The Evolution of Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is a fundamental service that many rely on daily to keep the finer items of their wardrobe in pristine shape. And while you might not think about how such a service came into fruition in the first place, dry cleaning, like such elsewhere in the world, has an origin story and its own humble beginnings. And while this might not be the necessary information needed to win your next trivia night, you might develop a newfound appreciation for the people and places that handle the more delicate items in your wardrobe. 

dry cleaning service near babylon

Accident and Necessity 

Thomas Edison once remarked that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Having clean clothes is a fundamental part of everyday life, but the dry cleaning process had a less than glamorous beginning. As a matter of fact, it was an accident and not a necessity that would bring it into existence. It began in the 1800s when Jean-Baptiste Jolly noticed a maid accidentally spilled turpentine on a dirty tablecloth. The accident resulted in stains being lifted, and the seeds that would result in the process of dry-cleaning had been successfully cultivated. 

A Hot New Process…Literally 

Like many other inventions and practices that are new, there were a few kinks to work out and development to take place in order for dry cleaning to evolve. One of the practices that some people began to implement was the usage of chemicals such as petrol and kerosene. (yikes!) Anyone who’s ever refueled their car can tell you, that these aren’t the safest materials to use. And while the thought of using them as cleaning agents seems shocking today, they were once considered normal. 

Up in Flames 

In order to avoid the flammable outcomes that using petrol and kerosene can cause, dry cleaners began using chemicals such as benzene and turpentine. While these were effective in dry cleaning, they were also highly combustible; if they weren’t handled properly, a fire could result. Following the practice of necessity, alternatives were explored that were safer. As a result, many dry cleaners, especially Oak Neck cleaners, now use a chlorine-based solution that is safe to use and effective in removing stains. 

The Best Dry Cleaning is in Your (Oak) Neck of the Woods 

You won’t find turpentine or kerosene at Oak Neck Cleaners. And the only petrol that comes into play is when we’re en route to you for our pickup and delivery services. At Oak Neck, we offer a wide variety of cleaning and tailoring solutions to keep your wardrobe in pristine shape. For more information, visit us at