ISO 3175 Standards
The ISO3175 standards for certification relates to the testing of material for suitability in dry cleaning. This standard is actually broken into four parts.
• ISO 3175-1:1998 Method for assessing the cleanability of textiles and garments
• ISO 3175-2:1998 Procedures for testing using tetrachloroethene (perchloroethylene)
• ISO 3175-3:2003 Procedure for testing using hydrocarbon
• ISO 3175-4:2003 Procedure for testing using simulated wet cleaning.
Defining the ISO 3175 Certification
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for ISO 3175 will vary somewhat. This is due to the fact that the testing procedures of ISO 3175 relate to 4 different variables (2 of which are chemical treatments).
Testing for Garment Cleaning
It's important to note that when materials are testing for suitability in dry cleaning, the individual material is what is tested. The ratings given and recommendations for chemical use or treatment method are merely recommendations for the material. That recommendation does not transfer to an entire garment (unless stated). Manufacturers need to consider the entire garment and broad recommendations for dry cleaning suitability based on the individual ratings of the fabrics and materials used in production.
ISO 3175 Dry Cleaning Tests on Solvents - Tetrachloroethene (perchloroethylene)
This solution is also referred to as (perc) and is a common cleaning solvent used in the UK. Most textiles and leather garments as well as safety garments will carry care labels displaying the symbol for this solvent, which is an uppercase P in a circle. This is one of the most used solvents and, when tested, the material or garment will be listed with either a 1 or a 2 listed next to the P. 1 denotes normal process cleaning and 2 denotes sensitive processes.
ISO 3175 Dry Cleaning Tests on Solvents - Hydrocarbon
While hydrocarbon is a bit milder than Tetrachloroethene it's used less frequently in the dry cleaning industry. It's suitability for use is shown by a number 3 or number 4 next to the letter F. The 3 denotes a normal process with the 4 representing a more sensitive process. Because
Hydrocarbon is a milder solvent, it can still be used in many cases where the P symbol is shown.
An important item to note is that hydrocarbon is suitable for cleaning most textiles however as less volatile cleaning solvent it requires higher drying temperatures or a longer cycle of drying. In the case of fabrics or materials that are heat sensitive, or a material with certain adhesives, their performance may be affected by prolonged or heightened temperature exposure.
ISO 3175 Wet Cleaning Testing
Next to dry cleaning, wet cleaning is the safest method for garment cleaning. The garments and materials are tested utilizing gentler wash cycles, a variety of soaps or detergents and various types of pressing and reforming equipment based on the fabric types. Wet cleaning is designed to be a non-toxic alternative to dry cleaning.