Originally posted – Aug 30, 2012

ballpoint pen clipartAt my small laundromat, I often have a problem with customers washing and drying their clothes with ballpoint pens in the pockets. This has created a major staining problem in my dryer drums. I have used rubbing alcohol and hair spray to remove these stains with some success, but it’s a lot of work. Do you have any better suggestions?

There is a product called Ink-Out that your local distributor might carry. It’s easy to use and made specifically to remove ink. You just have to apply it to a cloth and wipe, and then follow up with a dry cloth to remove any residue.

After cleaning off the ink – regardless of the type of solvent or alcohol-based product you used – I would suggest running a dryer load of damp clothes just to make sure that your dryer drum is completely clean.

Of course, be careful when using any product to clean out your dryer drums. Be sure the pilot light is off and that the electricity to that particular dryer, as well as the dryers adjacent to it, is turned off. After all, most of today’s ink removers carry fumes that are quite combustible.

I do a great deal of drop-off laundry, and I don’t have any problems removing stains. However, I’ve been having a lot of problems with odors lately. I had my drains rodded out and flushed with chlorine bleach and Lysol, but that didn’t help. The garments have a very putrid scent to them, but the really annoying aspect of this is that the odor doesn’t occur with every order. What is the problem?

More than likely, the garments in question are manufactured in Asia, as many of the countries there use different dying methods that can release certain odors, which can remain for nearly the entire life of the garments.

If the dying procedure is not the problem, it may be the shipping and packaging. Some garments are packaged in polyethylene plastic, and if this packaging is sitting in a warm, damp environment for a long period of time, it can create an odor that is almost impossible to eliminate. Polyethylene manufacturers in the United States use odor inhibitors, and therefore U.S. garments won’t react in the same manner.

For your problem, I would recommend soaking the garments using an odor eliminator, which you can buy from your local supplies distributor. One excellent and easy-to-use product is called Laundry Exit. If your supplier doesn’t carry an odor eliminator, you can simply buy Febreze or a similar product at your local supermarket.

After soaking the affected garments in warm water for an hour or so, wash them in a normal cycle, but add the odor eliminator in with your detergent – use about three ounces for every 10 pounds of laundry. That’s should eliminate your odor problems.

I recently purchased a coin laundry through a broker and got totally ripped off. The numbers were completely off. The store wasn’t doing the volume I was told it was doing, and the expenses were misrepresented. What do I do?

My suggestion is to get an attorney who specializes in fraudulent accounting. He or she can examine the business’ tax statements for prior years. At this point, that’s really you’re only hope.

In the future, deal only with brokers who have good reputations and who specialize in the coin laundry industry. General brokers are interested only in selling, not consulting. And they typically don’t have the knowledge of the particular businesses that they’re representing.

In addition, always employ the services of a qualified accountant who understands the laundry business so that he or she can ask the right questions and look at all of the figures properly.

Lastly, be sure to get a certified financial statement – and the magic word here is “certified.” This locks in responsibility, accountability and a guarantee by the accountant who prepares it.

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