Have you ever experienced picking up your freshly dry-cleaned laundry from the cleaners and it reeks with the smell of chemicals or kerosene that lingers even after a few days? That’s because a harmful dry cleaning chemical called Perchloroethylene or commonly called Perc was used to clean it.
Now, with everything from food we eat to the air we breathe causing illnesses, it makes one shudder to think of what harmful chemicals could be lurking in your clothes, what could be touching your skin, entering your lungs as you inhale. Not to mention the harm the by-products of this process inflicts on the environment.
Recently, a healthier alternative was introduced with the launching of Reviva Luxury Garment Care at the Podium in Ortigas. As opposed to the dry cleaning that we have been used to, Reviva Luxury Garment Care uses a wet cleaning technology that was invented by Kreussler Textile Care of Germany.
“Perhaps with age and the fact that I have four kids, this one is close to my heart. When we’d done our research and we discovered that dry-cleaning is hazardous and cancer-causing, we were alarmed. We thought that if the clothes are dry-cleaned, the wearer can actually be affected by the chemicals,” Charmaine Ang, Reviva’s managing director, said.
In fact, studies point out that Perc-driven dry-cleaning poses health risks such as dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, loss of consciousness, limited memory loss, skin blistering and visual and coordination issues. Prolonged exposure to Perc increases the risk of cancer, while improper disposal also poses environmental risks.
“Wet cleaning has been around since the 90s in the US and Europe, but we will be the first to introduce it in the Philippines. We’ve been in the laundry and dry-cleaning industry for 16 years as we own Suds laundry which is a franchising and laundry chain. We decided to make a brand that’s specific for dry-cleaning but realized that dry cleaning using Perc was already banned in many countries,” said Ang, who added that many dry cleaners still use this dry cleaning agent in the Philippines.
According to Ang, this wet cleaning technology uses water, a cleaning agent called Lanadol and special equipment to do the process.
“We are using water, and the chemicals for the cleaning process are biodegradable. In fact, the chemical that we’re using is Blue Angel certified. This Blue Angel certification is the highest honor you can get in Europe, “she explained.
Ang said the partnership with Kreussler gave them access to this wet-cleaning technology,
“We’re partnering with them so we’re pretty confident that we are in the right hands because they are the inventors of wet-cleaning. Although there are few studies about wet-cleaning, it is the best for us since we do away with the solvent and use water. The difficulty is after the process as you need to be patient when cleaning and caring for the garments. We are good at that,” she said.
“They (Kreussler) were very helpful in setting up and training because the program is so precise. If you do the usual laundry process, your clothes will be ruined. We’re using a highly-programmable washing machine. There should be five requirements for wet cleaning process to be successful. These are the machine, the dryer, the form finisher, the spotting table and the chemicals that you’re going to use,” she explained.
Reviva can clean the most delicate and elaborate garments, which includes haute couture, bespoke suits and tuxedos, dresses and baby garments, evening wear, bridal and ball gowns, wool, cashmere and garments with linings, beadwork and sequins.
“Of course, the Germans were really proud that we have this Filipino touch that we are known for and we are really taking care of the items. In Europe, the labor there is the problem and everything will be machine-operated. But then there’s a part of the wet-cleaning process that we have to be very careful and check if the garment goes back to its proper form,” she added.
Some of the notable fashion designers that have been Reviva’s clients since its soft launch were Francis Libiran, Happy Andrada, Renee Salud, Hannah Kong, Ryan Uson-Ablaza, as well as RTW shops like Suit it Up.