By Wally Makowsky | Dec 13, 2011
One of my commercial accounts is a hair salon. Can you tell me the best way to remove dark hair dye from the white towels my client brings to me?
Hair dye can be a real problem because different manufacturers use different types of bases for dyes. Some use a metallic base. Some use a vegetable base. And some use a clay base. As a result, it's very difficult to determine what each stain consists of.
Most of your clay-based dyes will come out with straight washing and a bleach treatment. However, vegetable-based dyes are somewhat more difficult because you have to use some type of a solvent to remove them.
My recommendation on white towels is to not go through too many extremes. Simply use a good one-shot detergent or a detergent with alkali. Use chlorine bleach. Use hot water, about 150-160 degrees.
If the towels still have dye on them, I suggest the salon use different colored towels. Many of today's hair salons have switched to dark green or maroon towels for just that reason. In fact, it's virtually impossible to remove all of the dyes.
I own an unattended laundry. Lately, I've been having trouble with kids vandalizing my restrooms and other areas of my store. What can I do?
Vandalism is a common problem with many unattended stores. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about it. However, I would strongly suggest that you install a video surveillance system. Perhaps consider a system where the cameras are somewhat hidden. I've seen situations where the cameras were right out in the open, and a kid would walk in and spray paint lenses, and then he'd be able to do whatever he wanted.
Also, I suggest you put up signage around your coin laundry pointing out that your store is under video surveillance and that you will prosecute any vandals who are caught. Such signage can often be as much of a deterrent as the system itself.
Of course, once a potential vandal is in your restroom, there's not much you can do. Obviously, it's against the law to set up video cameras in there. Therefore, my only recommendation would be to install a flush system that doesn't require a water reservoir. This can save you some headaches, because a lot of the damage occurs when kids stuff paper down the toilets and clog the water reservoir. Eliminating that reservoir would eliminate a sizeable percentage of the problems.
Another suggestion for your restroom is to install ceramic tile on the floor and walls. Approximately 40 percent of the vandalism is done with marking pens or spray paint. With ceramic tile, those marks can be cleaned off much easier.
What is the best way to remove soot and rust from my customers' clothes?
Those are two very different washing problems. Soot is a carbon molecule, and carbon can be difficult to wash out. Begin with a pre-wash, featuring two ounces of a liquid detergent. Follow that with twice the amount of detergent in a wash cycle. Then follow up with bleach. If it's a cotton garment, use chlorine bleach. If it's a colored item, use oxygen bleach. For this wash cycle, I would suggest two parts detergent and one part bleach.
The keys to this process are to use a premium detergent in a hot water cycle, and to run the garment through an extended wash cycle of about 13 to 20 minutes.
For rust stains, I would suggest trying any of the rust removers you can find at your local supermarket, or purchase one from your distributor. Pre-spot the areas with the rust remover just before placing the item into the washing machine for a regular wash cycle. Don't let the garment dry out before putting it into the washer, because the rust can then re-settle itself into the item.