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Dry Cleaning Needs Detergent Too.

Monday, April 5, 20104 comments

I have been in the dry cleaning industry almost 25 years.  Before my life as a chemical/soap salesman, I owned and operated a One Hour Martinizing dry cleaning plant in Smyrna, GA.  As an owner, I always tried to give my customers the best product possible.  I would change filters at proper intervals, pre-spot garments, use a Fabric Finish in the dry cleaning machine and even more importantly, used a detergent at the manufacturers recommended concentration.  So, why am I telling you this.  Here goes.
Today I received a call from a local dry cleaning plant owner to tell me that he was going to discontinue using a detergent, because he was having a problem with his still cooking down.  He had called his equipment distributor who upon discussion had decided that the 2 ounces of detergent he was adding per load (he should have been using 10) was probably the culprit.  After all, they were doing about 4 loads (8 ounces) a day.  I say that sarcastically.  Come on people, what the heck is that?
So, upon further discussion with the customer, I am trying to ask questions and come up with the real reason his still isn't distilling.  Come to find out, it had a vacuum leak and was not pulling enough vacuum (hydrocarbon machine).  So much for the soap problem.
As a soap salesman over the years, you kind of become used to the fact that many dry cleaners do not use a detergent, but you have to wonder what are they thinking and what would their customers think if they knew their clothes were being cleaned without a detergent.  I have seen many plant owners, mechanics and equipment salesman alike, that just do not understand that a detergent used properly plays a major role in the fabricare process.  It is not detrimental to the operation of the machine, in fact it enhances the cleaning coming from the machine. It helps to prevent static and lint, suspend soils, prevent redeposition and manage moisture. Imagine doing your laundry without a detergent. Your dry cleaning need it too!
All I am saying, the dry cleaning industry is having some tough times, just like many other industries are, the dry cleaning consumer deserves a quality product and would probably be shocked (literally from the static electricity), if they knew you weren't using a detergent in the cleaning of their clothes. Use detergents at the proper concentrations, if you do not know what that is, contact your manufacturers rep, he can help you to get the optimum results from those products or talk with your distributor sales rep, they are very knowledgeable in the use of theses products as well. And if you really want to take your quality up another notch, use a fabric finish in the machine, one of the most visible improvements you can choose to do.


Richmond Dry Cleaning said...

Hey, very good article. An article from an experienced person is always interesting to read.

Anonymous said...

Does drycleaning with hydrocarbons kill bedbugs?

Michael Miller said...

Yes, I would recommend drying the garments at a minimum of 120F, 135-140 would be even better. Dry for at least 20 minutes. See my post at for more information.


Anonymous said...

how do you control moisture? is Street brand better than other brand out there?

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