Dr Manfred Seiter, technical director of Kreussler Textile Care, says that choosing the right solvent means considering many different factors such as product performance, health and environmental impact, cost, and ease of use, to name but a few. But for him, “the halogen-free, organic, and biodegradable solvent SOLVONK4 by Kreussler is the perfect choice for cleaners, customers, and the environment.”
Seiter explains that the cleaning performance of solvents is measured by the Kauri-butanol value, the name coming from the New Zealand kauri tree. He says that “the higher the Kb-value, the higher the solvent’s stain-removing abilities – but also its aggressiveness, as a high Kb-value means that a solvent has a high ability to dissolve materials, not only stains, but other substances like sequin glue.” He says that this is something often experienced when using perchloroethylene or perc, as its Kb-value of 90 gives it both very good cleaning performance regarding both water soluble and fat stains, but at the same time “perc gives the whole fabric a hard time, potentially resulting in colour loss, removal of sequins, damage to beads, buttons or trims etc.” Add to that his concern about its classification as a dangerous substance, hefty fees for the disposal of distillation residue as hazardous waste, and many countries forbidding its use in drycleaning, and it is not surprising that alternative solvents are trending.
And then there’s Cyclosiloxane D5 which Seiter says has a Kb-value of 13, “which is very gentle to the fabric – but also to stains, requiring a lot of pre-brushing for dirty textiles… pure hydrocarbon solvents have a low Kb-value of about 25.”
Another option are modified hydrocarbon solvents that he says have “good cleaning performance due to Kb-values of 73–75. Water soluble stains are removed easily. But this also means that these components are removed with the contact-water, leading to solvent loss and changing solvent composition, making cleaning results sometimes unpredictable.”
Kreussler’s solution is a “super-pure, halogen-free organic solvent” – SOLVONK4 with a Kb-value of 75. It, reckons Seiter, has “an excellent cleaning performance against both fats and oils as well as water soluble and salt-based stains.” It is neither dangerous nor hazardous and is biodegradable and dermatologically tested. He adds that “its pureness of more than 99 per cent guarantees long-term stability.” The key point for Seiter is that on testing, drycleaners have been “very impressed not just by its cleaning power, but also by the pleasant, smooth feel of the cleaned textiles; colours were judged to be brighter in comparison, too.”
He suggests that pre-spotting is minimal when using SOLVONK4, and textiles are protected against greying. Seiter says that “it requires short cycle times and so saves energy costs, disposal of distillation residues is much cheaper than for the hazardous perc, and minimal solvent loss of under one per cent saves on repurchasing costs.”
Kreussler also has a pre-brushing agent PRENETTK4, drycleaning detergent CLIPK4, and proofing spray VINOYK4. And to complement the system, there is a disinfecting solvent additive Cinta Sept that deals with viruses, bacteria and yeasts. Clean Supply is Kreussler’s exclusive distributor in the UK.