Chocolate Ice Cream, Meet Clean Tee (Conclusion)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/Christian Martinez Kempin)

Martin L. Young Jr. |

More spotting tools: enzyme digester, wetcleaning detergent

CONCORD, N.C. — There is a technical side to fabricare.

My experience has been that many operators only come to recognize the validity of that statement shortly before the equipment auction.

I want cleaners to not only survive, but to prosper. To do so, you must provide your customer with a perception of value.

That perception is shattered each time the customer takes the stain you left behind and, feeling that there is nothing to lose, washes the garment after taking it home ... and the stain comes out!

This month, the challenge is to add at least one more chemical tool to your arsenal, as follows: A neutral synthetic detergent (which I covered in Part One), an enzyme digester, and a true wetcleaning detergent.

An enzyme digester, for use in a bath or at the spotting board, can be found in both powder and liquid form. It is highly effective in removing protein stains, especially those that have become set through neglect.

If you choose to use the powder form, you will need to dilute the white powder in some warm water and then saturate the stain with the enzyme liquid.

Wet a small towel with steam, then lay the towel on the enzyme-soaked area. Keep the digester warm and moist, and it will do the job of breaking down the stain while you are busy doing other things. You will be amazed at the results you will get.

I have noticed that blood stains grow progressively darker over time. Blood will go from red to reddish-brown to brown, and finally appear to be black.

Using an enzyme digester in a bath is both simple and effective for large areas of blood.

Take a Styrofoam®-lined drink cooler and fill it with warm water. Dissolve the digester in the water and submerge the garment. Move the garment around to get it totally saturated. Place the lid on the cooler to retain the heat.

You can even leave the garment overnight. Retrieve the garment and inspect for any remaining stains. If stains remain, warm the water and submerge the garment. When all traces of the stains are gone, simply wash and finish the garment as usual.

The last of the chemical tools to consider is the group of wetcleaning detergent, wetcleaning conditioner, and wetcleaning sizing/texturizer.

Let’s keep this simple and focus on fragile and fine washables. A home-type top-loader will be the example.

Fill the basket to its highest level with cold tap water. The high water level will cushion the agitation and reduce the mechanical action. Use the gentlest cycle (hand wash) and a detergent formulated for wet cleaning (a detergent that has a pH at or below 7).

Alkali is one of four things that will contribute to shrinkage and dye migration, therefore your “shirt detergent” is not suitable for this purpose.

In the case of fragile trim, you can run the garment in a pillowcase or cover the beaded bodice with a pillowcase, using a heavy cotton cord to hold in place at the waist.

Take the time to work with these chemical(s). Go to a second-hand store and purchase a few garments that have stains. Use these garments for practice by adding stains of your own.

You will find that with a minimum of practice, productivity will increase, a much higher percentage of stains will be removed, and garment risk will be reduced.

To read Part One, Go HERE.

About the author

Martin L. Young Jr.

Industry Consultant and Trainer

Martin L. Young Jr. has been an industry consultant and trainer for 20 years, and a member of various stakeholder groups on environmental issues. He is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Launderers & Cleaners (NCALC). He grew up in his parents’ plant in Concord, N.C., Young Cleaners, which he operates to this day. Contact him by phone at 704-786-3011, or via e-mail at mayoung@vnet.net.

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