean kits offers substantial cost savings over traditional dry cleaning, and can be used in the comfort of your home. * The chemicals used in a home dry clean kit, while not harmless, are not as bad for the environment and consumers as perchlorethylene, which is used by most dry cleaning establishments. * Simple to use. * A home dry clean kit does an excellent job removing odors. *Dryel has been awarded the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Disadvantages: * The home dry cleaning kit does not offer a viable substitution for professional pressing, which can only be done at the dry cleaners. * The kits can remove some stains, and, according to Consumer Reports, Dryel has improved quite a bit in this area. However, neither kit is as effective as traditional dry cleaning for removing more serious stains.
Consumer Reports had this to say about Dryel: "Dryel may not be the "revolution" it claims to be. But if you want to freshen up a lightly soiled garment or remove smoke or stale cooking odors, it can save you money and protect you from exposure to strong dry-cleaning solvents." They also mentioned that it worked well on some stains, including spaghetti sauce.
The International Fabricare Institute (IFI), the leading association representing the cleaning industry, disputes some of Dryel's claims. Earlier this year, IFI published a "Research Fellowship" on Dryel, concluding that while the product does remove odors and is effective on water-soluble stains, it is not as effective as drycleaning in stain removal. For more information, you can visit the IFI website at http://www.ifi.org (then click on Industry News).
Q. Why doesn't your company market home dry cleaning kits?
A. Because we haven't found any yet that are sufficiently environmentally friendly.