This post is sponsored by BLANC. Whilst we have been long time eco-friends they invited me to honestly review my experience of cleaning with them, my opinions are completely my own and 100% genuine.
About two months into my blogging adventure I stumbled into the BLANC store in Notting Hill. It was quite rare for me to be there in the daytime, (I’m normally only in the area if there’s something on at The Gate Theatre) but I was hanging out with an American friend and hey, it’s a pretty area. It was during our random wanderings that I spotted the eco-friendly dry cleaning sign that piqued my interest and prompted me to pop in, having no real idea that dry cleaning wasn’t eco-friendly. I got chatting to the employees inside and later Ludovic and Mathilde, BLANC founders and parents to quite possibly the cutest children in Britain. I wrote an article sharing their story as a totally unique green business in the UK, I ended up discovering Bio-D through their larger lifestyle store, which led to my less than savoury discoveries about Ecover. I overhauled my cleaning and lifestyle regime; they were my gateway into understanding sustainability in the home in a much more in depth way.
Despite all this, I’d only ever had something dry cleaned once in my life, a secondhand silk DKNY shirt that I got for £4 at the British Heart Foundation. But when I added a pair of MATTER trousers to my wardrobe earlier this year, I finally had the chance to try out BLANC’s services for myself in comparison to my previous dry cleaning experience. But first, we gotta bust a big myth.
Dry cleaning is not dry.
That’s just a gimmicky name. The process generally involves not using water on clothes, instead soaking them in solvent. That solvent is petroleum-based chemical called Perchlorethylene, or “Perc” which is then removed with high heat. It’s highly toxic, a well known carcinogen and a pollutant of air, soil and water. It also smells awful. Dry cleaning still uses a lot of water to cool down the machines which get extremely hot whilst heating Perc, making it a particularly inefficient use of energy, and water based treatments still have to be used to remove some stains anyway. So, yeah, not dry.
The thing is, I don’t think anyone gets their clothes dry cleaned because they’re trying to avoid water. They do it because it’s on the care label, and because they want the best results to keep their clothes high quality. They make the assumption that dry cleaning is the way to achieve this, that wet cleaning isn’t the best way to care for your clothes, but that’s actually not true. The ‘dry clean only’ label isn’t actually saying your clothes need to specifically avoid water. The label is there to tell you that your garment needs special professional care that you can’t achieve at home, but dry cleaning doesn’t have to be the only option.
Don’t feel bad about this, it’s something a lot of people don’t know.
Instead let’s talk about cleaning clothes, the right way.
BLANC is the type of eco dry cleaning service that actually utilises a water based cleaning service. No Perc is involved, just non-toxic, biodegradable detergents and pure water. Clothes are taken through specific programmes in specialised EU-certified machines, also using significantly less energy than traditional dry cleaning machines. The machines are designed to balance the three forces of mechanical action, temperature and heat on fabrics, as well as cycle duration. Not only do they work better than dry cleaning, but they’re also better than hand washing due to both their automatic measuring of these forces, and the expert employees who select the right programme on the basis of their experience and expert assessment of each individual garment and fabric.
But beyond that, it’s actually just a much nicer experience to clean with BLANC. In my dry cleaning experience the store was small and a little dingy, the staff didn’t have much time for me and the place reeked (I now know this was Perc. Ludovic and Mathilde have met people who worked in conventional dry cleaning for so long that they lost their sense of smell). At the end of it all, my shirt was also handed to me with a ton of plastic wrapped around it – I was totally naive to the fact that dry cleaning involved excessive plastic use. In contrast, each BLANC store (they’ve literally just opened their third in Chelsea) is clean, bright and airy, a minimalist delight in fact. The staff are friendly and take the time to actually talk to you about what you’re cleaning, the store does not smell of solvent, and they’re completely plastic free and paperless. Around each store you can find an array of specialist cleaning products (I literally discovered Bio-D when I was perusing) for your home cleaning needs. Cleaning denim, sportswear or more delicate fabrics? They have something for that. Want to keep away moths, grab a zero waste soap refill or find a nice vegan candle? They also have something for that. It’s a whole world of options.
At the end of the day, the fact that BLANC clean wet is not the only reason their process is better. Though it is the greener option, it’s the overall experience that both helps them stand out and bring in clients that aren’t just there for the ethical credentials. Their individual attention, natural products, and precise process also help to provide a service that’s just, well, better.
The journey of a piece of clothing at BLANC:
- The customer comes in store to drop off their piece of clothing, or if they prefer BLANC can come to them with their free delivery and collection services.
- Customers have an account in BLANC’s computer system. Loyal customers will often already have their cleaning needs specified on their account meaning they can drop and go, or they can stay and explain if needed.
- Staff go through every item the customer dropped off individually and check for stains and tailoring needs (eg. repairs). All of this information is logged in the system and the customer then gets an email detailing everything: each item’s brand, where stains are located and any tailoring needs. This means you know exactly what you’ve dropped off and how it’s being treated.
- The garment goes for ‘pre-spotting’; each item is again individually examined and fabric care experts determine how best to remove stains. Appropriate products are then applied by hand to each stain individually.
- The garment is then cleaned in the machines with water and dried.
- Once dry each item is hand checked again to ensure the cleaning was good, if their fabric care experts aren’t satisfied it is cleaned again.
- Each item is then pressed and checked again one last time.
- Each item is then packaged in biodegradable packaging and the customer gets an email that their clothes are ready, they’ll either come in to collect them or the clothes are delivered.
On top of all that, cleaning isn’t even expensive. Although I was generously given store credit to try the service, my trousers would’ve only cost £7 to clean. The change in price is minimal compared to the change in service, and in my opinion it is totally worth it.
So what should you do about dry cleaning where you are?
If you do live in London, I would recommend redirecting your dry cleaning needs to BLANC. They even run a free pick up and delivery service (so long as you have over £25 worth of cleaning – else a small £5 fee applies)!
And guess what Londoners, I’ve also teamed up with BLANC to give away £50 of store credit to one lucky winner! With that much credit, you can enjoy their dreamy luxury service all through winter, what a way to make the clean up from Christmas parties a stress free zone this season.
ENTER ONLINE HERE!
If you don’t live in London, take a look at the BLANC online store for your home cleaning needs. Investing your money into ethical business helps them grow, and maybe they can come to your city soon, their long term goal is to spread across the country!
If you live nowhere with an eco-friendly dry cleaning option, invest in some good ethical cleaning products and go for hand washing. It is so much better for you, your clothes and the environment.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.