Chocolate Ice Cream, Meet Clean Tee (Part 1)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/Christian Martinez Kempin)

Martin L. Young Jr. |

Add a chemical tool to your stain removal arsenal

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, an enzyme digester, and a true wetcleaning detergent.

It is not hard to take that first step. Just ask a sales representative to recommend a neutral synthetic detergent for wet-side stain removal. There are many available. All of them are good, with slight variations in formulation.

A neutral synthetic detergent is formulated to pre-condition the stained area when doing supplemental stain removal at the board. It is a combination of surfactants (to solubilize the stain) and an effective penetrant to go deep into the stain. By also being pH-neutral, there is little risk of a color change caused by a sensitive dye.

When you flush the stain over the vacuum nose of the spotting board, you are taking several actions that are beneficial to stain removal.

Wetting the area will break down the surface tension of the fabric and allow for quicker penetration of all the chemical tools you use thereafter.

Using steam will warm the area, and we know that heat will accelerate chemical action.

The surfactant(s) in the neutral synthetic detergent will immediately begin to solubilize the stain and the penetrant will go deep into the stain to carry any specialized spotting agents through the stain.

From my experience, most of the “color loss” that is returned to the customer is caused by a sensitive dye reacting to the pH of a specific formulation of stain remover. Also, the addition of neutral synthetic detergent will remove most “fresh” stains without the risk of a pH color change.

Try this: flush the area with steam and apply a few drops of neutral synthetic detergent. Set the garment aside while you deal with other garments that need spotting. Let the chemical do the job, while you do other things.

Come back to the garment(s) with neutral synthetic detergent after spotting all the others. Apply a little mechanical action with your bone/scraper or by tamping with your brush, then flush the area with steam over the vacuum nose of the board.

In about half the cases, that is all you will need to do to remove the stain. That is an example of productivity.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

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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