By Wally Makowsky | Jun 01, 2012
What types of cleaning products and other items are required for me to have what you would consider a fully stocked wash-dry-fold arsenal for my attendants?
Basically, to start a wash-dry-fold service, you need bagging supplies – plastic bags and cloth bags. You also need hangers for shirts and other garments, as well as safety pins to attach your invoices to the bundles. I would also recommend a general ledger to keep track of your orders and, of course, a scale.
As for cleaning products you should have all of the normal soaps, detergents and bleaches required for day-to-day laundering. As for spotting items, the only ones that I would recommend are a blood protein remover and a grease remover, such as Wetspo. I wouldn’t go much beyond those items, with regard to spot removal. You don’t want to assemble a huge array of spotters, because then you need to train your attendants in how to use each specific spot treatment; this might become too labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive, considering what most laundry owners charge per pound for their wash-dry-fold services.
If a customer comes in with a drop-off laundry order and there are clearly some garments in the bundle that should be drycleaned, how should I handle it? What if the customer insists that I should just wash them?
It’s up to your customers if they want to ruin their own clothes. Unfortunately, you can run into a customer who insists on having dryclean-only garments laundered in an effort to save money. In that case, the best you can do is protect yourself from any liability.
Most coin laundry suppliers can provide you with what are called “release forms.” These are standard legal forms that tell the customer you are not liable for the damage done to the garments during normal laundering procedures.
The same safeguard should be followed if you will be laundering anything with sequins, lace or any other unusual features. In fact, some store owners have every drop-off laundry customer sign a release form, regardless of what’s in their bundle.
I don’t recommend trying to write your own release forms. There is no way you could cover all of the necessary legalities. Release forms are inexpensive, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a few on hand at all times.
I offer a drop-off service. And I recently picked up a large restaurant account, which has been very profitable. Unfortunately, I’m having a difficult time with some of the oil and grease stains. What can I do?
The first thing on the list should be hot water. The hotter the better. Second, you need to use a “built” detergent; this means that it contains alkali, which is required for proper grease removal.
You also need chlorine bleach. I’m assuming the items you’re washing are cotton. If they’re not cotton, use oxygen bleach.
Next, you need a sour. Sour is a neutralizing agent that’s to be used in the last rinse. If you don’t use a sour, the items will end up with a harsh, coarse finish.
In addition, you should be using a machine that has a pre-wash. If you don’t have a programmable machine, put a small amount of detergent in a pre-wash, following up with the insertion of the “built” detergent that contains alkali and the bleach in the wash cycle, which is in turn followed by the sour in the rinse cycle.
Another suggestion is to buy a product called Wetspo (Laidlaw Chemical). It’s a liquid oil and grease remover, and it can be used in either your pre-wash or wash cycles. Anyone who regularly handles restaurant-type laundry, where there is grease and oil involved, should have this product for the tougher stains.
The only problem you might have in using Wetspo is that there might be a petroleum after-smell. If you encounter this, toss the items back into the dryer for another one or two air cycles. You don’t need heat, just circulation to clear up that petroleum scent.