Development background

On December 3rd, 1991, we presented wet cleaning at a press conference to the professional public for the first time. In his introduction to the conference, Dr. Detlev Travers explained the background of the cooperation between the two family-owned traditional companies Miele and Kreussler.

Over several years of research, we elaborated the basics for the protection of swellable natural fibres in water as well as for the cleaning effect at highly reduced mechanical washing elements. For this work and for finding out that a change of short, intensive crush momentum in combination with relaxation phases in the washing process ensures excellent fibre protection, particularly with textiles made of wool, Kreussler was issued the European Patent 0 468 242 A1.

These washing-technique preconditions of wet cleaning were described at the press conference by Dr. Helmut Krüssmann. His laundry research institute Krefeld (WFK)developed for us, within the scope of an AiF-supported research commission, the differentiation to fine-fabric laundering procedures and to dry cleaning.

The background of our research efforts were the results of international serious research on human- and eco-toxicological dangers imminent in volatile halogenated hydrocarbons. Particularly the then popular solvents chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, the perchlorethylene used for dry cleaning and the CFC used in many fields of application had in some cases very harmful effects on living creatures, plants, air, water and soil. This was the reason why we started a comprehensive search for alternatives to perc and CFC for textile cleaning.

When in 1988 Greenpeace organized public dissent against dry cleaning companies in residential areas and when it was found in 1989 at the International Solvents Conference in Amsterdam that a completely safe method for using perc could not be realized, the law-makers in Germany prepared the 2. BImSchV (Federal Emission Control Act) with its restrictions for dry cleaners.

At that time, it was already clear to us that wet cleaning is better than any other procedure with solvents not only due to its human- and eco-toxicological advantages but also because of its better cleaning performance, its far better hygiene, its perfect operational safety and its favourable costs.

Although some laughed at us when we presented our wet cleaning concept, time has shown that wet cleaning has been well established in the market and by now even has its own care label.