Wetcleaning: the growth continues

In this time of increasing environmental concerns the wetcleaning option continues to grow and impress.

A process that was in its infancy 30 years ago is now mainstream, with traditional drycleaners complementing their existing operation with a wetcleaning offering and new start ups seeing it as their main option. It’s no wonder when you look at the benefits: More environmentally friendly; easier on the energy and water bills; and a quicker, simpler process than the drycleaning alternative. Garment manufacturers are increasingly designing products suitable for wetcleaning and customer concerns about chemical solvents all add to the continuing growth of wetcleaning. Meanwhile, at the heart of the sector, machine manufacturers and detergent and chemical specialists are working hard on improving what is already a great option for many. Jean Anderson reports.

Jean Anderson reports

Aquastar machines from Dane Realstar are wetcleaning ready at no additional cost to the customer

Dane Realstar

Advances in wetcleaning technology have enabled drycleaners and launderers to offer an enhanced service to their customers, with Aquastar at the forefront as a provider of quality, durable, easy to use equipment, says Dane Realstar’s Sheila Higgs.

“Realstar and Aquastar have always been the innovative, industry leader in engineering new products to service the textile care industry – recognised worldwide for their emphasis on quality, ecology, low environmental impact and safety,” said Higgs. “Aquastar machines provide a full laundry service when not in use for wetcleaning.

All our washing machines are wetcleaning ready at no additional cost to the customer. Factory programmes are pre-installed and can be added to by chemical suppliers as required. Tumble dryers are wetcleaning specified to order.”

Wet and drycleaning processes complement each other to provide a complete garment cleaning package, said Higgs. Wetcleaning offers a safe, equally effective method of cleaning clothing that requires special care and attention. Drycleaners can have a multipurpose laundry capability without financial impact to their customers and improve health and safety conditions for employees, customers, and the community.

She continues: “Dane Realstar has a solution for every customer. It doesn’t matter how large or small your business is or what your requirements are: Aquastar can cater for them perfectly and provide you with a product for every need. “We offer much more than just equipment sales: we offer all-round comprehensive laundry solutions. Our Aquastar range of washing machines and tumble dryers, paired with finishing equipment consisting of state-of-the-art models designed for establishments of all kinds, from large hotel chains, drycleaners and laundries to small businesses. “Offering maximum efficiency and energy saving, our environmentally-friendly products are especially designed for businesses where the quality of the process, energy consumption and water saving are a priority.”

Whilst detergents are used in wetcleaning, which are mostly biodegradable, the process does not require any solvents. “Customers instantly notice the fresh smell and soft feel. Colours are brighter and retain their original look. Options include automatic product dosing and the ‘Waterfall Re-circulation System’ to enhance the wetcleaning process, by providing a gentle showering action on the garments.” Higgs adds: “Aquastar machines have all the latest design and operator interfaces including colour touchscreen displays.

The design of the machines is most efficient for large capacity drums within a small design space. All the machines have normal washing programmes for regular laundry items and duvets. “Aquastar tumble dryers can have moisture control for wetcleaning, to dry the garment to the required setting.” Dane Realstar has teamed up with Cole & Wilson and their Pro-Fit range of detergents, supplied by Lynx Dry Cleaning Supplies to offer the complete package of wetcleaning machines and supplies.

Said Higgs: “We have the right equipment for every process in the garment cleaning chain. “We have a demonstration facility at our premises and customers are welcome to visit us to see equipment in action either by appointment or on an open day event.”

Electrolux Professional

Electrolux Professional’s versatile lagoon® Advanced Care suite at the heart of a busy operation

While question marks remained over the concept of wetcleaning as recent as five or six years ago, ongoing shifts in attitude – particularly with regards to sustainability – have carved out a place for this technology as a mainstay of the modern laundry industry.

The use of perchloroethylene (perc) as a solvent for drycleaning processes, while still legal in the UK, has been outlawed in a number of European nations such as France and Denmark, and is being continually scrutinised for its impact on the environment.

Mick Christian, training and demonstration manager at Electrolux Professional UK and Ireland, says: “Though it’s true that the majority of modern drycleaning machines are able to contain solvent run-off for safe disposal, this still presents its own complications. Namely, the need for specialist licenses and permits, and fixed monthly charges for safe disposal, both of which will further eat into the bottom line for operators. “On the other hand, wetcleaning solutions use water as a solvent, meaning that waste can be simply poured away without extra time, effort or expense.

“Moreover, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of wetcleaning solutions, such as Electrolux Professional’s lagoon® Advanced Care system, are capable of handling both everyday laundry operations and wetcleaning from a singular unit. “Taking these factors into account, it is easy to see why wetcleaning is no longer seen as a specialism, and rather the norm, for many businesses.”

Multifaceted appliances such as the lagoon® suite of solutions present the perfect opportunity for operators to expand their revenue stream when investing in new appliances, with the ability to process everyday textiles, but also delicates when necessary. “Businesses can also ensure a faster return on investment thanks to shorter cycle times, going from dry-to-dry in as little as one hour, while also benefitting from a higher loading factor, less prespotting and easier finishing,” says Christian.

“With wetcleaning now faster, more environmentally friendly and more straightforward than its dry alternative, it is easy to see why more and more laundry professionals are opting for solutions like lagoon® Advanced Care when the time comes to invest in new equipment. “While it’s unlikely that drycleaning will ever be completely redundant, wetcleaning can get laundry as close to a one-stop-shop as is physically possible,” Christian concludes

Lanadol AVANT x-treme is ideal for extremely soiled parts like shirt collars and cuffs


Thirty two years ago, the German family company Kreussler Textile Care presented wetcleaning to the public. In 1991, nobody else would have dared to suggest dyed-in-the-wool drycleaners to let water near any of their precious items.

But, as Oscar Wilde said, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Kreussler should feel well and truly vindicated by now. Thomas Zeck, commercial director of Kreussler Textile Care, said: “While nowadays ‘disruptive technology’ is seen as something good, 32 years ago it had quite another connotation.

When Kreussler developed a solution that would enable drycleaners to use – gasp – water to get rid of even the most persistent stains in ‘dryclean only’ garments, lots of cleaners did not react positively to that idea, to put it mildly. “Many could not believe that it would be possible to avoid felting, colour loss, shape change and whatever other potentially catastrophic results when using water to ‘wetclean’ their sensitive charges. “But lo and behold, as some brave daredevils embracing the brand new technology proved to their sceptical colleagues, Kreussler had found a way to prove all the doomsters wrong: thanks to the liquid ‘coat of armour’ of the original Lanadol wetcleaning detergents, even the most sensitive fibres like wool or silk as well as leather were protected and cleaned quickly, efficiently and much more environmentally friendly than in classic perc.”

Zeck continues: “With the combination of special colloids forming a protective film around each fibre, tailor-made surfactants, a highly efficient enzyme system, and formulas working at a broad temperature range from cold up to 40°C, together with new machinery invented by Miele in close co-operation with Kreussler, the new technology revolutionised the market.” Besides the removal of stains and smells, clothes stay in shape, embellishments in place, colours look fresh and textures stay smooth, said Zeck. The number of me-toos in the wetcleaning market today alone proves the power of that invention that has captured a still steadily growing share of the market and definitely is here to stay.

“All the while, the original Lanadol product family is still the benchmark, making wetcleaning the ideal solution both for the beginner as for the pro,” said Zeck. “A simple system with only two processes and a small product portfolio in which all product are biodegradable and dermatologically tested ‘excellent’ minimises the need for special expertise, making life easier for the staff and avoiding potential damage due to unintentional misuse, while acknowledging the fact that not all fabrics can be treated in exactly the same way.”

All Kreussler products including the Lanadol range are distributed in the UK by Hertford-based Clean Supply. By offering the Kreussler portfolio, Miele wetcleaning machines, Kreussler dosing technology, and training service, Clean Supply enables any drycleaner to set up his own wetcleaning shop with just one partner and the original wetcleaning.

Fully programmable washing machine and wetclean detergents by MAG Laundry Equipment

Washing machines and tumble dryers from 8kg to 100kg+ by MAG Laundry Equipment


MAG Laundry Equipment’s expert and friendly team is ready to help businesses with everything wetcleaning.

Delicate items of laundry with special laundry requirements benefit from wetcleaning as a safer, more environmentally friendly alternative to drycleaning, so says Gavin Sanderson, technical sales manager. “MAG’s wetcleaning washing machines have intelligent cycles that can be modified to select the appropriate spin speed, temperature and duration.

“This fully programmable technology allows you to clean a wide variety of items without the use of harmful solvents and chemicals. Eco-friendly laundry detergents and dosing systems can save time, reduce costs and get excellent results on quick cycles.

“Following the wash cycle, garments can then be carefully dried using a MAG excellence tumble dryer. Important factors can be controlled to a high degree of accuracy such as the temperature, humidity and drum rotation speed. This is essential for safely processing wedding dresses, leather, suede and other sensitive items of laundry.”

Manufactured since 1922, MAG’s products come equipped with key features for virtually any application. Modern technology allows you to save time, money, water, electricity and gas which is better for your profits and better for the environment.

Sanderson adds: “As the final step, MAG Laundry Equipment has a range of ironing machines, presses and spotting tables designed to be user-friendly and provide a high quality finish.” All of their products are energy efficient and often save clients up to 60 per cent off their energy bill. “MAG offers customers the full package from free advice, information packs and brochures to delivery, installation and training. Our network of engineers, all across the UK, are on hand to support your business,” said Sanderson


Renzacci UK is a leading supplier of wetcleaning machinery, and champions wetcleaning methods as a greener alternative to drycleaning, as it boosts outstanding cleaning results, whilst being environmentally friendly and cost effective for businesses.

As an industry leader, Renzacci UK won the Special Recognition Award for 2022 from Electrolux Professional UK and Ireland for best growth of the lagoon® Advanced Care line and remains at the forefront of bringing innovative wetcleaning machines to the industry.

Renzacci UK regularly welcomes industry professionals to their state-of-the-art wetcleaning training facility near Heathrow, to demonstrate the unique technology and cleaning potential of wetcleaning systems. Professionals can test their own garments and leave impressed with the results and cost saving potential from switching to wetcleaning.

Renzacci UK’s managing director, Jason Alexander said: “Renzacci UK offers the latest innovations in wetcleaning machines, with Electrolux’s Professional lagoon® 6000 line. “The lagoon® Advanced Care system has proven outstanding results and is the ultimate solution for cleaning delicate garments, leathers and shoes, that have traditionally been dryclean only.” It features Automatic Savings which weighs the items being cleaned and adjusts the water and detergent intake to the actual load weight, saving water, energy and money. Its fast process time allows for a stress-free operation that can generate new revenue streams for an existing business and offer many advantages for new start-ups.

Alexander adds: “A key benefit of wetcleaning, aside from the fact that it is able to process the traditional dryclean only items, is that it is also an exceptional laundry processing system. “Additionally, it is environmentally friendly, no hazardous chemicals are used, so it simultaneously reduces air and water pollution. Wetcleaning is also beneficial for customer health, as it eliminates the risk of skin contact with solvent residues. “One of the biggest advantages of wetcleaning is that it is the most effective way to remove water-based.

Machines can be monitored and modified with WASHCO’s cloud-based system

WASHCO installed a Miele machine with standard programmes for both laundry and wetcleaning for the Oxford Laundry Company

The WASHCONNECT range of washing machines and dryers exclusively from WASHCO are recommended for professional wetcleaning operations


“At WASHCO, we have noticed a consistent rise in the number of customers who are transitioning to wetcleaning,” says Craig Banham, WASHCO’s chemical manager.

“We see this trend in both drycleaning shops and on premise laundries. “Additionally, some customers make use of both a wetcleaning machine and a drycleaning machine, as they believe that wetcleaning produces a superior finish for garments.”

WASHCO offer a range of machines to assist with the processing of these delicate items, together with pre-installed ready made programmes that are set up for auto dosing. “The chemicals team and technical team at WASHCO have worked together to design machine-specific programmes for the two types of dosing systems they offer.

As the correct programmes are now installed on the machines prior to installation, there is then no waiting for an engineer to attend, and the machine is ready to use as soon as the installation is complete,” said Banham. The WASHCONNECT range of washing machines and dryers exclusively from WASHCO are recommended for professional wetcleaning operations. Says Banham: “The machines can be programmed to offer a wide range of highly customisable wetcleaning processes, which can be monitored and modified remotely with their cloud-based system. “The dryers utilise dynamic processes to adjust the drying time and modulate heat saving.

The sensors in the drum calculate when the laundry is sufficiently dry with around 15-20 per cent moisture retention. This ensures a better finish, prevents fabric damage, and significantly reduces energy usage.” In harmony with the machine processes, WASHCO offer three premium chemicals that have been developed specifically for wetcleaning applications. “These high-quality products provide a more concentrated wash. The right balance of chemicals and water, enable a lower level of water usage, creating the potential for saving.

For delicate fabrics, we provide a surfactant-based detergent. It provides gentle cleaning to a variety of delicate fabrics, with soil removal capabilities at low temperatures. It can be used at all water hardness levels and is suitable for auto-dosing. “Secondly, we offer a destainer to remove stains at low temperatures while maintaining the garments’ quality. It is suitable for all textile types and mixtures including delicates. “Finally, we provide a liquid finishing agent, which is used to restore the shape and touch of delicate fibres.

The range has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible with very clear icons and labelling. This makes it easier for the user to select the correct process, minimising the risk of incorrect chemical selection causing expensive mistakes.” WASHCO has recently worked with the Oxford Laundry Company to expand their wetcleaning facility. The laundry company needed the right machines and processes in place to handle a large contract with an airline company. WASHCO installed a Miele Benchmark Series 9 machine with standard programmes for both laundry and wetcleaning. This machine features auto dosing, which proportionally doses detergent based on the weight of the load, making the machine versatile and able to handle both general laundry and wetcleaning. After receiving training from WASHCO on the wetcleaning process, the customer now runs the machine smoothly and is looking to expand their services further.


The growth of wetcleaning continues to impress as drycleaners complement their existing operation, while many start-ups consider it is the only option.

“There is no doubt that environmental concerns about chemical solvents and consumer choices driven by campaigns will continue to have a big say in this,” says AGS director Mary Simons.

“Wetcleaning is revolutionary and is a complete change from our old drycleaning system. Operators do not like change often thinking of the old adage ‘if it’s not broke why fix it’. That is just the thought of the short-term planner, says Simons.

“Drycleaners firstly need to address the health of not only themselves but their staff as this could be affected with exposure to some drycleaning chemicals.

“Secondly, they need to work out how much it cost for them to dryclean as opposed to wetclean. Thirdly, it’s all green and this should be one of the key selling points.” Simons says: “Investing in wetcleaning equipment needs careful consideration to decide what best suits your outlet’s needs. The Electrolux lagoon® system ticks all the boxes with a washer that will not only wetclean but can be used as a normal washer too.”

How many drycleaners have worked out how much it costs to process each article?

“Electrolux’s wetcleaning system is smart and green, provides a rapid return on investment, provides the operator with not only a unique experience but gives perfect and fast results,” says Simons.

The assortment and size of equipment produced by Electrolux can process from 70 up to 400 articles per day. “At AGS we assist all of our customers from the beginning until the end of their project ensuring that all their needs are met. Once they are up and running, we are always on hand to offer support and advice as and when necessary. “To assist our wetcleaning customers, we offer our own wetcleaning detergents which are extremely reasonably priced and the provide excellent cleaning results.”


By introducing wetcleaning, launderers can offer an enhanced service for both traditional and delicate fabrics, one that is kinder to the environment but also offers a smart use of machinery and chemicals.

As we come up to winter and the festive season, it’s an ideal time for launderers to use wetcleaning to its full advantage as it offers the perfect solution for cleaning and refreshing eveningwear, suede and leather, winter coats and much more.

Cole & Wilson, part of the international Christeyns detergents and chemicals group, are specialists in the development and supply of products for the cleaning of all of today’s complex range of textiles, particularly in providing solutions for smaller drycleaning and laundry installations.

This year has been busy with the team setting up wetcleaning systems for innumerable clients across the UK and Ireland, having seen a noticeable increase in the number of retailers incorporating this service into their business.

What are the main benefits for retail outlets?

Garments: Many stains can be easily removed, and wetcleaning can be used on delicate fabrics such as silk, leather, suede, beaded and luxury items, which might otherwise be turned away. With the right chemicals, the process will enhance the quality of the garments and increase lifespan. Adding wetcleaning as a service allows retailers to choose the process best suited to the garment and allows them versatility.

Caring for the environment: Wetcleaning is kinder as there are no strong chemicals being issued into the environment in the run-off water and no air pollution from strong smelling fluids. Using this type of cleaning process helps retailers meet their ecological goals.

Financial: When set up properly, there are savings in both time and utilities. Wetcleaning uses less cleaning chemicals and saves on drying time, uses less water and washes at lower temperatures thus saving energy. The same machine can be used for wetcleaning as general laundry.

For the customer, wetcleaning can reduce the cleaning and drying turnaround time meaning garments can be returned quicker. Cole & Wilson work on a one-hour window from dry to dry.

The wetcleaning detergents leave a fresh, pleasant smell and are less harsh on the fabric of the garments so helping them stay in good condition longer. Like any cleaning service, it is only successful if those delivering the service are confident in using it. Cole & Wilson offer programme set up on a client-by-client basis, onsite training and after sales technical support. And as with all practices, it’s easy to become complacent and get into bad habits so refreshing best practice is always a good idea. As we gear up for the winter season, it’s an ideal time to make sure staff are able to promote the benefits of wetcleaning and support customers in getting their wardrobe winter ready

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