I own a self-service laundry, and one of my clients is our local high school. We wash the football team’s uniforms during the season.

We’re located in “red dirt country,” which presents its own challenges when it comes to getting those uniforms clean. However, last season, the school changed the color of its uniforms from blue to white, and we really had a tough time cleaning those white ones. Do you have any suggestions for me before next football season rolls around?

You need a “built” type of detergent, which is a product that contains alkali and other soil-release agents that effectively remove and suspend different types of soils.

If the uniform fabric is cotton, you also need a high-quality chlorine bleach. Or, if the uniforms are synthetic, you should purchase a good color-safe bleach. In addition, add an agent called a “sour” to the final rinse of the wash cycle to help neutralize the pH within the fabric of the uniforms.

Lastly, be sure to wash the uniforms in hot water, as the higher temperature will help those cleaning chemicals work more effectively. This should get those white uniforms looking like new for the next game.

My daughter is entered in an upcoming beauty pageant, and I want her clothes to smell good. I currently use dryer sheets, but I don’t really care for the scent on any of them. What can I do?

My suggestion is to place two or three drops of your favorite perfume onto a dryer sheet, and let it dry completely onto the sheet. Then, place the dryer sheet into the dryer with the pageant garments. This should give those items a better scent.

I just purchased an existing vended laundry, which I plan to reequip. What is the best way to go about this store upgrade? Should I close the laundromat and install all of the new equipment at once, or should I piecemeal this project over a period of time?

I would do a little bit at a time. It will be more costly to upgrade your store this way, but it will allow you to maintain your current customer base. The main problem with changing out all of the equipment at once is the fact that you have to close your laundry. When you close up, your customers are forced to go elsewhere to do their laundry. How many of them will come back to you once you reopen? And how many will simply continue to do their laundry wherever they ended up doing their washing while you were closed? Personally, I wouldn’t take that chance.

I own a full-service laundromat, and we do a steady wash-dry-fold business. I’m wondering if there is something available commercially that is as effective as – but less expensive than – Tide. P&G products are some of the most expensive, but they also represent a visible sign of quality to the consumer and the traditional scent is associated with “clean.” I don’t want to make a change that places this segment of my business at risk.

If you have a successful wash-dry-fold business going, I wouldn’t change it. After all, your chemical costs are quite small in comparison to the costs of your utilities and labor.

Commercial products can do a better job of removing stains, but they don’t have that popular “aroma factor,” which you mentioned. They are formulated to remove stains, and they do a much better job at it than any retail products.

My advice is to use both types of products. Use Tide or some other retail detergent for general washing, and use commercial products on heavily soiled laundry with tougher stains.

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