Dry cleaning is not only costly for consumers, it is also costly for the environment. Toxic chemicals can disperse through the air and remain on clothing. Its extensive use of plastic around each cleaned garment, as well as transporting garments to and from cleaning facilities, contributes to global warming through carbon emissions.
While some industrial dry cleaners are moving to greener chemicals, others are looking to change the whole business model.
Presso is an Atlanta-based startup that invented what looks like a dry cleaning vending machine, but its process is a little different.
“We actually invented a whole new process for caring for clothes from the ground up with a compostable organic cleaning fluid that we synthesize in our own office with our own engineers, as well as new ways to stretch and press the clothing,” said Presso CEO Nishant Jain.
The Presso machine asks the user to position the garment and enter fabric and size information into the machine. The process, however, only takes a few minutes and can cost up to 80% less than traditional dry cleaning, depending on the garment.
Along the way, it uses seven times less water and three times less electricity than traditional laundry and dry cleaning services, according to the company. It also eliminates transportation to a cleaning facility. All of this reduces the carbon footprint of garment care by 93%.
“There are no disposable hangers, there are no disposable plastic bags. No logistics processes inside a dry cleaning facility, none of that exists anymore,” Jain said.
Presso now has machines in a few boutique hotels and apartment buildings, but it’s branching out to major hotel brands, like IHG. It now has machines in two Holiday Inns and plans to expand to other IHG properties. Holiday Inn Express franchise owner Dipan Patel said customer response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Once we get the service to a point where our customers are educated and people are comfortable using the services, I don’t see why it won’t be in every hotel in the country,” said Patel said.
Presso doesn’t have much competition in the industrial space, but it hopes to bring these machines to home consumers. There is already some competition in this market, but the CEO of Presso compares it to the microwave, which has quickly moved from restaurants and industrial use to become one of the most popular household appliances.
“Over the next five years, we plan to be national and start looking at scaling internationally,” Jain added.
Presso is backed by Uncork Capital, Cherubic Ventures, 1517 Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, SOSV’s Hax and Pathbreaker Ventures. It has raised just under $10 million in funding so far.