On occasion, I will receive drop-off laundry that has one or two pieces with oil stains. Is there anything available at the local supermarket or hardware store that I can use to remove these stains? If so, what is it, and how do you use it?

There are a few products you can use. Of course, they’re not as effective as commercial products on difficult stains, but they will work well on light oil stains.

Some of the more common products are Liquid Wisk and Spray ‘n Wash. In addition, any good liquid dishwashing detergent or detergent with citric oil will work.

The best way to use any of these products is to wet the garment first and then apply the product directly on the stain. Work the product gently into the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes (don’t let the garment dry) and then wash in the usual manner.

Inspect the garment after the first wash cycle to see if the stains came out. If not, repeat the process before drying. When an item is wet, it’s often difficult to tell if the entire oil stain was removed, so check again after drying.

I own a self-service laundry, and I want to start a pickup and delivery service for local office buildings and area companies. I would appreciate any advice you can give me in this regard.

First of all, establish a price per pound, or a minimum order charge. Next, establish weekly, biweekly, monthly and bimonthly pickup and delivery dates in the area that you wish to cover.

Your delivery time should coordinate with the pickup date for those accounts. In other words, you should deliver finished orders as you pick up new orders.

The only problem you’ll have will be with monthly or bimonthly accounts. Those should be handled and completed with the customers’ needs in mind. In most cases, those orders will be large enough to require – and justify – such special service.

Stay away from monthly pickups for smaller accounts. You can’t store small orders for 30 days. You can’t special deliver them. And you won’t make any money on them.

The best way to collect payment from your customers is to get paid upon delivery. After all, you won’t know exactly what to charge when you pick up the loads – unless you plan to carry a scale with you. (This could be done, but it certainly would be awkward.)

Next, you need to determine how to control what is being picked up and when to deliver the orders. The way to control this is to order cloth laundry bags of a different color for each pickup schedule. For example, weekly pickups could go in red bags, biweekly accounts in green bags, monthly pickups in blue bags and so on. This makes it easier to differentiate your varied accounts.

In addition, when ordering these bags, be sure the supplier prints the name of your business and phone number – and underneath your phone number, include a 2- by 12-inch white box. The purpose of this rectangular box is for entering your customer’s name or address for identification reasons. Also, be sure to purchase cotton bags, not nylon ones. Cotton ones will last much longer, and they tend to hold the print better.

Those are all of the fundamentals for getting a pickup and delivery business off the ground. Good luck.

I have 5,000 square feet of ceramic tile in my coin laundry. It has a non-slip surface that is hard to clean. What is an effective, inexpensive way to clean it without adding more soap and leaving streaks?

Most ceramic floors should be cleaned with an acid-based product, such as vinegar or chlorine bleach. Pour half of a cup of either one into a five-gallon bucket of warm water.

In addition, if you have a local distributor that sells commercial products, perhaps ask him for metasilicate, which is an alkaline – and is actually the opposite of an acid. However, this product also works well on ceramics, and it generally doesn’t streak. With this product, I would add a quarter of a cup to a five-gallon bucket of warm water. Metasilicate is also an excellent oil and grease remover.

Any of those three products will work nicely on your ceramic tile, and none of them leave an oily residue after mopping. Anything else is likely to leave streaks.

Another thing to consider: non-slip ceramic tile has impregnated grains that can really tear up a standard cotton mop. I recommend using a poly-nylon type of mop.


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