Dry cleaning is a process that wash clothes without water. It may sound implausible, but it is absolutely possible. The cleaning fluid is often called just "liquid" and all garments are immersed and cleaned in some kind of a liquid solvent -- the fact that there is no water is why the process is called "dry."
Do you know what dry cleaning really is and how it works? In spite of the name, it is not completely dry. In the early days, garment scourers invented several fluids that could be rather successful as cleaning solvents, including camphene, benzene, kerosene, and even gasoline. These fluids are very flammable, so dry cleaning was a hazardous business until safer solvents were found. The most famous one is probably the percholoroethylene introduced in 1930 and used even today in many dry cleaning shops in UK.
Dry cleaning is now very popular and often considered as the best way to wash the more expensive or fragile garments. When your clothes really should be cleaned this way?
First – you should know that most manufacturers are required to list only one way of cleaning on the label. If the item's label says DRY-CLEAN ONLY, just do it. Otherwise, you can ruin the clothing. But if the label says only DRY-CLEAN, that means it is only the recommended method. Unless the recommendation suggests otherwise, it is better to bring silk, velvet, wool, and taffeta garments to dry cleaner. But in most cases linen, acrylic, cotton, linen and polyester can be safely washed at home. Just check it for color fastness before machine washing.
Also remember that dry cleaning is not the answer to all the soil and stain problems. Sometimes stains become permanently embedded in the fiber, or the decorative trim is not compatible with the used solvent. Also very dirty clothes, for example contaminated with mud, can not be cleaned this way and they need the pre-cleaning first.