Can a Dry Cleaner Be Green?
Over the past few years, there's been a boom in "natural," "green" and "organic" dry cleaning businesses. While many of them operate in a more environmentally sensitive way than traditional establishments, there's no system of regulation or certification that guarantees they avoid toxic chemicals. If you're considering switching to a greener cleaner, ask the owner about the active ingredients they use to clean your clothes.

The best methods are "wet cleaning," silicone-based cleaning and carbon dioxide (CO2) cleaning. If they still employ perc, don't waste your money by paying more for their services. Regardless of which dry cleaning method you choose, it's in your best interest to employ it as infrequently as possible.

Here are 6 practical ways to limit your need to dry clean clothes:
  • Wear an undershirt to keep sweat and odor from soiling your shirts and jackets.
  • Get stains out as soon as they happen—don't wait until they're dried up and baked in.
  • Hang clothes as soon as you take them off to prevent them from getting wrinkled, walked on or soiled on the floor.
  • Use a garment steamer to freshen clothes instead of cleaning them.
  • Toss items in the dryer for 10 minutes with a damp washcloth to steam them.
  • Use a lint brush to remove dust, dirt or dander that may settle in over time.
How are you shifting your habits to be green? Share your advice and ask questions below!

Elizabeth Rogers is the co-author of The Green Book. Her latest book, Shift Your Habit, is about a new way of thinking that leads to both saving money and living consciously.

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