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How to Operate a Dry Cleaning Machine

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Dry cleaning is a process that uses chemicals, rather than water, to clean clothes. The most common chemical used is tetrachloroethylene, which is also called perchloroethylene or “perc” by people within the dry cleaning industry. A typical dry cleaning machine is a combination of a washing machine and dryer that extracts stains from 20 to 100 pounds of clothes at once. Operating a dry cleaning machine is similar to using a washing machine.

How to Operate a Dry Cleaning Machine

Load the clothes you want to dry clean onto a scale and measure their weight in pounds. Know the maximum weight your dry cleaning machine is capable of handling and take care not to exceed it.

Open the door to the dry cleaning machine by depressing the door’s handle and insert clothes into the clothes basket. Shut the door and lock the lever so that the door does not open during operation. Load one gallon of tetrachloroethylene per pound of clothes you are cleaning. Press Start on the machine.

Monitor the machine as it runs through its cleaning, rinsing and drying cycles. The machine will first clean and rinse the clothes by spraying solvent on them while it tumbles them in the clothes basket. Watch the machine's temperature display to ensure that the internal temperature does not exceed 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It will then drain the liquid from the basket while continuing to tumble and rinse the clothes with distilled solvent that is free of all dirt and dye. Finally, the machine will move into its drying cycle. The machine will pump warm air into the basket while removing any remaining moisture and solvent through evaporation.

Remove clothes from the dry cleaning machine and check its lint filters and vents to remove any buttons, fasteners or debris that have accumulated during the last cycle. The filters must be cleaned in between each load to ensure continued optimum performance of the machine.

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