Dry cleaning gets wet

Like most dry cleaners, Spot Cleaners in Reno had been using the toxic solvent perchloroethylene since it opened shop 12 years ago. But, about a month ago, the business decided its perc-using days were over and converted to wet cleaning. That process uses only water, soaps, conditioners and computer-controlled washers and dryers.

“We decided to go that way because we were just tired of dealing with perc,” says owner Chang Suh. Tired of disposing of its hazardous waste, tired of dealing with its regulations, tired of buying solvents, tired of its toxicity.

Suh isn’t the only one. In California, Proposition 65 has called for a complete phasing out of perc by 2023, and some officials in Reno are discussing a similar measure here.

Last week, Paul Miller, manager of operations and water quality for Truckee Meadows Water Authority, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that perc “is the single most important groundwater issue we face in this community.”

Wet cleaning is considered a more eco-friendly way of dry cleaning by many environmental groups and the Environmental Protection Agency because it’s more energy efficient and is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit greenhouse gases.