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Wash Chemistry and Its Impact on Linen Life

By Al Adcock, VP of Sales and Marketing at B&C Technologies

During the wash process, laundry chemicals are introduced to aid in the removal of stains, oils, and other contaminants found in the goods.  Under normal circumstances, the chemicals used in the wash process are properly dosed and adequately rinsed.  If not managed properly, the chemicals can cause damage to the goods and shorten their service life.

Here are some things to watch out for in your laundry process that can reduce the lifespan of your textiles:

Proper sorting of the goods  Failing to sort the laundry into classes (light soil, medium soil, severe soil) will have a detrimental effect on your operation.  If lightly soiled goods are subjected to a heavy wash formula, the extended mechanical action and the higher dosage of detergents and bleach will reduce the life expectancy of the textiles.  Similarly, washing heavily soiled items with lightly soiled goods will simply ensure that these heavy soil items are washed over and over again, looping them through the wash process.  This inefficient loop will wear the goods more quickly, remove them from normal service, and take up space in your wash process.


Overloading the washer-extractor  Overloading the washer with goods can mean that water and chemicals won’t be able to adequately reach all the goods.  Mechanical action will also be reduced, further decreasing the effectiveness of the wash.  Finally, when these poorly laundered goods face the heat of the dryer or ironer, stains can be set.  These goods must then be sent to a reclaim wash, which is much more aggressive than a standard wash further reducing their lifespan.

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Improper pH levels after final rinse  If the pH level of the goods is not near-neutral after washing, yellowing can occur.  Bleach carryover, caused by too much bleach or not enough rinsing is a common fault.  High alkalinity, usually caused by adding too much sour, can cause a reaction that forms dissolved salts in the wash solution.  These salts are then deposited in the roll padding of the ironer, clogging it and resulting in poor moisture removal and an inefficient ironing process.

Although this is a simple overview, using these guidelines in your preventative maintenance program and your general laundry management will help to increase linen life and reduce consumption of water and wash chemicals, ultimately increasing your profits.


About the Author:

Al Adcock is VP of Sales and Marketing at B&C Technologies.   He is an industry veteran with over 24 years of experience, working for different manufacturers in many different capacities before helping launch B&C Technologies in 2000. Adcock has played an instrumental role in the design of several machines on the market before moving to sales in 2013.

Based in Panama City Beach, FL, B&C Technologies is a family-owned customer-focused company that builds the highest quality laundry equipment at the most competitive prices. All B&C equipment relies on engineering-driven designs to produce machines that consistently perform and constantly produce.