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Contact information
For information about the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, contact:
Small Business Hotline
Toll free: 855-889-3021
DNRSmallBusiness@wisconsin.gov

Dry cleaners

The dry cleaning industry in the United States is continually changing. In the past few years, more and more states have considered enacting legislation to phase out the use of PERC or increase the compliance requirements to prevent environmental contamination. Illinois and California are the first states to have done so. The Wisconsin DNR is here not only to provide dry cleaning business owners compliance assistance, but also to provide valuable resources to increase your company’s bottom line, expand on your customer base, save time as well as money, and stay ahead of the legislative curve.

Compliance assistance

Dry cleaning compliance calendar

The Wisconsin DNR biannually puts together a compliance calendar to assist Wisconsin dry cleaners with compliance. It provides a guide to regulations as well as a way to keep track of documentation and ensure all your business’ records can be found in one place.

Information on perc requirements

The Dry Cleaner Environmental Response Fund (DERF) Program was established to help dry cleaners pay the cost of investigating and cleaning up contamination caused by the release of dry cleaning solvents. They put together a fact sheet on dry cleaning Facility Requirements to Minimize Spills (RR-636) [PDF].

The EPA requires that all dry cleaners must conduct monthly inspections for perchloroethylene (PCE) leaks using a halogenated hydrocarbon detector or PCE gas analyzer. Any brand can be utilized. See Halogenated Leak Detector Options [PDF] for more information.

For a short summary of requirements in Korean: Basic Air Pollution Monitoring for Small Dry Cleaners (Korean) [PDF].

Each year shops are required to file a report by March 1: Annual Perc Usage Report [PDF]

Recycling

Plastic bags used to cover dry cleaned items may be recycled. Learn more on Reducing, reusing and recycling plastic bags and wrap. Maybe you have space to provide a collection bin.

If not already doing so, consider recycling common office equipment that may be found in your shop. Learn about Business and workplace recycling.

General compliance assistance

In 1996, the U.S. EPA published a Plain English Guide for Perc Dry Cleaners [PDF] to help dry cleaners understand and follow complicated compliance regulations. In the same year they also released a Profile of the Dry Cleaning Industry [PDF]. Although dated, both provide valuable information on basic regulatory requirements for the industry.

For more resources to help your dry cleaning establishment comply with environmental regulations and improve your environmental footprint, please visit the following website:

Best management practices

Helpful tips to enhance the bottom line and save money

The DNR has put together a one page quick-guide resource for Dry Cleaning: Best Management Practices [PDF]. For more detailed and expanded information and tips, the University of Tennessee put together an entire handbook on Clearing the Air on Clean Air: Strategies for Perc Drycleaners [PDF].

If you’re looking to save money and resources in a particular area, check out the below guides and initiatives.

Consider utilizing or selling green resources

With the number of consumers demanding green products, services and industries increasing each year, businesses incorporating sustainability into their practices are finding an increased customer base and enhanced bottom line through the formulation of a competitive advantage. Providing reusable or biodegradable garment bags and reusing or recycling hangers are just a couple of the many things you can do to green your business.

Other resources

Solvent information

UCLA conducted a research study on the process of dry cleaners switching over from traditional PERC to professional wet cleaning, Sacramento Municipal Utility District Professional Wet Cleaning Demonstration Project [PDF]. The results were strongly in favor of the wet cleaning method. Additional resources on switching solvents can be found below.

Dry cleaning solvents compared

The Wisconsin DNR has put together a one page Solvent quick fact sheet [PDF] to provide a brief comparison of the main dry cleaning solvents available. More detailed state and city sponsored solvent comparisons can be found in the following reports put together by San Francisco and the state of Kansas, respectively.

Additionally, the State Coalition for Remediation of Dry Cleaners put together its own solvent comparison called Chemicals Used in Dry Cleaning Operations [PDF].

Good Housekeeping conducted independent testing on various dry cleaning solvent methods comparing the cleaning capabilities of each. Their results can be found at the Good Housekeeping [exit DNR] website.

Financial resources

For more information on loans, grants and other programs designed to help small businesses, see the financial resources pages.

Last revised: Thursday September 07 2017