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Dry cleaners and industrial laundries

The textile care industry, including dry cleaners and industrial laundries, is continually changing. In the past few years, more and more states have considered enacting legislation to phase out the use of perchloroethylene (PERC) solvent at dry cleaners or increase the compliance requirements to prevent environmental contamination. Industrial laundries servicing print or shop towels are regulated due to the solvents in the materials being laundered. The DNR is here not only to provide dry cleaning and laundry owners support through 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

Industrial laundry emissions

Materials laundered by industrial laundries can contain substantial amounts of VOCs from solvents when laundering print or shop towels, however uniforms and rugs or hospitality related materials are likely to have only incidental solvent content, if any. The DNR created a fact sheet for Industrial Laundry Facilities (AM-561) to describe how to estimate emissions and determine whether an air permit may be required.

Dry cleaning compliance calendar

The 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.

Training on waste management and air pollution

In February 2020, DNR staff conducted a webinar with Wisconsin Fabricare Institute (WFI) that went through key requirements that dry cleaners might be missing on their hazardous waste requirements as well as a few air pollution requirements. To view the webinar, go to the WFI home page and click on the link below the slideshow: Wisconsin Fabricare Institute (WFI).

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).

The EPA requires that all dry cleaners must conduct monthly inspections for perchloroethylene (PCE) leaks using a halogenated hydrocarbon detector or PCE gas analyzer.

For a short summary of requirements in Korean: Basic Air Pollution Monitoring for Small Dry Cleaners (Korean) (SB-200-A).

Each year shops are required to file a report by March 1: Annual Perc Usage Report (SB-200-D).

Regulatory summaries formerly included in the Compliance Calendar:


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

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

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 Alternatives

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program reviewed alternative cleaning technologies.

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at University of Massachusetts has evaluated numerous solvents and compared aspects, both cleaning ability and environmental impacts. They also have a report, Assessment of Alternatives to Perchloroethylene for the Dry Cleaning Industry, with detailed information on perc alternatives.

The Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program conducted a wet cleaning case study.

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 website.

Additional regulatory resources

The National Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (NSBEAP) has a page dedicated to dry cleaner assistance, including alternatives to perc.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) provides information on spot cleaning alternatives to perc on their Dry-Cleaning Sector Regulatory Update fact sheet. They have also conducted a Risk Evaluation for Perchloroethylene.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration - dry cleaning information.

WisCon is a free, onsite safety and health consultation program for small businesses offered through the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

Business support

Receive business consulting and education services from your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

The State Coalition for Remediation of Drycleaners (Wisconsin is a member) offers information about dry cleaning and site cleanup on its website.

Wisconsin Fabricare Institute (WFI) offers a wide array of environmental, health, safety and business information to its members and the consumer public. WFI is a statewide trade association representing dry cleaners and suppliers in Wisconsin. To find out more about WFI, call 414-488-1692 or visit Wisconsin Fabricare Institute/.

Financial resources

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

Additional resources