Wash with Wally: Bleach, Irons, Yoga Blankets and More...

By Wally Makowsky, CLA Member posted 08-26-2015 16:13

My wash-dry-fold and commercial laundry business is going very well, and my attendants are busy all day. However, I recently landed a contract with a security company to do their shirts. This client wants the shirts washed and ironed. Unfortunately, I’ve been having a difficult time finding a decent iron that will last. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

You’ve probably been using residential-type irons for this account, and while such irons are great for home use, they simply aren’t constructed to stand up to the rigors of commercial use. The elements are too thin, and the water chambers are too small. In addition, many people tend to put tap water into their irons, which will calcify the water chamber prematurely.

I would suggest calling your laundry supplies distributor and ordering a quality commercial iron that features an independent, hanging water bottle. Such an iron would be ideal for the type of work you described. And, remember, use only distilled water in your iron, and it should last for years.

I was interested in buying another laundry, but after checking the financial statement and the utilities, I noticed a considerable drop in volume over the last three years. The store looks to be clean and in good working order. And there aren’t any new stores in the area. What’s the problem? Can I increase the business?

If the store is in good mechanical order and kept clean, the problem is likely a drastic change in the local population and demographics. Perhaps a large portion of the store’s customer base has moved out of the neighborhood. In recent years, this has been especially common in strongly Hispanic areas, where the job markets have dried up.

Another possibility is that the neighborhood going through a gentrification process, and converting from a low-income area to a high-income neighborhood. In such neighborhoods, the people moving in will remodel and most likely install their own washers and dryers.

Look more closely at the demographics for this store. You certainly don’t want to be in a market where laundromat customers are moving out.

I have been approached by a potential commercial client about cleaning yoga blankets. If you’re not familiar with them, they are heavy wool blankets about the size of a twin bed sheet. This client doesn’t want to dryclean the blankets because of the chemicals involved. What is the best way to wash them? And how would I dry these items – in a cool dryer or hang dry?

If you’re going to accept this commercial account, you will need to wash the blankets in cold water. I would recommend using a product called Woolite, which is specifically made for wool-type, cold-water washing.

When it comes to drying the blankets, be careful. Wool has a tendency to shrink, even in cold water. Therefore, it’s important to dry the yoga blankets in a dryer that’s set to blow just cold air. And, above all, do not hang dry these items. The blankets likely will take a considerable amount of time to dry, and it will depend on how thick they are – but that’s the only way I would consider drying them.

I just washed a white, queen-sized down comforter. I read the attached washing instruction label, which warned against using bleach. Are these labels always accurate?

First of all, it doesn’t sound like that particular care label was specific enough. Most of the time, when the labels give an instruction regarding the use of bleach, they qualify it by saying, “Do not use chlorine bleach.”

The only bleach I know that could be harmful is chlorine bleach. You can try using non-chlorine bleach. Put a little in a glass, mix it with water, and then take a cotton swab and go over the stained area to see if there is any fabric damage. If you don’t notice any fabric damage, you can feel safe washing the comforter with non-chlorine bleach.

My recommendation: If you’ve got cotton items, wash them in hot water with a quality detergent and non-chlorine bleach.

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