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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
DRY CLEANING PROCESS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1996/030582
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A home dry cleaning process is provided. Thus, a carrier sheet releasably impregnated with solvents such as butoxy propoxy propanol, 1,2-octanediol as a wetting agent, water and an emulsifier is placed in a plastic bag with soiled garments and tumbled in a hot-air clothes dryer. The garments are cleaned and refreshed.

Inventors:
SIKLOSI MICHAEL PETER
ROETKER TIMOTHY CLAIR
Application Number:
PCT/US1996/002901
Publication Date:
October 03, 1996
Filing Date:
March 04, 1996
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PROCTER & GAMBLE (US)
International Classes:
D06L1/20; C11D3/20; C11D7/50; C11D7/60; D06F43/00; D06L1/00; D06L1/02; D06L1/04; (IPC1-7): D06L1/00; C11D3/20; D06L1/02; D06L1/04
Foreign References:
US5196146A1993-03-23
US5055215A1991-10-08
DE1925047A11970-11-19
EP0328174A21989-08-16
EP0429172A11991-05-29
US5238587A1993-08-24
GB1598911A1981-09-23
US4692277A1987-09-08
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS
1. A process for cleamng and refreshing fabπcs by contacung said fabπcs with an effecuve amount of a cleamng composiuon. characteπzed in that it compπses (a) water, (b) an ethenfied propanol solvent. (c) 1,2octanediol, (d) an emulsifier; (e) opuonally. a detersive surfactant, (f) opuonally. a perfume, and (g) opuonally. a nomomc surfactant .
2. A process according to Claim 1 which is conducted by placing said fabncs together with said cleamng composiuon in a container, closing said container and agitaung said container.
3. A process according to Claim 2 wherein the container is a flexible bag.
4. A process according to Claim 2 wherein the container is agitated by means of a hot air clothes dryer or a washing machine having a honzontallv mounted rotatable drum.
5. A process according to Claim 1 wherein said cleamng composiuon is releasably contained by or releasably affixed to an integral earner.
6. A process according to Claim 5 wherein the earner is a lintresistant pad or sheet.
7. A process according to Claim 5 wherein said earner is allowed to move freely with the fabncs being cleaned.
8. A process according to Claim 5 wherein the earner is affixed to an inner wall of the container.
9. A process according to Claim 1. compnsmg the steps of (a) placing said fabncs to be cleaned and said cleamng composiuon within a container compπsing a flexible plastic bag, (b) closing and sealing said bag. (c) placing said bag in a rotaung apparatus.
10. (d) rotaung said bag for a peπod of at least.
11. minutes, and (e) removing said fabrics from the bag.
12. 10 A process according to Claim 9 wherein the rotating apparatus is a hot air clothes dryer, and wherein the process is conducted at an air temperature within said dryer of at least 50°C.
13. A process according to Claim 10 wherein said cleaning composition is releasably affixed to an integral carrier.
14. A process according to Claim 1 wherein the etherified propanol solvent is a member selected from the group consisting of the monomethyl, monoethyl, monopropyl, and monobutylethers of propoxypropanol. and mixtures thereof.
15. A process according to Claim 1 wherein the solvent is butoxy propoxy propanol.
16. A process according to Claim 1 wherein the nonionic surfactant is an ethoxylated alcohol.
Description:
DRY CLEANING PROCESS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to dry cleaning processes and compositions which are especially adapted for use in the home.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending application Sena No 08/414, 156, filed March 30, 1995

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION By classical definition, the term "dry cleaning" has been used to describe processes for cleaning textiles using nonaqueous solvents Dry cleaning is an old art with solvent cleaning first being recorded in the United Kingdom in the 1860's Typically, dry cleaning processes are used with garments such as woolens which are subject to shπnkage in aqueous laundering baths, or which are judged to be too valuable or too delicate to subject to aqueous laundering processes Various hydrocarbon and halocarbon solvents have traditionally been used in immersion dry cleaning processes, and the need to handle and reclaim such solvents has mainly restricted the pracuce of conventional dry cleaning to commercial establishments While solvent-based dry cleaning processes are quite effective for removing oily soils and stains, they are not optimal for removing paruculates such as clay soils, and may require special treatment conditions to remove proteinaceous stains Ideally, paruculates and proteinaceous stains are removed from fabπcs using detersive ingredients and operating condiuons which are more akin to aqueous laundering processes than to conventional dry cleaning In addition to the cleaning function, dry cleaning also provides important "refreshment" benefits For example, dry cleaning removes undesirable odors and extraneous matter such as hair and lint from garments, which are then generally folded or pressed to remove wrinkles and restore their ongmal shape. Of course, such refreshment benefits are also afforded by aqueous laundenng processes. As can be seen from the foregoing, and aside from the effects on certain fabπcs such as woolens, there are no special, inherent advantages for solvent-based immersion dry cleaning over aqueous cleaning processes with respect to fabπc cleaning or refreshment Moreover, on a per- gaπnent basis, commercial dry cleaning is much more expensive than aqueous cleaning processes

While it would be of considerable benefit to consumers to provide dr cleaning composiuons and processes which can be used in the home, the typical solvent systems used in commercial dry cleaning render this impractical Indeed, vaπous m-home dry cleaning s y stems have been suggested, but have not been widely accepted

It has now been determined that fabncs can be cleaned and refreshed by a process which employs a cleamng composiuon compπsing unique combinations of ingredients such as butoxy propoxy propanol and 1.2-octanedιol as the pπmary cleamng agents Importantly, the present process can be earned out in a container device which does not require total immersion of the fabncs in the dry cleamng agent Accordingly, the process herein can be conducted in the home

BACKGROUND ART

Dry cleamng processes are disclosed in EP 429.172 Al. published 2905 91. Leigh, et al , and in U S 5.238.587. issued 8/24/93. Smith, et al Other references relaϋng to dry cleamng compositions and processes, as well as wπnkle treatments for fabπcs. include GB 1.598.911. and U S Patents 4.126.563. 3.949.137. 3.593,544. 3.647.354. 3.432.253 and 1.747,324, and German applications 2,021.561 and 2.460.239, 0.208.989 and 4.007.362 Cleaning/pre-spotting composiuons and methods are also disclosed, for example, m U S Patents 5.102.573, 5,041.230,

4.909.962. 4.115.061. 4.886.615. 4.139.475. 4.849.257. 5.112.358. 4.659,496 4.806.254.

5.213.624. 4.130.392. and 4.395,261 Sheet substrates for use in a laundry dryer are disclosed in Canadian 1.005.204 U S 3.956,556 and 4.007.300 relate to perforated sheets for fabπc conditioning in a clothes dryer U S 4.692.277 discloses the use of 1.2-octanedιol in liquid cleaners

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention encompasses a process for cleamng and refreshing fabπcs. compnsing contacting said fabπcs with an effective amount of a cleamng composition, compπsing (a) water:

(b) an ethenfied propanol solvent, especially "BPP" solvent, as disclosed hereinafter,

(c) 1.2-octanedιol:

(d) an emulsifier. especially a polyacrylate emulsifier as disclosed hereinafter.

(e) optionally, a detersive surfactant, and (f) optionally, but preferably, a perfume

The process herein is preferably conducted by placing said fabncs together with said cleaning composiuon in a container, such as a flexible bag. closing said container and agitating said container In a convenient mode, the process is conducted by agitating the container in a tumbling apparatus, such as a hot air clothes dryer or a washing machine having a honzontally mounted rotatable drum Heat is preferably employed dunng the agitation

In a highly preferred mode, the process is conducted using the aforesaid cleamng composiuon. which is releasably contained and earned by or releasabh affixed to an integral earner such as a lint-resistant pad or sheet In one mode, the earner is allowed to freely move and co- πungle with the fabπcs being cleaned. In another mode, the earner is affixed to an inner wall of the container

A preferred and convenient process herein compπses the steps of

(a) placing said fabπcs to be cleaned and said cleamng composiuon as noted above

within a container comprising a flexible plastic bag;

(b) closing and sealing said bag;

(c) placing said bag in a rotating apparatus: especially a hot air clothes dryer, and wherein the process is conducted at an air temperature within said dryer of at least about 50°C (as noted, the process is preferably conducted using said cleaning composition releasably affixed to an integral carrier);

(d) rotating said bag for a period of at least about 10 minutes: and

(e) removing said fabrics from the bag.

All percentages, ratios and proportions herein are by weight, unless otherwise specified. All documents cited are. in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The ingredients of the dry cleaning compositions and their use in the process of the present invention are described seriatim hereinafter.

Cleaning Compositions - The chemical compositions which are used to provide the cleaning function in the present dry cleaning process comprise ingredients which are safe and effective for their intended use. Since the process herein does not involve an aqueous nnse step, the cleaning compositions employ ingredients which do not leave undesirable residues on fabrics when employed in the manner disclosed herein. Moreover, since the process may be carried out in a hot air clothes dryer, the compositions contain only ingredients whose flash points render them safe for such use. The cleaning compositions preferably do contain some water, since water not only aids in the cleaning function, but also can help remove wrinkles and restore fabric drape and appearance. especially in hot air dryers. While conventional laundry detergents are typically formulated to provide good cleamng on cotton and cotton polyester blend fabrics, the cleaning composiuons herein must be formulated to safely and effectively clean and refresh fabrics such as wool. silk, rayon, rayon acetate, and the like.

In addition, the cleaning compositions herein comprise ingredients which are specially selected and formulated to minimize dye removal from the fabrics being cleaned. In this regard, it is recognized that the solvents typically used in immersion dry cleaning processes can remove some portion of certain types of dyes from certain types of fabrics. However, such removal is tolerable in immersion processes since the dye is removed relatively uniformly across the surface of the fabric. In contrast it has now been determined that high concentrations of certain types of cleamng ingredients at specific sites on fabric surfaces can result in unacceptable localized dye removal. The preferred cleaning composiuons herein are formulated to minimize or avoid this problem.

The dye removal attributes of the present cleaning compositions can be compared with aπ- disclosed cleaners using photographic or photometnc measurements, or by means of a simple, but effecuve. visual grading test. Numerical score units can be assigned to assist in visual grading and to allow for stausucal treatment of the data, if desired Thus, in one such test, a colored garment

(typically, silk, which tends to be more suscepuble to dye loss than most woolen or nylon substrates) is treated by padding-on cleaner using an absorbent white paper hand towel Hand pressure is applied, and the amount of dye which is transferred onto the white towel is assessed usually Numeπcal umts ranging from (1) "I think I see a little dye on the towel". (2) "I know I see some dye on the towel", (3) I see a lot of dye on the towel", through (4) "I know I see quite a lot of dye on the towel" are assigned by panelists

Having due regard to the foregoing considerauons. the following illustrates the ingredients used in the cleamng composiuons herein, but is not intended to be limiung thereof

(a) Water -The composiuons will compπse at least about 60%, typically from about 80% to about 95%. by weight of water Stated otherwise, the objecuve is to provide at least about 6 g of water per kg of fabncs being cleaned

(b) Solvent - The composiuons will compπse at least about 4%. typically from about 5% to about 25%. by weight of solvent The objecuve is to provide at least about 0 4 g, preferably from about 0 5 g to about 2 5 g, of solvent per kg of fabπcs being cleaned

(c) 1.2-octanedιol (OD) -The composiuon herein will compnse at least about 0 1%, preferably from about 0 5% to about 10%, by weight, of the OD Stated otherwise, the objecuve is to provide from about 0 01 g to about 3 g of OD per kg of fabπcs being cleaned (d) Emulsifier - The composiuons will compπse sufficient emulsifier to provide a stable, homogeneous composiuon compnsing components (a), (b) and (c) For the preferred emulsifiers disclosed hereinafter, levels as low as 005%. preferably 007% to about 0 20%, by weight are quite sausfactory

(d) OpUonals - The composiuons herein may compnse vaπous opuonal ingredients. including perfumes. convenUonal surfactants, earners and the like If used, such opuonal ingredients will typically compπse from about 0 1% to about 10%. by weight of the composiuons. having due regard for residues on the cleaned fabπcs The preferred solvent herein is butoxy propoxy propanol (BPP) which is available in commercial quanuues as a mixture of isomers in about equal amounts The isomers. and mixtures thereof, are all useful herein The isomer structures are as follows

n—C4H9—0—CH2CH2CH2—0—CH 2 CH 2 CH 2 —OH

CH 3 n—C4H9—O—CH 2 —C—0—CH 2 CH 2 CH 2 —OH

H

CH 3 n—C4H9—0—CH 2 CH 2 CH2—O—CH 2 —C—0H

I H

BPP is outstanding for cleaning, and is so effecuve that it allows the amount of the relatively expensive 1.2-octanediol to be minimized. Moreover, it allows for the formulation of effective cleaning compositions herein without the use of conventional surfactants. Importantly, the odor of BPP is of a degree and character that it can be relatively easily masked by conventional perfume ingredients. While BPP is not completely miscible with water and. hence, could negatively impact processing of the cleaning compositions herein, that potential problem has been successfully overcome by means of the PEMULEN-type polyacrylate emulsifiers, as disclosed hereinafter.

It has now been determined that 1.2-octanediol ("OD") affords special advantages in the formulation of the cleaning compositions herein. From the standpoint of aesthetics, OD is a relatively innocuous and low odor material. Moreover, OD appears to volatilize from fabric surfaces without leaving visible residues. This is especially important in a dry cleaning process of the present type which is conducted without a rinse step. From the performance standpoint OD appears to function both as a solvent for greasy/oily stains and as what might be termed a "pseudo-surfactant" for paniculate soils and water-soluble stains. Whatever the physical-chemical reason, OD has now been found to be a superior wetting agent with respect to both cleaning and ease-of-use in the present context of home-use cleaning compositions and processes.

The BPP solvent used herein is preferably a mixture of the aforesaid isomers. In a prefeπed mode, the cleaning compositions comprise a mixture of the 1.2-octanediol and BPP, at a weight ratio ofOD.BPP in the range of from about 1:250 to about 2: 1, preferably from about 1:200 to about 1 :5.

The highly preferred emulsifier herein is commercially available under the trademark

PEMULEN. The B. F. Goodrich Company, and is described in U.S. Patents 4.758.641 and

5.004,557. incorporated herein by reference. PEMULEN polymeric emulsifiers are high molecular weight polyacrylic acid polymers. The structure of PEMULEN includes a small portion that is oil- loving (lipophilic) and a large water-loving (hydrophilic) poruon. The structure allows PEMULEN to function as a primary oil-in-water emulsifier. The lipophilic portion adsorbs at the oil-water interface, and the hydrophilic poruon swells in the water forming 9 network around the oil droplets to provide emulsion stability. An important ad antage for the use of such polyacrylate emulsifiers herein is that cleaning compositions can be prepared which contain solvents or levels of solvents that are otherwise not soluble or readily miscible with water. A further advantage is that effecuve

emulsification can be accomplished using PEMULEN-type emulsifier at extremely low usage levels (0.05-0.2%). thereby minimizing the level of any residue left on fabrics following product usage. For comparison, typically about 3-7% of conventional anionic or nonionic surfactants are required to stabilize oil-in-water emulsions, which increases the likelihood that a residue will be left on the fabncs. Another advantage is that emulsification (processing) can be accomplished effectively at room temperature.

While the cleamng compositions herein function quite well with only the 1,2-octanediol. BPP. PEMULEN and water, they may also optionally contain detersive surfactants to further enhance their cleamng performance. While a wide variety of detersive surfactants such as the C j - C j6 alkyl sulfates and alkylbenzene sulfonates. the C i2-C ι 6 ethoxylated (EO 0.5-10 avg.) alcohols, the C [ 2-C j 4 N-methyl glucamides. and the like can be used herein, it is highly preferred to use surfactants which provide high grease oil removal. Included among such preferred surfactants are the C i 2*C j 6 alkyl ethoxy sulfates (AES). especially in their magnesium salt form, and the C ^-Cig dimethyl amine oxides. An especially prefeπed mixture comprises MgAEi S/MgAEg 5S/C12 dimethyl amine oxide, at a weight ratio of about 1 : 1 : 1. If used, such surfactants will typically compπse from about 0.05% to about 2.5%. by weight of the cleaning composiuons herein.

In addition to the preferred solvents and emulsifiers disclosed above, the cleamng compositions herein may comprise various optional ingredients, such as perfumes, preservatives, co- solvents, brighteners. salts for viscosity control, pH adjusters and buffers, anti-stauc agents, softeners, colorants, mothproofing agents, insect repellents, and the like.

Carrier - The foregoing cleaning compositions are not employed herein in loose form, since that could result in their uneven application to the surfaces of the fabrics being cleaned. Rather, the composiuons are used in combination with a earner, such that the cleamng composiuon performs its function as the surfaces of the fabrics being cleaned come in contact with the surface of the earner. The carrier can be in any desired form, such as powders, flakes, shreds, and the like.

However, it will be appreciated that such comminuted earners would have to be separated from the fabrics at the end of the cleaning process. Accordingly, it is highly preferred that the earner be in the form of an integral pad or sheet which substantially maintains its structural integπty throughout the cleaning process. Such pads or sheets can be prepared, for example, using well-known methods for manufacturing non-woven sheets, paper towels, fibrous batts. cores for bandages, diapers and catamenials. and the like, using mateπals such as wood pulp, cotton- rayon, polyester fibers, and mixtures thereof Woven cloth pads may also be used, but are not preferred over non-woven pads due to cost considerations. Integral earner pads or sheets may also be prepared from natural or syntheuc sponges, foams, and the like. The earners are designed to be safe and effecuve under the intended operaung condiuons of the present process The earners must not be flammable duπng the process, nor should they deletenously interact with the cleamng composiuon or with the fabncs being cleaned In general.

non-woven polyester-based pads or sheets are quite suitable for use as the earner herein

The earner used herein is most preferably lint-resistant By "lint-resistant" herein is meant a earner which resists the shedding of visible fibers or microfibers onto the fabπcs being cleaned. i e , the deposiuon of what is known in common parlance as "lint" A earner can easily and adequately be judged for its acceptability with respect to lint-resistance by rubbing it on a piece of dark blue woolen cloth and visually inspecung the cloth for lint residues

The lint-resistance of sheet or pad earners used herein can be achieved by several means, including but not limited to prepanng the earner from a single strand of fiber, employing known bonding techniques commonly used with nonwoven mateπals, e g , point bonding, pπnt bonding, adhesive res saturauon bonding, adhesive resin spray bonding, sutch bonding and bonding with binder fibers In an alternate mode, a earner can be prepared using an absorbent core, said core being made from a matenal which, itself, is not lint-resistant The core is then enveloped within a sheet of porous, lint-resistant matenal having a pore size which allows passage of the cleamng composiuons. but through which lint from the core cannot pass An example of such a earner compπses a cellulose or polyester fiber core enveloped in a non-woven polyester scnm

The earner should be of a size which provides sufficient surface area that effecuve contact between the surface of the earner and the surface of the fabπcs being cleaned is achieved Of course, the size of the earner should not be so large as to be unhandy for the user Typically, the dimensions of the earner will be sufficient to provide a macroscopic surface area (both sides of the earner) of at least about 360 cm 2 , preferably in the range from about 360 cm 2 to about 3000 cm 2 For example, a rectangular earner may have the dimensions (x-direcuon) of from about 20 cm to about 35 cm. and (y-direcuon) of from about 18 cm to about 45 cm

The earner is intended to contain a sufficient amount of the cleamng composiuon to be effective for its intended purpose The capacity of the earner for the cleamng composiuon will van according to the intended usage For example, earner/cleaning composiuon pads or sheets which are intended for a single use will require less capacity than such pads or sheets which are intended for muluple uses For a given type of earner the capacity for the cleamng composiuon will vary mainly with the thickness or "caliper" (z-direcuon. dry basis) of the sheet or pad For purposes of lllustrauon. typical single-use polyester sheets used herein will have a thickness in the range from about 0 1 mm to about 0 7 mm and a basis weight in the range from about 30 g/m 2 to about 100 g/m 2 Typical mulu-use polyester pads herein will have a thickness in the range from about 0.2 mm to about 1 0 mm and a basis weight in the range from about 40 g/m 2 to about 150 g m 2 Open-cell sponge sheets will range tn thickness from about 0 1 mm to about 1 0 mm Of course, the foregoing dimensions may vary, as long as the desired quanuty of the cleaning composiuon is effectively provided by means of the earner

Container - The present cleamng process is conducted using a flexible container The fabncs to be cleaned are placed within the container with the earner/cleaning composiuon arucle

and the container is agitated, thereby providing contact between the earner/cleaning composiuon and the surfaces of the fabπcs

The flexible container used herein can be provided in any number of configurations, and is conveniently in the form of a flexible pouch, or "bag", which has sufficient volume to contain the fabncs being cleaned Suitable containers can be manufactured from any economical matenal. such as polyester, polypropylene, and the like, with the proviso that it must not melt if used in contact with hot dryer air It is preferred that the walls of the container be substanually impermeable to water vapor and solvent vapor under the intended usage condiUons It is also preferred that such containers be provided with a sealing means which is sufficiently stable to remain closed duπng the cleamng process Simple ue strings or wires, vanous snap closures such as ZIP LOK® closures, and VELCRO®-type closures, contact adhesives. adhesive tape, zipper-type closures, and the like, suffice

The container can be of any convement size, and should be sufficiently large to allow rumbling of the container and fabncs therein, but should not be so large as to interfere w th the operauon of the tumbling apparatus With special regard to containers intended for use in hot air clothes dryers, the container must not be so large as to block the air vents If desired, the container may be small enough to handle only a single shirt, blouse or sweater, or be sufficiently large to handle a man's suit

Process - The present cleamng process can be conducted in any manner which provides mechamcal agitauon. such as a tumbling acuon. to the container with the fabncs being cleaned If desired, the agitauon may be provided manually However, in a convement mode a container with the earner/cleaning composiuon and enveloping the soiled fabπc is sealed and placed in the drum of an automauc clothes dryer The drum is allowed to revolve, which imparts a tumbling acuon to the container and agitauon of its contents concurrently with the tumbling By virtue of this agitauon. the fabπcs come in contact with the earner containing the cleamng composiuon It is preferred that heat be employed during the process Of course, heat can easily be provided in a clothes drver The tumbling and opuonal (but preferred) heaung is earned out for a peπod of at least about 10 minutes. typically from about 20 minutes to about 30 minutes The process can be conducted for longer or shorter peπods, depending on such factors as the degree and type of soiling of the fabπcs. the nature of the soils, the nature of the fabπcs. the fabπc load, the amount of heat applied, and the like. according to the needs of the user The following illustrates a typical process in more detail but is not intended to be limiting thereof

EXAMPLE I A dry cleamng arucle in sheet form is assembled using a sheet substrate and a cleamng composiuon prepared by admixing the following ingredients

Ingredient % (wt )

BPP* 7 0

1.2-octanediol 0.5

PEMULEN TR-1** 0.15

KOH 0.08

Perfume 0.75 Water Balance

Isomer mixture, available from Dow Chemical Co. **PEMULEN TR-2, B. F. Goodrich, may be substituted.

A non-linting carrier sheet is prepared using a non-woven, two-ply fabric stock comprising polyester fibers, caliper 0.25 mm to 0.34 mm. basis weight 84 g/m 2 . The fabric is cut into square carrier sheets, approximately 25 cm on a side, i.e.. 625 cm 2 sheets. Three or four rows of regularly- spaced 1.27 cm (0.5 in.) diameter circular holes are punched through the sheet (The finished sheet can later be folded for packaging, and when unfolded and used in the manner disclosed herein, the holes help maintain the sheet in the desired unfolded configuration.)

23 Grams of the above-noted cleaning composition are evenly applied to the sheet by spreading onto the sheet with a roller or spatula using hand pressure. In an alternate mode, the cleamng composiuon can be applied by dipping or spraying the composition onto the substrate, followed by squeezing with a roller or pair of nip rollers, i.e., by "dip-squeezing" or "spray squeezing". The external surfaces of the sheet are damp but not tacky to the touch.

A dry cleaning sheet of the foregoing type is unfolded and placed flat in a plastic bag having a volume of about 25.000 cm^ together with 2 kg of dry garments to be cleaned. The bag is closed, sealed and placed in a conventional hot-air clothes dryer. When the garments and the dry cleaning sheet are placed in the bag, the air is preferably not squeezed out of the bag before closing and sealing. This allows the bag to billow, thereby providing sufficient space for the fabrics and cleaning sheet to tumble freely together. The dryer is started and the bag is tumbled for a period of 20-30 minutes at a dryer air temperature in the range from about 50°C to about 85°C. During this time, the dry cleaning sheet remains substantially in the desired open position, thereby providing effective contact with the fabrics. After the machine cycle is complete, the bag and its contents are removed from the dryer, and the spent dry cleaning sheet is discarded. The plastic bag is retained for re-use. The garments are cleaned and refreshed. The water present in the cleaning composition serves to minimize wrinkles in the fabrics.

In an alternate mode, heavily soiled areas of the fabric being cleaned can optionally be pre- treated by pressing or nibbing a fresh dry cleaning sheet according to this invention on the area. The sheet and pre-treated fabric are then placed in the container, and the dry cleaning process is conducted in the manner described herein. Having thus described and exemplified the present invention, the following further illustrates vaπous cleaning compositions which can be formulated and used in the practice thereof.

EXAMPLE π

Ingredient % (wt ) Formula Range

BPP* 5-25%

1.2-Octanedιol 0 1-7%

MgAEjS 001-0 8% MgAE 6 5 S 0 01-0 8%

C 12 Dimethy 1 Amine Oxide 001-0 8%

PEMULEN** 0 05-0 20%

Perfume 0 01-1 5%

Water Balance pH Range about 6 to about 8

*Other organic solvents or co-solvents which can be used herein include vaπous glycol ethers, including matenals marketed under trademarks such as Carbitol. methyl Carbitol. butyl Carbitol. propyl Carbitol. and hexyl Cellosolve. methoxy propoxy propanol (MPP). ethoxy propoxy propanol (EPP). propoxy propoxy propanol (PPP), and all isomers and mixtures, respecuvely. of MPP, EPP, and PPP. and the like, and mixtures thereof If desired, and having due regard for safety for in- home use. vaπous convenuonal chloπnated and hydrocarbon dry cleamng solvents may also be used Included among these are 1,2-dichloroethane. tnchloroethylene, lsoparaffins. and mixtures thereof Although somewhat less preferred than BPP. the MPP. EPP and PPP etheπfied propanol solvents can be substituted in equivalent proportions for the BPP in the exemplified cleamng composiuons for use in the present process Weight rauos of these latter solvents with the 1.2-octanediol are in the same range as disclosed for the preferred BPP solvent

**As disclosed in U S Patents 4,758,641 and 5.004.557. such polyacrylates include homopolymers which may be crosshnked to varying degrees, as well as non-crosslinked Preferred herein are homopolymers having a molecular weight in the range of from about 100.000 to about 10.000.000 preferably 200.000 to 5.000,000

Excellent cleamng performance is secured using any of the foregoing non-immersion processes to provide an effecuve amount, I e . typically from about 5 g to about 50 g of the cleamng composiuons per kilogram of fabπcs being cleaned

EXAMPLE in A dry cleamng composiuon with reduced tendency to cause dye "bleeding" or removal from fabπcs as disclosed above is as follows

INGREDIENT PERCENT (wt . (RANGE)

Butoxypropoxy propanol (BPP) 7 000 4 0 - 25 0%

NEODOL 23 - 6 5* 0750 005 - 2 5% 1.2-Octanedιol 0 500 0 1 - 100%

Perfume 0 750 0 1 - 2 0%

Pemuien TR-1 0 125 0 05 - 0 2%

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) 0.060 0.024 - 0.10

Potassium Chloride 0.075 0.02 - 0.20

Water (distilled or deionized) 90.740 60.0 - 95.0%

Target pH = 7.0 *Shell; C12-C 13 alcohol, ethoxylated with average EO of 6.5.

15-25 Grams of a composition of the foregoing type are placed on a carrier sheet for use in the manner disclosed herein. A preferred carrier substrate comprises a binderless (or opuonal low binder), hydroentangled absorbent material, especially a material which is formulated from a blend of cellulosic. rayon, polyester and optional bicomponent fibers. Such materials are available from Dexter, Non-Wovens Division, The Dexter Corporation as HYDRASPUN®. especially Grade 10244. The manufacture of such materials forms no part of this invention and is already disclosed in the literature. See, for example, U.S. Patents 5.009,747, Viazmensky, et al., April 23. 1991 and 5.292.581. Viazmensky. et al.. March 8. 1994. incorporated herein by reference. Preferred materials for use herein have the following physical properties.

Grade Optional

10244 Targets Range

Basis Weight gm m 2 55 35-75

Thickness microns 355 100-1500

Density gm/cc 0.155 0.1-0.25

Dry Tensile gm/25 mm

MD 1700 400-2500

CD 650 100-500

Wet Tensile gm/25 mm

MD* 700 200-1250

CD* 300 100-500

Brightness % 80 60-90

Absorption Capacity % 735 400-900 (H 2 0)

Dry Mullen 1050 700-1200

*MD - machine direction; CD - cross direction

As disclosed in U.S. 5,009,747 and 5,292.281. the hydroentangling process provides a nonwoven material which comprises cellulosic fibers, and preferably at least about 5% by weight of synthetic fibers, and requires less than 2% wet strength agent to achieve improved wet strength and wet toughness.

Surprisingly, this hydroentangled carrier is not merely a passive absorbent for the cleamng compositions herein, but actually optimizes cleaning performance While not intending to be limited by theory, it may be speculated that this carrier is more effective in delivenng the cleamng composition to soiled fabncs. Or. this particular earner might be better for removing soils by

contact with the soiled fabrics, due to its mixture of fibers. Whatever the reason, improved dry cleaning performance is secured.

In addition to the improved cleaning performance, it has now been discovered that this hydroentangled carrier material provides an additional, unexpected benefit due to its resiliency. In- use, the dry cleaning sheets herein are designed to function in a substantially open configuration. However, the sheets are packaged and sold to the consumer in a folded configuration. It has been discovered that carrier sheets made from conventional materials tend to undesirably revert to their folded configuration in-use. This undesirable attribute can be overcome by perforating such sheet but this requires an additional processing step. It has now been discovered that the hydroentangled materials used to form the earner sheet herein do not tend to re-fold during use. and thus do not require such perforations (although, of course, perforations may be used, if desired). Accordingly, this newly-discovered and unexpected attribute of the carrier materials herein makes them optimal for use in the manner of the present invention.

A sheet of the foregoing type is placed together with the fabrics to be dry cleaned in a flexible containment bag having dimensions as noted hereinabove and sealing means. The bag can be closed and sealed for use by any convenient re-usable means, including nylon zippers. Velcro®- type closures, nylon Zip-Lok®-rype closures, and the like. In a preferred mode, the containment bag is constructed of thermal resistant film in order to provide resistance to hot spots (350°F-400°F; 177°C to 204°C) which can develop in some dryers. This avoids internal self-sealing and external surface deformation of the bag, thereby allowing the bag to be re-used.

In a preferred embodiment 0.0025 mm to 0.0075 mm thickness nylon film is convened into a 26 inch (66 cm) x 30 in. (76 cm) bag. Bag manufacture can be accomplished in a conventional manner using standard impulse heating equipment, air blowing techniques, and the like. In an alternate mode, a sheet of nylon is simply folded in half and sealed along two of its edges.

In addition to thermally stable "nylon-only" bags, the containment bags herein can also be prepared using sheets of co-extruded nylon and/or polyester or nylon and/or polyester outer and/or inner layers surrounding a less thermally suitable inner core such as polypropylene. In an alternate mode, a bag is constructed using a nonwoven outer "shell" comprising a heat-resistant material such as nylon or polyethylene terephthalate and an inner sheet of a polymer which provides a vapor barrier. The non-woven outer shell protects the bag from melting and provides an improved tactile impression to the user. Whatever the constπicύoa the objective is to protect the bag's integnty under conditions of thermal stress at temperatures up to at least about 400-500°F (204°C to 260°C).

Besides the optional nonionic surfactants used as component (g) of the cleaning compositions used in the process herein, which are preferably Cg-C j g ethoxylated (EOl-15) alcohols or the corresponding ethoxylated alkyl phenols, the composiuons used herein can contain enzymes to further enhance cleaning performance. Lipases. amylases and protease enzymes, or mixtures

thereof, can be used. If used, such enzymes will typically comprise from about 0.001% to about 5%. preferably from about 0.01% to about 1%, by weight, of the composition. Commercial detersive enzymes such as LIPOLASE. ESPERASE, ALCALASE. SAVINASE and TERMAMYL (all ex. NOVO) and MAXATASE and RAPID ASE (ex. International Bio-Synthesis, Inc.) can be used. If an antistatic benefit is desired, the compositions used herein can contain an anti-static agent, as optional component (h). If used, such anti-static agents will typically comprise at least about 0.5%, typically from about 2% to about 8%, by weight of the compositions. Preferred anti- stats include the series of sulfonated polymers available as VERSAFLEX 157, 207, 1001. 2004 and 7000, from National Starch and Chemical Company. The compositions herein can optionally be stabilized for storage using conventional preservatives such as KATHON® at a level of 0.001 %-l%, by weight

If the compositions herein are used in a spot-cleaning mode, they are preferably pressed (not rubbed) onto the fabric at the spotted area using an applicator pad comprising looped fibers, such as is available as APLIX 200 or 960 Uncut Loop, from Aplix. Inc.. Charlotte, NC. An underlying absorbent sheet or pad of looped fibers can optionally be placed beneath the fabric in this mode of operation.