Dry-cleaners store and handle a range of chemicals, many of which are hazardous; some may be flammable, others are toxic or corrosive.
Dry-cleaners commonly use the following hazardous substances:
Careful management of these is important to protect people and the environment.
Most dry-cleaners use PERC because it has a number of convenient properties. Its high grease solvency allows shorter processing times than other dry-cleaning solvents, giving improved productivity. It's also chemically and thermally stable under normal conditions of use in an enclosed dry-cleaning machine. Some properties are a disadvantage; PERC is both toxic and ecotoxic and can cause both immediate and chronic effects from over-exposure. Dry-cleaners must avoid inhaling solvent vapour, contact with the skin and eyes, or ingesting the solvent.