Nick Harris is the Founder and MD of VClean Life


Nick Harris is the Founder and MD of VClean Life

Nick is on a mission to clean up the ‘dirty’ dry-cleaning sector. He has a passion for delivering great service, value for money and incredibly high standards without jeopardising the environment.

The entrepreneur recently launched the VDrop, a ‘drop-and-go’ style vending machine for dry cleaning, alongside his 100% eco-friendly cleaning facility. Users simply drop off their ‘dirties’ at VDrop machines, located around the capital, at tube stations and office buildings, and collect them 24 hours later, at the cost of just £3 per garment.

With more than 25 years of experience in the clothing industry, Nick set up his own business in 2001, as a visiting tailoring service, which rapidly developed to encompass corporate uniform provision, and then the collection, dry clean and delivery of those uniforms.

From this, he witnessed first-hand the damage done to garments and the environment by traditional solvents used in dry cleaning.  This is what spurred him on to search for an eco-friendly responsible way to clean clothes.

Having spent many months considering different options, it became clear to Nick and his team that wet cleaning was the only way to go, and whilst it cost a very considerable amount of money to dispose of his entire dry cleaning set up and start from scratch with the wet cleaning technology, he risked it all and did just that. In 2014, having put everything on the line, his first little wet cleaning unit opened in East London, and the business evolved to become VClean Life in June 2017.

By August 2018, and with the launch of the first VDrops, the company’s “little” unit quickly became too small, and so to service the new state-of-the-art machines, Nick opened the UK’s largest (and only) multi-million pound 11,500 square foot eco-friendly cleaning facility in Watford.

What is the main aim of VClean Life?

We want to clean up the ‘dirty’ dry cleaning sector that has been stagnant for 60 years by providing an eco-friendly and responsible cleaning service that is still extremely good value for money, and ultra-convenient to use.

How does VClean Life differ from the traditional dry cleaning industry?

The dry cleaning industry has seen very little innovation for the past 60 years. 85% of dry-cleaners around the world use a chemical called Perchloroethylene – aka ‘PERC’ – to clean clothes. ‘PERC’, which is classified as a toxin by health organisations, including the Environment Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is known to cause cancer, neurological disorder, kidney and liver damage.

We have opened the first major facility in the UK to clean clothes exclusively using state-of-the-art green cleaning technology that uses mild, biodegradable soaps and conditioners that keep fabrics bright and undamaged, whilst saving the environment from the dreaded solvent. The only waste produced by our cleaning method is water, and our waste is nearly pure enough to drink!

How is VClean Life innovating with new technology?

There is nothing else like this on the market in the UK, or globally! Our technology has been developed over four years – it combines not just the intelligent cleaning tech, but also an advanced logistics function, intelligent VDrop communication and advanced garment tracking system, as well as a full customer user interface through the website. The VICE system – our own software that controls all aspects of the process – represents the pinnacle of technological development and is set to bring the revolution the industry needs. ‘Always on’ intelligent VDrop machines speak to the factory through the VICE software, whilst the factory uses very advanced tech to track the items, sort the orders, pack them and prepare them for delivery back to the VDrops. It’s as high tech as it gets, and with a bonus of reducing the chance of human error, it not only makes the service efficient, but incredibly reliable.

How do the VDrop machines work?

Once you have created an account and been given a unique QR code getting your garments dry-cleaned is really easy and quick. All you have to do is head to your nearest VDrop vending machine, pop your items in the VDrop-provided biodegradable bag, attach the ticket you are given and drop it down the chute. The clothes are then taken away to be cleaned by our garment-care experts. An email notification will be sent out within 24hours, when your clothes are back in the machine and ready to be collected.

What’s in store in the future of VClean Life?

We already have plans in motion to roll out nationally, and in early 2019 we’ll provide even more VDrop machines across Transport for London, Thameslink, South Eastern Trains and major corporate buildings for office workers. Our goal is to make this service as accessible as possible, to decrease the damage other dry-cleaning services output to the environment and to their workers, and to do it at such a low price that it simply offers the very best in value for money.


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