By Wally Makowsky | May 14, 2009
There is a lingering odor that comes from one row of my stainless steel washers. When I open the door to the washer, the odor is very strong and unpleasant. I have had plumbers, equipment installers and sewer experts investigate the issue. Unfortunately, none of them can determine the origin of the smell. My coin laundry's pit is pumped out monthly, and the odor does not come from the pit area. It comes from the row of washers and that odor fills the entire store. Do you know if any other laundromats have experienced similar problems?
More than likely, the washers in question are your larger machines, which are gravity-drained. There are no pumps in the larger machines; the discharge water is not pumped out but drained out through gravity.
Your problem could be two-fold. One of the problems could be that your pitches aren't correct on your discharge line. That line has to be pitched toward your outside sewer so that the water runs as quickly as possible in one direction. If your pitch is off, your water will sit in your main line. Of course, when it sits there – especially in the summer when it's warm and humid – you can get algae and bacteria growth.
On the other hand, you might have the proper pitch and a proper sized line, but your washers may not be vented properly. Venting allows the odors rise up and out as the water goes through.
First of all, I would check to be sure than the machines are draining
properly, that your main line is pitched properly to the outside sewer and that your machines are vented properly. If your coin laundry is a relatively new one, these are all areas that you have to check. If you have an older store, there is the possibility that your vent lines are plugged up. Lint can get in there and clog them. If this is the case, you must rod from the roof down.
Most likely, your problem is in those areas. Check your pitches. And be sure that your machines are draining and vented properly.
My coin laundry washes the garments for a local clinic. And a few of the doctors have complained that we don’t use enough starch. We are, in fact, using a lot of starch, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. Is there anything new out there that we can use in the wash? What would you suggest?
There is a liquid starch, which is probably available through your local laundry distributor. It’s much higher in concentration than what you’re buying at the store.
Of course, you have to remember that when you’re using it, you should use it on the last rinse. Generally, for a heavy starch, you need to apply anywhere from eight to 10 ounces. Also, use warm water for that last rinse; starch adheres best in water temperatures from 90 degrees to 110 degrees.
Another possible option is a powder starch. However, the only way to effectively use a powder in a coin laundry is in a topload washer. Let the clothes run through a regular wash cycle. Next, start another cycle and, on the last rinse, lift the top just as the cycle starts, let the water fill up, put your powder starch in, stir it up a bit, add your garments and let it run through the rest of the cycle.
Again, as with the liquid starch, be sure the rinse is set on warm water. If it’s cold, the powder will coagulate.