RICHMOND, Ky. — With all of the challenges facing laundries today, from labor issues to inflation, it’s vital for operations to be able to provide quality goods as efficiently as possible.
Laundry chemistry can be a key component in the process.
Four chemical company representatives shared strategies for maximizing the outcomes of chemical usage in laundry operations during the recent Association for Linen Management (ALM) webinar Chemical Solutions.
VALIDATION OF THE LAUNDRY PROCESS
Eli Cryderman, regional vice president of corporate accounts for Gurtler Industries in South Holland, Illinois, concluded the webinar with a look at the importance of validating of laundry processes.
“You’re saying yourself why do I need to validate my process? We’ve already got a third-party registration. I use EPA-registered products. I follow the current best practices,” he says. “I’m saying that’s great, but how healthy is your laundry?
“Are there other things to consider that could make you more efficient while still maintaining your health, still maintaining your hygienically clean linen? The answer is yes.”
Cryderman says that by incorporating microbial analysis beyond the finished product and looking more at the entire process, managers can have a more in-depth understanding of the processes that are going on in the laundry and make improvements to work with formulas more efficiently, have more effective and judicious use of chemistry, and lower overall operating costs.
“We’ve got linen, and everybody’s probably testing linen for hygienically clean, but if we consider our washing equipment, we like to look at our rinse waters,” he says. “We can titrate for microbial load, but if we test, we start to have a profile. Our goods can only be as clean as the last water they’re in.”
“Understanding our microbial load in the tunnels during our wash process is key. Are we incorporating some sort of tunnel sanitization procedure or equipment sanitization procedure, especially in older equipment? Some of the newer equipment has that built-in functionality, but some of the older stuff doesn’t.”
Is the laundry doing preventive maintenance with an eye toward hygienically clean? Are post-wash handling systems, whether conveyors or slings, checked to see how dirty those are?
“It could be that, yes, we’re still producing hygienically clean linen, but can we do it more efficiently?” Cryderman asks. “And we found that we definitely can.”
While laundries are looking for ways to save water, he points out that water reuse systems are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes.
“It’s usually they’re warm, not hot enough to kill the bugs,” Cryderman says. “There’s soil and water to feed on, and sometimes it’s in hard-to-reach places like under a tunnel or out of sight.
“So, we want to make sure that we’re incorporating our cleaning procedures in our monthly PMs because if we’re adding bio-organisms back into the tunnel because our reuse systems are contaminated, that’s just more bugs we have to kill with time, temperature, energy or chemicals.
“The healthier we can get our laundry, the easier it is, and cheaper, to achieve hygienically clean textiles.”
Regular sanitizing of the equipment, incorporating a disinfection program and regular preventative maintenance, the laundry that is better at those efforts has an easier time achieving hygienically clean linen and keeping it that way, he says.
“But we have to remember that the validation of that process is the key,” Cryderman points out. “Just like in Tommy Boy, the guarantee on the box doesn’t mean anything if the product doesn’t work.”
When it comes to recent supply-chain issues, he says operations can reduce costs associated with textile replacement by incorporating a fluid-repellant product in their process.
“It’s also key to incorporate that process for your customers to verify that we’re providing you reusable barrier garments that meet the water-repellency process parameters,” shares Cryderman.
“Much like we’re testing for bugs, we do the same thing with our barrier garments or surgical garments where we can say yes, I have a quality-control system in place where we’re taking samples throughout the day and testing and making sure that we’re going to be providing you with barrier garments that perform as promised.
“We don’t need to be setting up a crazy QC system where we’re testing thousands of garments a day, and we don’t want to be doing it once a quarter, but a reasonable QC program in conjunction with your restoration barrier process is going to give your customer peace of mind.”
Cryderman concludes by reminding operators that it’s important to validate the processes used in a plant, “The end goal being to be able to produce a hygienically clean linen to the customer as efficiently as we can.”
Read Part 1 on redefining the wash pie by clicking HERE. Part 2 on bioactive/enzyme performance activators can be read HERE. And click HERE to read Part 3 on flexible, holistic solutions.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected] .