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This Earth-Friendly Alternative To Dry Cleaning Can Be Done At Home

By Desirée Kaplan

Many clothing items are labeled as strictly “dry clean only,” but dry cleaning isn't always the most eco-friendly option. Unfortunately, the majority of dry cleaners in the United States use perchloroethylene when they clean clothes. Also known as "perc," this compound has been identified as a carcinogen, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment.  

Friends Gwen L. Whiting and Lindsey J. Boyd saw there was problem with the dry cleaning system and realized that 90 percent of “dry clean only” items can actually be washed at home by using greener ingredients. At the time, Whiting and Boyd both lived in New York City and were working in the fashion industry. The two met at Cornell University while attending the Fiber Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design program.  

Simply named The Laundress, Whiting and Boyd’s company produces dedicated solutions for hard to wash clothing materials such as wool, cashmere, and of course, items tagged as dry clean only. In addition to non-toxic and biodegradable laundry detergents, Whiting and Boyd also offer a range of eco-friendly home cleaning products and tools. Their classic wooden brushes, brooms, and dusters give people the option to clean their entire homes in a totally environmentally responsible way.