By Wally Makowsky | Jul 27, 2010
What advice can you give for washing throw rugs?
Most throw rugs can be washed, even with a rubber backing. However,
when washing any kind of a rug, wash it in cold water — because it’s
hard to determine how many different materials the rug is really
composed of. Always air dry, or dry with very low heat. If you can, run
them through a tumbler without any heat at all. The things that
generally destroy a throw rug are hot water, bleach and heat.
Of course, when the rubber backing on carpets age, you shouldn’t wash
them; that rubber backing has a finite lifecyle. Generally, a good
brand is good for six to eight washings. And with a less expensive
brand, you could begin to see that backing disintegrate after the
second or third washing.
Just remember: cold water, liquid detergent, low heat or no heat, and air drying.
I just landed a commercial account where I will be required to launder rags used to clean medical equipment. I have a commercial washer and dryer, but I’m unsure as to the specific water temperature needed to completely clean and sanitize these items. I was thinking it should be 140 degrees, but I’m not quite sure. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
There are two factors that come into play when sanitizing such items. The first one is the chemistry you use to wash the items, and the second is the water temperature. However, sometimes you don’t need to be so specific about the water temperature if you’re using the proper chemicals.
When we talk about “sanitation,” there are two chemicals that are generally used for this type of job – one is iodine (or, more specifically, an iodine-based sanitizer) and the other is chlorine bleach. So, if possible, find out what types of germs or stains will be present on the rags, as this will help you choose the proper chemistry to tackle this job.
As for your original question about water temperature, if there were a required water temperature for the type of commercial work you’re doing, it would be much higher than 140 degrees.
However, in your case, I would focus more on what specific chemicals to use in the water, rather than on the water temperature itself. Remember, it’s not only about the water temperature – it’s also very much about the chemistry.
I have a drop-off customer who occasionally brings in garments with glue-type marks on them. What is the best way to remove adhesives?
There are various types of glues and adhesives. Some of them are rubber-based, and some are vinyl- or acrylic-based. Each requires a different method of removal.
The best method is to use nail polish remover, so try that first. If that doesn’t do the job, rubbing alcohol can often remove certain types of glues, such as masking tape-type adhesives.
There are some glues that can be removed with mineral oil, too. In addition, one of the best products for glue removal is called Laundry Wetspo, which has a solvent base and will remove most adhesives.
Of course, when you start dealing with certain vinyl-based glues, you might run into a problem. These adhesives are impervious to certain chemicals. And it’s often difficult to determine what type of glue base you are dealing with.
Above all, be careful, because some of these removal products are flammable. Always take the utmost safety precautions. Also, test the removal agent on a small piece of the effected fabric before undertaking the entire process.
What’s the most effective way to remove mildew from towels?
Mildew is a real problem. And your ability to remove it depends on how long it’s been on your towels. If you catch it when it’s still in the lighter greenish state, soak the towels in a 1 percent bleach solution with hot water (120 to 160 degrees). Let them soak all day.
Mildew is a living organism, and the bleach will definitely kill it. After soaking, I would run the towels through a regular washing process, because once you destroy the mildew you have to remove it.
Unfortunately, once mildew gets into the darker state, where it’s dark gray or black, it’s almost impossible to remove because it changes the molecular structure and color of your garment.
Again, the hotter the water the better the solution will work. As long as you see a lightening in the towels appearance, continue to repeat the process.
Also, as a rule, don’t leave whites lying damp on a concrete floor or in any dark place.