Continuing our series on professional laundry, we focus on the main types of laundry chemicals used and their functions within the wash process – whether they be for cleaning, destaining, disinfecting or finishing.
With automatic chemical dosing systems, the reputable chemical supplier will strive to keep dose rates as low as possible, ensuring that the chemicals are working as an effective component within the overall wash process, whereas the more unscrupulous supplier will increase dose rates irrespective of wash type to maximise the revenue from the unsuspecting customer.
It is critical that the chemical supplier understands the requirements of the laundry, so that they can set up the correct programmes for all possible wash and soil types, and prevent unnecessary and costly over consumption of detergents (See Part 5 in this series, forthcoming).
Firstly, let’s look at the importance of the quality of the water itself. The detergent supplier cannot influence the quality of the water (i.e. the levels of hard water salts/hard water) coming into the laundry, but has to be aware of it. Water hardness is measured by the level of calcium and magnesium salts present in the water, and this can have a detrimental effect on laundry results if untreated.
Water hardness can be easily reduced by using a commercial water softener. To find out more about the effects of water hardness in general, please refer to our earlier blog post in our series on automatic dish washing. Detergent dose levels can also be adjusted to compensate for water hardness, so the reputable chemical supplier should be continuously monitoring water hardness during routine service visits.
Professional laundry detergents are available in both powder and liquid formats and, depending on the size and/or the specific requirements of the laundry, both types may be used, sometimes in conjunction with each other.
There is a common misconception that, if a recommended dosage of chemical does the job, then surely a higher dose will do it even better and faster. Similarly, if there are problems with wash results, then machine operators may be tempted to dose more chemical. This malpractice can lead to chemical damage to garments and higher costs, so automatic chemical dosing systems have become an integral part of most OPL operations.
Automatic systems not only provide accurate and consistent chemical dosing, but also eliminate the need for handling potentially hazardous chemicals. Most commercial laundry machines are now pre-fitted with connections for liquid detergents to enable chemical suppliers to dose their detergents directly into the machines via external electronic dosing equipment.
The amount of chemical dispensed is dependent on the size of the pump, the size (diameter) of the squeeze tube and the length of time that the pump runs. The longer the time, the more chemical that is injected into the washing machine.
Most chemical companies install and service their equipment on a free-on-loan basis, provided that the laundry exclusively uses their chemical products through their equipment. We look into this in more detail in Part 5 of this series.
Generally speaking, auto-dosed liquids are the preferred choice for many OPL laundries for a number of reasons :- 1) to minimise the manual handling of chemicals, 2) to control consumption, 3) to offer more flexibility in the siting of chemical drums (as products can be pumped to the machines through pipework from a secure central room or other storage area remotely located from the washing machines) thus making maximum use of the available space and 4) to reduce the incidence of pilferage, as bulk drums of chemical connected to dosing equipment are, by their nature, less accessible to staff.
Powder laundry products do have a slight advantage over liquids in that they can theoretically be 100% active (compared to a liquid which is a solution diluted with water). It is for this reason that highly concentrated powders are usually more prevalent in industrial scale, commercial laundry operations.
Modern Day Laundry Detergents – You Pay for Quality
Modern laundry detergents are now ‘engineered’ for maximum effectiveness against all soil types. Whereas, in the past, a number of products might be required to obtain the desired results, laundries can now effectively use one main “fully built” detergent that leaves linen clean and bright and is effective against a wide range of stains. However, fully built detergents vary in quality and their price and effectiveness is determined by the extent to which the chemical manufacturer ‘builds them’.
There can be wide unit price variations between different laundry detergent brands, and buyers should be aware that the unit price is normally a reflection of the complexity and effectiveness of the “fully built” formulation – reputable manufacturers will only offer high specifications, so it is likely that cheaper products will contain less active ingredients and will require to be dosed at significantly higher concentrations to work. Professional launderers usually understand that a compromise on the quality of the detergent is a false economy and leads to higher re-wash rates, higher consumption of chemicals and higher costs.
Biological and Non-Biological Laundry Detergents: The Difference
A biological detergent contains enzymes which are effective at breaking down or ‘digesting’ protein soiling such as proteins, starches and fats. Enzymes are excellent for heavy duty cleaning and also work better at lower temperatures (30-50°C) than non- biological detergents.
A non-biological detergent contains no enzymes and is suitable for use where there may be a risk of irritation to sensitive skin – babies clothing for example should be washed with non-bio products. These products are more effective for stain removal when used at higher temperatures.
Optical Brightening Agents (OBA’s)
OBA’s (fluorescent brightening or whitening agents) are chemical compounds that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet regions and re-emit this as brilliant white light, making fabrics look much brighter, whiter and more lively. These additives are often used to enhance the appearance of coloured fabric and also make white fabrics appear brighter. The best OBA’s are very expensive and only small amounts are added to the best laundry detergents.
OBA’s basically create an optical illusion, designed to mask yellow or brown tones in fibres and make the fabric appear cleaner and brighter than it would otherwise appear to the naked eye. One of the best illustrations of this whitening effect can be seen when a UV light is used in a nightclub and all the white clothing of the dancers appears to glow bright white. If white fabrics are washed in detergents which do not contain OBA’s they will start to look grey by comparison in a short space of time.
For an expert explanation on OBA properties from BASF, one of the largest chemical companies in the world click here.
Laundry Detergents for Coloured and White Fabrics
Most detergents contain a bleach-like agent which can and will over time ‘pull’ the colour out of some clothes, so specific colour safe laundry detergents which do not contain OBA’s, bleaching agents or enzymes, are used to preserve the original colour of the fabric for longer.
Laundry De-Staining Products
Removing stubborn stains from fabrics is probably one of the most emotive subjects for the OPL manager and in this section we take you through the most widely used types of destainers.
- Oxidising Type (Hydrogen Peroxide) – A liquid bleaching agent designed to work in the hot wash at temperatures above 60°C and can be used on both coloured work and whites. It must not be used on woollen or silk items as it will degrade the fibres. Overdosing peroxy destainers on cotton towels will make them hard to the touch.
- Oxidising Type (Sodium Hypochlorite) – A liquid bleaching agent designed to work at temperatures below 50°C and ideal for stain removal in the first rinse cycle where it targets those stains not removed by the hotter wash cycle. If used at too high a temperature, or over-used, hypochlorite destainers will cause severe physical damage to cotton. We would not recommend use on natural silk, wool or nylon fibres.
- Reducing Type (Sodium Dithionite) – A bleach powder which works by removing a molecule of oxygen from the stain thus making it a “reducing” bleach. This is an ideal product for reversing the overall colour tinting of a batch of white items which have been accidentally affected by coloured work in the wash load.
- Low Temperature Type (PAP) – A liquid bleaching agent suitable for use on all types of fabrics (white and coloured work). Effectively and safely removes stains from fabrics with little risk of chemical damage over time. Because of its use at low temperatures it is suitable for woollens too. PAP based destainers are ideally dosed into the main wash cycle at temperatures between 20-40°C. They are relatively more expensive than traditional destainers but are dosed at much lower levels, safer, more effective and better for the environment.
There has been a noticeable trend towards lower temperature washing over the last two decades and this trend points to even lower temperatures being requested by consumers. Milder and lower temperature washing conditions lengthens the life cycle of fabrics and means more efficient energy use and lower energy bills.
However, it must be noted that a report by the International Scientific Forum on Hygiene warned that low temperature washing might be inadequate to kill disease-causing bugs. Professor Sally Bloomfield of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine states ‘We need to launder clothing in a way that renders them not just visually clean, but hygienically clean – the two are not the same’. Her concerns are backed by a German study on clothes contaminated with Staphylococcus Aureus (linked to skin and urinary tract infections as well as pneumonia), where researchers found the only way to eradicate the bacterium was by washing at temperatures of 40°C + along with a detergent containing bleach.
Alkali Boosters: These are also called ‘detergent builders’ and are sometimes used in conjunction with a main wash laundry detergent to boost or enhance the wash performance by increasing the level of alkalinity of the wash liquor. They are generally only required when washing heavily soiled laundry.
Laundry Emulsifiers: These are degreasers designed for the effective removal of oil, grease and some problematic wax residues on table linen. They are harmless to most fabrics and do not affect most dyes. Good quality laundry emulsifiers are also very effective in the removal of mineral deposits from polyester/cotton fabrics.
Laundry Fabric Conditioners: This type of finishing or conditioning product works by coating the surface of the cloth fibre with an invisible layer of perfumed conditioner. In addition to leaving a pleasant residual fragrance, the conditioner has lubricating properties and is electrically conductive, both of which make the fibres feel softer and smoother, and prevent the build-up of static electricity.
Fabric softeners/conditioners have a number of uses:
1. Imparts increased softness to pile fabrics such as towels.
2. Leaves processed laundry with a pleasant residual perfume.
3. Reduces the chances of wrinkling and pilling or bobbling”.
4. Reduces or eliminates static electricity within the ironing process.
5. Increases flatwork ironing efficiency by lubricating the surface of the fabric and “iron glide”.
6. Effective at minimising the build-up of lint. Lint is the common name for visible accumulations of textile fibres found on and around clothing. Certain materials used in the manufacture of clothing, such as cotton, linen, and wool, contain numerous very short fibres bundled together. During the course of normal wear, these fibres may either detach or be jostled out of the weave of which they are part.
It is worth noting that the over-use/over-dosing of fabric softeners can also cause some serious problems within the laundry. If too much is used on sheets prior to ironing, the flatbed ironer rollers can slip, leading to wrinkled sheets and poor folding.
N.B. There are two commonly used fabric types where fabric conditioners should never be used:
1) Bed Pads or Kylies
These are bed sized washable pads used to protect the bed sheet and mattress from incontinence events. With a quilted absorbent upper layer and a waterproof backing they are normally positioned on top of the bed sheet and are designed to prevent the need for continual stripping of beds and washing of sheets. They are durable and can be laundered +200 times without losing their effectiveness and absorbency. However, these MUST NEVER be washed in a cycle that contains fabric conditioner as absorbency is reduced, rendering them useless.
2) Micro-fibre cloths/mops etc.
The popularity of micro-fibre cleaning products such as towels, mops, and dusters has grown significantly in recent years as they are effective at removing all manner of soils, quickly and efficiently from a variety of surfaces. These items are highly absorbent, absorbing up to seven times their weight in liquid and can last hundreds of washings when cared for properly. Again, fabric conditioner will clog the fibres, reduce absorbency and render them ineffective.
Laundry Starch: This is a finishing product and the desired level of crispness is wholly dependent on the correct level of starch being used. It should also be noted that excessive tumble drying of starched items will destroy most of the starch before ironing, so care must be taken not to over dry or dry at too high a temperature.
Starching table linen gives the fabric a stiff feel which enhances appearance, texture and durability. All fabrics, natural or man-made, have a tendency to crease, pucker up or flop even after high-pressure ironing, so starching can overcome these problems. Starching allows a table cloth to lie perfectly flat on a table with sharp edges, napkins can be sculpted into creative shapes, chefs and nurses’ hats can be made to sit proudly. It gives linen more body and a high quality feel/appearance and is available in liquid and natural powder form.
Synthetic Liquid Starch: Man-made fibres such as polyester and poly-cottons do not respond to natural starches such as maize or rice starches, so modern liquid formulations have been introduced as an alternative for synthetic fibres. These are normally a blend of man-made glues and starches with stabilising agents to produce an emulsion starch liquid which can be used on both cotton and synthetic fabrics.
In Part 4 of our series, we will look at the subject of disinfection within the laundry and examine thermal, chemical and ozone technologies.
As usual, all comments and feedback are very welcome.
The Arpal Group
With so many laundry service providers in Singapore, it is inevitable that there will be some bad apples among them. When we engage the wrong company, the condition of our garments and apparels may become worse, especially delicate garments or those items which require dry cleaning.
Garments that require dry cleaning typically are those that are made of leather, wool, lace and so on. These fabrics are easily damaged if they are not professionally dry cleaned, or if inferior detergents, solvents or cleaning agents that are corrosive in nature have been used.
What Is Dry Cleaning?
Dry cleaning is a cleansing process that uses a solvent called perchlorethylene or DF2000 to clean clothing. The perc or PCE (as it is commonly called in the industry) is run through the garment and then extracted along with dislodged oils, grime, food, dirt, dust, and other unwanted particles. Since soap and water are not used in the process, this is known as “dry” cleaning.
Leave It To The Professionals
Most of the time, the garment to be dry cleaned may have already cost you a bomb when it was initially bought. Such garments range from expensive business suits and corporate wear to bulky winter wear and leather jackets. More care and attention will have to be lavished on these items to ensure their longevity. Sending them to the professional dry cleaners ensures they are properly handled.
Professional laundry services help maintain the shape and texture of your garments. If you do not wish to worry about damaging your valuable garments, it is recommended to pay a bit more and get them cleaned professionally.
Guaranteed Professional Handiwork
Laundry Shop Singapore is made up of experienced and professional individuals in the field of laundry service. After so many years in this business, we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on cleaning a variety of stains from diverse types of fabrics.
We cooperate with big corporations and SMEs (small medium enterprises) to handle their bulk laundry – dry cleaning, laundering, pressing and delivery. At the same time, we also provide retail services to households and individuals.
We use safe organic solutions that are best suited for each type of fabric during the dry cleaning process. Such a method allows the stains on the fabrics to be removed without harming the garments. The organic solvents that we use in the process will not only provide you with a garment that satisfies you visually, but also one that is comfortable to wear. Most importantly the efficiency and professionalism of our dry cleaning service will be able to safeguard your health by removing any bacteria or pests in your item.
Affordable And Convenient Dry Cleaning
Our dry cleaning services do not require you to drop by our service branches. You have a choice of sending in the laundry yourself or us picking the laundry up from your place.
Laundry Shop Singapore provides a wide range of high quality laundry services at wallet-friendly prices. Keeping your laundry safe, cleaned and ironed to its most impressive state, and delivering it back into your hands timely is our mission.
Our reliable dry cleaners are just a phone call or an email away. Contact us now for professional dry cleaning services you can count on!
In an Increasingly Wrinkle-Free, Wet-Wash, Hassle-Free Clothing World, Why Should I Pay For Dry Cleaning?
After all, companies like Jos. A. Bank and Eddie Bauer have worked hard to offer “traveler” lines of wrinkle resistant clothes. While others have developed some fantastic lines of washable silks and wools. Dressing well in the 21st century, like most everything else, has become “user-friendly.” Like most people you can chuck your dirty clothes in your washing machine, dry it, and still look pretty darn good. Simple.
Despite the increasing popularity of these clothing lines, dry cleaning and professional cleaning is no worse for the wear. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider professional dry cleaning.
1. Super Stain Removal
If you’re like me, food has a natural affinity for your clothes; particularly, your nice clothes. For example, if you were out with your friends and dropped some pizza on yourself you would have a number of issues. First, you would have to remove the wet-side tannin from the tomato sauce which requires wet cleaning with something slightly acidic. A quick wash in your machine, right after your pizza made a jump for it, would do a decent job at removing surface stains. However, the bigger issue would be all the oils and greases: olive oil in the sauce and crust, grease from the cheese and meats. The best way to handle these stains is with a powerful degreaser. As a professional cleaners, we have access to incredibly powerful degreasers, soaps, and solvents. A rinse in our Eco-friendly solvent (Solvon K4) would lift those stains out rather quickly. So, eat without fear!
2. Try a Little Tenderness
Dry cleaning is unique in being both powerful and gentle. A lot of clothes you would consider bringing into a professional cleaners are, well, special. You don’t want to go to a laundromat and chuck your favorite shirt or pair of pants into that machine. We bought a Firbimatic f40, Italian made, dry cleaning machine. It’s not only Eco-friendly, but customizable. So instead of whipping your clothes around at 1800 rpm, we can slow it down to 120-140 rpm. Meaning: your clothes get the powerful clean of hydrocarbon solvent with the most gentle process. So, there’s no need to worry about your expensive or, simply, your favourite clothes getting ruined.
3. Finish Like A Pro
Like a good golf-swing, we follow through. After your clothes have been tagged, spot cleaned, and washed they will be either hand-pressed or steamed out. Pressing your own clothes can be tedious and often frustrating ordeal. But, it’s our profession. We have specially designed machines to press cuffs and collars, blouses and jackets; even to steam out the top part of your pants. That means you get a fantastic looking finish to your clothes. Having a wrinkle-resistant shirt is very different from having one that has been professionally cleaned and pressed.
4. Lucille, Angora, and Faille! Oh my!
Although there are many easy-to-wear clothing lines, there are still those items, with the unpronounceable fabrics, that need a little extra attention. If you aren’t sure what the fabric is you should research it or bring it in and ask us. It’s our job to know how to clean a variety of items and fabrics. Besides strange fabrics you may just have an item that you shouldn’t try cleaning yourself. Neckties, suits, and blouses are notorious culprits. Just dabbing a stain on one of these items with water or home remedy can have disastrous results that are hard, if not impossible, to reverse. If you aren’t sure about something, play it safe. Take it to a professional.
5. It’s So Fluffy
That’s what most of us would like to say about our bed spreads–nice puffy comforter, mattress topper, pillow. A lot of these items can be cleaned at home. However, since we’re American (Uh-Mur-Uh-Kahn) we like things big and bold. You can often get away with washing a twin size comforter in your standard washing machine. But anything larger and you run into multiple complications. There’s no room for it to spin and actually get clean; it might shove all the filling to one side; worse yet, it might tear. Depending on your lifestyle, it is usually best to let us take care of it. We have the machinery and the ability to safely clean your household items. Whether you have a nice Pendleton wool blanket, a nice set of drapes, or a ginormous cloud-like bed spread we’re able to clean it all.
When can I order?
You may order anytime between 9am to 9pm on +917600409992 or even place order on WhatsApp. Booking must be done 1 day prior of pick up day to get discounts.
How Pick up will be done?
Our field executives shall call you before coming or as per your convince time said during order, pick up will be done.
Minimum Pick-up and Delivery charges?
Minimum order of bill amount above Rs. 100 must be there or else Rs. 30 delivery charges shall be taken. In other case, Delivery will be free.
When will I get back my clothes?
In normal scenario delivery will be done within 48 hours. If you want Premium laundry service then delivery will be done in 24 hours.