Your Dry Cleaned Clothes may be harming you

There are few joys in life that equal this. The feeling is pure bliss. You can even imagine James Bond feeling this way. As an author would say – it would warm the cockles of your heart. Slipping into a freshly dry-cleaned, well-ironed set of clothes I mean. Imagine the Bond slipping into his tux as he goes to destroy the world. Ooops did I just say that? I intended to say destroy the bad guys of course! Except! Any sensible Bond would shudder to wear clothes just returned from a dry clean. Confused? I was too.PERC!

PERC is a chemical. Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene. It is the solvent used by a significant number of dry cleaners. Its other uses include degreasing metals and the production of many chemicals. PERC is a likely human carcinogen. Its toxicity means that is likely to cause cancer. Besides cancer, it is also believed to cause brain and nervous system damage. The state of California has already passed a law that outlaws PERC but only in the year 2023. Till then in California and all other places using the chemical, you are exposing yourself to a dangerous agent. The chemical can transfer from your clothing to those that come in close contact. Imagine hugging your child with love and affection. If you are wearing your tuxedo, you are transferring not just love and affection but also a dangerous chemical.

So should we go back instead to the dark ages and smell like we haven’t washed for a decade? Perish the thought. Use a steam iron instead. Put cheap vodka with the water along with essential oils and voila, you have clean clothes that no longer remind you of where you have been. Sssshhh I promise not to tell either.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.