Your wedding gown may have a tag that states “Clean with petroleum based solvent only.” This recommendation is usually based on protecting your wedding gown’s beads and sequins from melting during cleaning with perchloethylene (perc) a common dry-cleaning solvent. Stoddard solvent is an older solvent that is petroleum based, safer for beads and sequins, but very hard to find.
Recently many state environmental protection agencies are limiting (or banning) perchloethylene (perc) and so more eco friendly solvents are emerging. Among the new solvents are new petroleum based solvents that are safer for dry-cleaners to use (lower flash point – less fire risk.) They are popping up everywhere. Just make a few phone calls and you should find a local dry-cleaner who has switched to one of the several petroleum based solvents.
Another solvent, Greenearth is not petroleum based (it is silicone), but is as safe as petroleum based on wedding gown beads and sequins. Of course, many gowns can be cleaned with water, (aka wet cleaning) which is the safest solvent for the environment, has the least fire risk and removes water based substances which dry-cleaning solvents do not. Many cleaners clean with water those items that can safely be cleaned with h2o – including wedding gowns.
At Heritage Garment Preservation we hand clean with water and dry-clean with virgin (new or distilled) Greenearth solvent, depending on each gown’s fabrics, trims and style. We choose the method that will clean the dress the best and protect the integrity of the gown as well.