Laundry chemicals are only one factor of the equation needed to achieve optimal results in a commercial or on-premise laundry.

The basic laundering operation is a physical-chemical process with four controlling elements:

  1. Temperature

  2. Mechanical Action

  3. Time

  4. Chemicals (type and level)

Although water is another important factor, it is something that laundry operations have little control over except for its temperature and hardness.

Because the four major factors are all interrelated, an increase in any one of these will generally increase cleaning efficiency.  Conversely , a decrease in any one will decrease cleaning efficiency.  Laundry operators must keep in mind that every one of these factors has a cost associated with it.

Temperature: Keeping all other factors constant while reducing temperature will certainly lead to lower cleaning efficiency.   With this in mind the question then becomes: Can we adjust some of the other factors to compensate for this loss of cleaning efficiency due to loss of temperature?  Yes, but how we compensate and how we adjust is not so simple, especially when all of the cost parameters are taken into account.

Since every laundry plant is different, what is good for one may not be good for another.  Each plants operations should be thoroughly analyzed before any changes are implemented.

Mechanical Action: increasing mechanical action will compensate to some extent for running at a lower temperature.  However, washing equipment is designed for operation at an optimum capacity and to deliver a certain amount of mechanical action.  Short of buying a new machine, there is little that a laundry operator can do about mechanical action in the wash-wheel, except adjust the loading.

Time: increasing the time of the operation will also compensate to some extent for washing at lower temperatures.  But time is money.  If an average wash formula takes an hour and it was increased by seven minutes over an eight hour day, this could mean only seven washes per day – a reduction of about 12.5% in the amount of work processed.

Chemicals: Effective cleaning can be achieved at lower temperatures with existing chemicals, but higher levels of these chemicals will have to be used.  The exact amount of the increase for any particular laundry plant will vary.  Anyone who is contemplating to going to lower temperature must weight the potential energy savings against an increased usage and cost of chemicals.

An increased use of chemicals may also lead to longer rinses and more rinses.

Understanding how the washing process works is a necessary step in choosing a chemical supplier:

Your chemical supplier should be knowledgeable in the type of linen that you are washing.

Your chemical supplier should be knowledgeable in the equipment that you are using.  Do they know how to alter a program or enter a new program into your washing machine?

Your chemical supplier should be knowledgeable in your process.  Temperature and hardness of water available, wash cycle time requirements and degree of soiling must be taken into account.

If any of these factors are not properly addressed, optimal results will not be achieved.