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Senior Care Community Ensures Laundry is Disinfected

Managers say equipment, cleaning/disinfecting mix just right to satisfy both residents, employees

WALLA WALLA Wash. — OddFellows Home, located here, is dedicated to providing superior care and services to senior residents, right down to laundering their underwear. 

The community’s energy-efficient on-premises laundry, which is continuously improved and maintained, outputs impressive productivity and high-quality results, according to Laundry Supervisor Selma Castillo. Behind the scenes, it properly cleans and disinfects approximately 880 pounds of soiled linen and personal items per day.

At OddFellows, it’s all about providing the best possible care and services to residents and patients, according to Castillo. 

“My goal is to have things nice and clean and looking good for our residents,” she says. 

A 28-year staff member, Castillo feels proud of OddFellows’ caring culture.

Established in 1897, OddFellows is the only nonprofit in Walla Walla to provide independent apartments, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. Its on-premises laundry blends old and new laundry equipment and technology in a sensible, effective manner. 

Integrity Laundry Solutions, a local provider of laundry equipment, chemicals and parts, is Castillo’s go-to for everything from new equipment and chemicals, to ozone systems, maintenance and repairs. 

EFFECTIVE LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT LINEUP

The laundry features a lineup of Continental Girbau Inc. soft-mount washers and complementing dryers, including three 55- and two 60-pound capacity washers, one 20-pound capacity washer, and six 75-pound capacity dryers. 

“Amazingly, three of the large washers are 23 years old,” says Castillo. 

The machines were manufactured and installed in 1996, according to their serial numbers. 

“They are still workhorses,” adds Rob Grandstaff, director of environmental services. “We maintain them, and it’s like having a good car. You get the life out of it.”

The entire Continental washer set—new and old—features soft-mount designs for simple installation, flexible programmability and high-extract speeds reaching up to 400 G-force, according to Integrity’s Michael Tompkins. 

The high-extract speeds remove more water when compared with lower G-force models, he said. This reduces dry time and resulting gas consumption, and in the end, allows OddFellows to complete more laundry loads per day. 

“Saturday, we did 26 loads of laundry,” Castillo shares. “It typically ranges between 20 and 26.”

OZONE INJECTION DISINFECTS GOODS

To ensure disinfection of laundered items, OddFellows’ laundry recently invested in an Aquawing Variable Injection Ozone System. Working seamlessly with the Continental washers, Aquawing validates that mandatory levels of ozone are reached and maintained within the wash wheel, according to Tompkins. 

Because ozone works best in cold water and requires less chemical to remove stains, odors, dirt and grease, it improves laundry energy-efficiency and lowers water heating and chemical costs, he says. 

Additionally, the Aquawing system is clinically proven to eliminate more than 99% of bacteria and viruses, including superbugs like MRSA, HIV and C. diff. In a nutshell, the addition of ozone ensures disinfection, which is critical in a residential care environment. 

However, many other benefits have resulted as well, according to Castillo. 

“Now we don’t need to rewash or pre-spot,” she says. “To me, the combination of ozone and fewer chemicals allows us to satisfy residents without cutting any corners. There is no residue left on laundry, which is great for our residents with sensitive skin and allergies.”

“Because we use less chemical, the product comes out at a really good pH, so we don’t have the skin rashes we used to get with harsher chemicals and no ozone,” agrees Grandstaff. “Ozone has reduced rewashes considerably and clothes smell so fresh. Residents love it.”

SIMPLE EQUIPMENT OPERATION, PROGRAMS

The laundry operators, who are responsible for sorting, loading, folding and hanging laundry, also love the operation. 

Tompkins preprogrammed the Continental washers to automatically combine the right number of baths, chemicals, water temperatures and levels, with the appropriate mechanical action, to achieve optimal results no matter the soil level. 

At OddFellows’ laundry, the washers are set up with programs for light, medium and heavy soil, as well as a simple rinse-and-spin. Everything from personal items to sheets, gowns, rags, towels and blankets are quickly and efficiently cleaned and disinfected. 

Operators just load, enter a program number and press start.

In the end, the laundry’s simple operation, ozone disinfection, energy-efficiency and productivity combine to deliver a high-quality product that further strengthens OddFellows’ caring culture.