Frequently asked questions

Q — What is so different about Hangers?

A — Hangers uses Carbon Dioxide as its dry cleaning solvent and also wet cleans dry- clean only garments in water. These two solvents are the only dry-cleaning processes rated as acceptable by Greenpeace.

Q — What is a solvent?

A — A solvent is the liquid clothes are immersed in for cleaning. The solvent does the actual cleaning, while detergents are added to the process to aid with the cleaning and bind with the dirts and contaminents so they do not redeposit on clothes.

Q — Isn’t CO2 a greenhouse gas? How can using it be environmentally responsible.

A — CO2, is indeed, the greenhouse gas that occupies the greatest press on global warming. However, the CO2 of concern is CO2 that is generated by human activity through the burning of fossil fuels and coal. Other solvents are manufactured, requiring substantial raw material and energy requirements. CO2 dry cleaning does not create CO2, it simply beneficially utilizes CO2 that already exists (either captured from combustion, derived from natural supplies, or separated from the atmosphere). We only release from 2-10 % of the CO2 we use on every cycle, which means we reuse the CO2 from 10 to 50 times. In fact, it’s estimated our total annual CO2 release is similar to the average annual CO2 generation of one Toyota Prius.

Q — What about using water for wet cleaning, we do live in a desert and water conservation is important.

A — Our programmable wet cleaning equipment uses far less water than the home washing machine. In fact, we process fifty pounds of clothing using less water than a standard thirteen pound cycle in the average home washer. In the three years Hangers has been in operation in Albuquerque, we have used less water monthly than the residential average.

Q — Lots of cleaners claim to be green. What’s so special about Hangers solvents and processes, and why are they better for my clothes and I?

A — Big question.

Hangers uses naturally occurring solvents — Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). In fact, you can actually drink our solvents since the two combined form carbonated water, i.e. the green bottle of water at upscale restaurants. All other solvents are man-manufactured, primarily from petroleum stocks or silicone based compounds requiring increased energy and resource requirements, i.e. a larger carbon footprint. Drinking any of them would definitely not be advisable. For more information, including potential health and environmental effects for all solvents, check out the COOP America Real Money article under the In The News portion of this website.

Dry cleaning with CO2 is gentler on your clothes for several reasons, but the most important is that there is no heat involved in the process. All other dry cleaning solvents are liquids at room temperature and require a drying cycle at elevated temperatures (typically 160—180 degrees Fahrenheit) to remove these liquids from your clothing after cleaning. To economically remove these liquids, the drying cycle is conducted at relatively high heats and this heating step destroys and damages the fibers in your clothing and dulls the dyes. Because CO2 is a gas at room temperatures, there is no drying cycle, per se. After removing the majority of the liquid CO2, the cleaning wheel is depressurized and all remaining CO2 turns to a gas and leaves the clothing. Therefore your clothes are never above room temperature in our cleaning cycle.

Wet cleaning, which is the processing of dry cleanable clothing in water is the other process we use at Hangers. Wet cleaning is accomplished in special programmable machines with special detergents and conditioners used to protect fine fabrics and clothing. The machines vary temperature, agitation, extract speed and processing time to suit the particular fabric and manufacture of a garment. Drying cycles, similarly, are programmed to the particular fabric and garment type to minimize fiber damage. While we could use the process for all of the clothes processed at Hangers (in fact, there are many cleaners in the country who are successful utilizing only wet cleaning), we typically use it for stains that are water based, or hydrophilic stains. These stains would include tannin based stains like coffee or wine and other soiling such as extreme perspiration odor or urine stains. Dry cleaning primarily is effective on lipophilic (oil based) stains, and while it is marginally effective on hydrophilic soiling, wet cleaning produces far better results. Coupling the wet cleaning process to CO2 dry cleaning gives Hangers substantially enhanced cleaning capabilities over traditional dry clean only operations resulting in better stain removal and greater customer satisfaction.