WWWTP?: Dry Cleaners Redux

September 29th, 2011

Today’s WWWTP? submission comes from my good friend Charlie, who snapped this picture of a dry cleaners in his Boston neighborhood:


I love the capital “O”. And to be honest, there actually might be nothing wrong with this picture. If the store is using the standard dry-cleaning agent, tetrachloroethylene (“perc”), then they’re certainly using an organic solvent in my book. This might not mesh with what some other people classify as “organic”, but if ambiguous advertising is what it takes nowadays for dry cleaners to stay in business, then I’m all for it.

12 Responses to “WWWTP?: Dry Cleaners Redux”

  1. Benny Says:

    I hope that they are using perc and are just being sneaky

  2. DrFreddy Says:

    “Organic” certainly has a new meaning nowadays, especially in the US. I wonder what the “Organic” community thinks of organic synthesis? It must be such an intrinsic paradox to them!

    A minor correction: If they indeed use tetrachloroethylene, it is to the best of my knowledge neither “Organic” nor organic (does not contain a C-H bond). Chloroform is organic, but tetrachloromethane is not. Hairsplitting…

  3. qvxb Says:

    Even better – chemical-free Organic solvent.

  4. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    I like the way the O is capitalized, sort of like revering the word and putting it on a pedestal. Hail Organica.

  5. RC Mishra Says:

    Can some one guide me what does WWWTP stands for ?

  6. Hap Says:

    “What’s Wrong With Today’s Picture?”.

  7. Leigh Krietsch Boerner Says:

    I saw TONS of dry cleaners with similar signs in their windows when I was living in Manhattan this past winter. It always amused me to see crunchy-like-granola-type people flocking inside. Tee hee.

    Although the ‘NEW!’ in the above picture confuses me a bit. What where they using before?

  8. Paul Says:

    Leigh, a labmate passes this along via e-mail:

    I figured it out (from Wikipedia):

    The ancient Romans used ammonia (derived from urine) and fuller’s earth to launder their woolen togas. Fullonicae were very prominent industrial facilities, with at least one in every town of any notability, and frequently the largest employer in a district. These laundries obtained urine from farm animals, or from special pots situated at public latrines.

    There you go. 100%, certified organic (in the hippie sense).

  9. bad wolf Says:

    I thought Supercritical CO2 was the next big “organic” organic solvent for dry cleaning. Or not ready for prime time yet?

  10. Chemjobber Says:

    When we lived in San Diego (3 years ago), there was at least one place that was doing CO2 cleaning. I suspect it’s a lot pricier. Certainly, the equipment I saw was a good bit larger, it seemed, than typical dry cleaning equipment.

  11. See Arr Oh Says:

    Back at the 2007 NOS (Duke University), they handed out blue shirts that read “Organic Chemist” on the front. Whenever I wear mine, and walk into a Whole Foods or other comparable market, people always smile and think I’m somehow being ironic.

  12. Fish and Chips for Chemists | ChemBark Says:

    […] wonder if this restaurant is owned by the same people as the Boston dry cleaners boasting about their “organic” […]

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