Originally posted – Dec 28, 2012

I have a wash-dry-fold customer who is a very heavy smoker. In the winter, it seems that the clothes he brings in are at their worst; even the plastic hamper he brings them in reeks of smoke. I have tried an odor-reducing fabric softener from my laundry supplier, but without much luck. The soaps and softeners I have tried are not able to cut the smell and leave a clean, fresh scent. Plus, he insists that we put his clothes back into his hamper that still smells, even after we clean it. What do you recommend?

There is a product called Exit that you can purchase from your local laundry supplier. It’s available in two forms – as a softener and as an odor-removing agent. This product really does the job when it comes to removing smoke odors. In fact, Exit is often used for fire restoration work to remove the smoke odor.

After using Exit, I would suggest adding a softener sheet during the drying cycle. Then, when folding and packaging the finished garments, be sure to place them in a sealed, plastic bag before returning them to the customer’s smelly, smoky hamper.

I run a very clean laundry. My attendants wash and polish my washers daily. But I’m having a problem cleaning the green and black mold off of the underneath portion of my rubber soap lids. What can I do?

First, buy a small, stiff bristle brush that’s about a half-inch to an inch wide, or else purchase a hard, bristle toothbrush.

Next, mix a solution of four ounces of OxiClean or Clorox with a half-gallon of hot water. Then brush the mold off using the solution. Follow this by using a standard spray bottle with warm water to spray the area clean.

Follow this procedure on a weekly basis, and you will keep the mold from returning.

I need new water heaters. I currently have the old, round heaters that are 25 years old. I’d like you opinion on the new energy-efficient water heating systems.

For the most part, new water heaters will save you on natural gas. But, remember, they save gas only on the gas used to heat the water, which is only about 20 percent to 25 percent of your total usage. So, don’t expect a huge drop in your gas bill. The older heaters were about 55 percent efficient, while the energy-efficient units are in the 90 percent efficiency range.

A word of caution: Be sure you look into the care and maintenance of any unit you might be considering. They newer systems are much more fragile and not all service technicians know how to repair them.

Do you have any insights into some of the common home insects – such as fleas, lice and bedbugs – that we read about so often? What issues do they pose for the self-service and drop-off laundry businesses? Beyond general insect treatment, are there any steps that we need to look into as an industry

There’s not much you can do except go through the general process of spraying around the washers and dryers. Most of the time, insects will come into your store with your customers’ laundry, and generally, as the garments are removed from the laundry bags and hampers, the bugs will drop off.

Fortunately, most of the general, all-purpose insect killers on the market will take care of them. There isn’t much to be concerned about, as long as you regularly spray around your laundromat using a quality insecticide.

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