Wash Day Laundry

Not just Another Laundromat

Suds 101

Our customers become upset if they don’t see lots of suds in their wash, and believe that adding more detergent is the solution.  Here is expert advise about suds — do suds equal cleaning power?

The right detergent makes a difference.

About 85 percent of people with front-loading washers use the wrong detergent, according to a study by Procter & Gamble. All front-loading washers are considered high-efficiency (HE) machines because they use less water and electricity, so they require a special HE detergent that generates less suds. (The major detergent brands now offer HE versions.) According to the Soap and Detergent Association, “HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing and quick-dispersing to get the best cleaning performance with HE washers.”

Our laundromats have only front-loading high efficiency equipment.  Use the correct detergent, not larger quantities of the wrong detergent.

ImageLess suds equals better cleaning.

“There’s a common misconception that suds do the cleaning,” says Lucinda Ottusch, senior home economist for the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science. But excess suds actually inhibit proper cleaning because they hold the soil in the water and redeposit it on clothes, rather than help it rinse away. Don’t use more than soap manufacturers recommend, and if you have a lightly soiled load, use less.

We have six smaller (2 load) Maytag washers called Neptunes at our Oak Hill store.  The “normal” wash cycle takes 36 minutes, but if too much detergent is used, the machine continues to rinse.  The cycle often lasts an additional 20 minutes, while showing 1 minute left on the display.  They are quirky machines, but the point is that almost everyone overuses detergent.

Even if you are a skeptic, try changing to the correct type of detergent for the machine you will be using; follow the instruction on the bottle, and don’t equate suds with cleaning power.

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Austin Green Business Leaders

Wash Day Laundry is proud to be a founder with the City of Austin’s Green Business Leaders program.  The premise of this program is to provide resources to bring awareness to the importance of sustainability.  The program offers resources to assist local businesses in assessing their “greenness”.  It is easy to sign up, and the participation from local businesses helps support Austin’s position as a green city.

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Wash Day Laundry, Oak Hill

Wash Day Laundry, Oak Hill

Clean, convenient, modern. Free wi-fi.

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“Best” of Austin

We are very excited to have won the Austin Chronicle's People's Choice Award for 2011 for Best Laundromat.
This is our third year in business and our third time winning this recognition. Ironically enough, we now
also have three locations!
So it makes me reflect on the significance of this honor.  As a small business, we are very aware of the
value of good PR.
We are incredibly proud of this recognition for many reasons: it is a boost to our employees to feel part
of something significant; we (the owners) feel as though we are doing it right (much of the time); but most
of all, this buoys our belief in our vision of running an environmentally responsible business that is an
asset to the community.  Because this recognition comes from that very community that our business revolves
around.
So we are humble, grateful, and once again excited about continuing to look for ways to improve and grow.
Thank you, Austin. We won't let you down.
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Water Conservation

Central Texas is in a Stage 2 drought.  Stage 3, which has never happened before, is looming.  For those of you using wells, you are probably urgently looking for ways to conserve water.  Even if you have city water, it is incumbent upon all of us to conserve.

When looking for conservation options, it goes without saying that your first priority is household use such as cooking, bathing, and personal care.

Laundry is something that is easy to outsource, with significant benefits to the community.  There are two options – take it to a laundromat and wash it yourself OR drop  off your laundry for wash & fold service.  A modern commercial laundry will have high-efficiency front-loading washers, saving the community half  the amount of water used in your home washer or top loaders in a laundromat.

There are other benefits as well – it will take you a lot less time to wash and dry, so enjoy that extra free time!  We offer a load and leave service, allowing you to load up all your washers, add detergent, and let us move everything to the dryer.  More leisure time, or a quick way to catch up on errands!

 

 

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Running a Green Laundry Business

A well-run laundry is an asset to any community. These days “well run” does not only mean clean. It means establishing and maintaining an environmentally responsible business. Some facets of this goal may be realized by educating customers; other decisions require the owner’s financial investment and perhaps a change in mindset. In the end, it all pays off.
Water Usage
The laundry business presents many opportunities to embrace and lead the green movement, starting with water usage. Modern front-loading high-efficiency washers save local water authorities more than half the water used by older commercial washers or home washing machines.
An owner’s first commitment might be to upgrade old top loaders. Even refurbished front loaders will save money on utility bills. Look for the Energy Star rating for equipment that will minimize water and energy use.
Revisit the temperature setting you use for your washers. Ideally, warm water will be 110 degrees if your hot water setting is at 130 degrees. This hot water setting is the minimum acceptable standard used by the medical industry to kill germs and bacteria.
Let your customers know that washing in cold or warm water is effective, and that hot water is only necessary for heavily soiled items. Also, it is most economical to wash a full load of clothing, not just a few items.
Dryers
Check the length of time your dryers are set to run. Modern dryer technology is similar to a convection oven in your home. Dryers use more air and fewer BTUs, drying clothes evenly and with a softer finish; thus there is less need for dryer sheets. Newer equipment uses approximately 40 percent less fuel.
Encourage customers not to over-dry their clothing. Dryer sheets can get caught in the dryer motors and increase repair costs. Don’t open the dryers while they are running because it takes time for the temperature to warm up again, ultimately resulting in longer drying times.
Keep lint traps clean for more effective air circulation. Clean your dryer vents regularly to lessen drying times and decrease CO2 emissions.
Products
Wash & Fold service is an opportunity for owners to establish standard operating procedures and tightly manage processes. The higher your percentage of Wash & Fold business, the more you can control costs.
Educating customers is an ongoing process. Start with small steps and easy tips. When it comes to most products, less is more. Modern high-efficiency washers only require half the amount of detergent recommended on the label. It is not desirable to see a washer full of bubbles. Even some detergents labeled “eco-friendly” have fillers, giving them a thick consistency. Some other tips:
• Brands with the fewest ingredients are best. Avoid NPE chemicals.
• Softeners are not necessary. Try using ¾ cup of white vinegar added during the rinse cycle. It is less expensive and just as effective, but without additives.
• There is no need for multiple dryer sheets.
• Chlorine bleach should be replaced with a peroxide product. Try borax or dry oxygen bleach. There are several non-chlorine whitening products on the market.
• Enzymes are very effective for stain removal. Lemon juice, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are also options.
• Purchase wash & fold bags made of biodegradable plastic.
Infrastructure
When was the last time you looked at your store as though you were a new customer? We all remember our brand new or newly renovated Laundromats and how fresh they looked. Take a critical look at your store now. What changes can you make that will be environmentally friendly?
• Research window film options. A high quality polyester film, embedded with reflective metal particles, bounces back 78 percent of the solar energy. Consider installing film onto the windows that face south and west.
• Add window blinds. Combined with window film, solar blinds made from recyclable fabric have no PVC or off-gassing, and can decrease your air conditioning costs.
• Consider installing a commercial tankless hot water system. These systems heat water only as it is needed, so no energy is lost by storing pre-heated water in a holding tank.
• Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They use 75% less energy, last 10 times longer, and release less heat.
• If you add a new coat of paint, select a brand with zero volatile organic compounds.
• Evaluate the cleaning products you use. Clean using cloth towels instead of paper.
• Check the temperate settings for your air conditioning and heat. Rather than turning your HVAC system off when you close, raise or lower the settings by about 5 degrees. Recommended settings are 78 degrees for air conditioning, and 68 degrees for heat.
• Open the doors if it is a nice day outside. Nothing is better than fresh air!
• If you do not already have ceiling fans, consider having them installed. Choose switches with multiple speed settings so you can adjust and even out the temperature in different parts of your store.
• Keep your equipment in good repair so it will run at peak efficiency. Don’t wait until things break. Have a trusted and competent repair person continuously check your equipment proactively.
• Buy recycled toilet paper and paper towels to stock your store. Purchase non-toxic cleaning products, and select chemical free detergent for your wash & fold service.
• Consider updating any mechanical system with a SEER rating less than 14.
• Most importantly, select your equipment carefully. Modern commercial laundry equipment is designed with the environment in mind. The April edition of American Coin-op reports that the number one problem for laundry owners is high cost of utilities.

Community
It is incumbent upon us to be an asset to our community. Engage with local civic organizations and let them know that your store is a location that will accept clothing donations on their behalf. Donate unclaimed clothing to local charities.
Recycle hangers. Used hangers work well for hang-drying clothes.
Rather than subscribing to new publications, ask your customers to bring in the magazines they have already read.
Place recycle bins around your store, and encourage customers to use them to recycle detergent bottles, water bottles, newspapers and magazines. These adjustments will help create an environment that promotes sustainability.
Attendants
Your attendants are often the face of your business; they should model the behavior you desire. Don’t expect them to engage in a conversation about using less detergent or not opening a dryer while it is running, unless you can show them a professional and comfortable way to begin that conversation. Take small steps towards educating your customers. Start with customers who are already using high-efficiency detergents, since they are likely to be open to hearing conservation tips. Post helpful hints around the store. Install a bulletin board with useful information. Encourage customers to post their own suggestions.
Take the lead role in educating your employees and customers. Be vocal about your business model throughout the community. Be sure all your advertising consistently reflects your vision and mission. Your goal should be to lower utility costs to 9%-12% of gross monthly income. If you follow these simple guidelines, your business will be more profitable, environmentally responsible, and an asset to your community.

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Laundromats and Water Conservation

During 2010 Wash Day Laundry in Austin, Texas, used approximately 1.2 million gallons of water. The good news is that we saved the community just over 1 million gallons of water.
One of the advantages of using a Laundromat, besides saving you time, is that the new high-efficiency commercial laundry equipment uses about 45% less water than home washers or equipment in older Laundromats.
Our mission is to be environmentally responsible, and water is a precious resource. Help us get the word out.  If you know anyone who needs to use a Laundromat, encourage them to choose one with newer equipment.

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To dry clean or to launder, that is the question.

During my days in Corporate America when I traveled frequently and had the benefit of an expense account, I visited my neighborhood dry cleaner every week.  They would ask me, “Is this dry cleaning or laundry?’  My answer was, “I don’t know.  Don’t you know?”  I didn’t understand the difference, and trusted they would process my clothing correctly.

Having the benefit of hindsight, most of the items being dry cleaned could have been laundered.  But I wanted them ready to pack again at a moment’s notice, pressed, and in a plastic bag.   I didn’t know that a full service laundromat could have done the same thing, with a number of other benefits.

So why do we take items to the dry cleaners when they can be washed?  Here are some common reasons:

  • We don’t know the difference between the laundry and dry cleaning processes
  • We don’t read the care labels
  • We want that professional pressed look that we are accustomed to getting from our dry cleaners 
  • We believe only dry cleaners can remove stains
  • We go to the same dry cleaners out of habit
  • We don’t know where there is a full service laundromat

Here are some facts to consider:

  • You will save money in the long run.  The price of a shirt may be similar, but over time the savings will add up, especially for items such as comforters
  • In the case of our store, we use non-toxic cleaning products–detergent, enzymes, degreaser, oxygen cleaner, and peroxide bleach.  No worries about chemicals in your clothing
  • Your items will come back professionally pressed and bagged
  • Everything is processed on site, allowing for quick turnaround times

For the average consumer, this decision boils down to a lack of understanding or habit.  The fact is that you can take your items to a full service laundromat, and they will be returned to you just as clean and pressed as they will from a dry cleaner.

Our laundry has a partnership with an eco-friendly dry cleaner.  So if an item really does need to be dry cleaned, we are not compromising our promise of chemical-free cleaning.

So, to dry clean or to launder…now you have some facts to consider.

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Did you know?

• Using self-service laundries greatly reduces the overall level of water consumption in your community
• Home washing machines typically consume 30-40 gallons of water per wash load, or 2.5 to 3.0 gallons per pound of clothes laundered. High-efficiency commercial clothes washers found in self-service laundries typically use as little as 0.5 to 1.5 gallons of water per pound of clothes laundered
• Commercial clothes washers are designed by manufacturers to deliver superior washing results while consuming the absolute minimum volume of water
• Utilities are the single greatest expense for the operation of self-service laundries. Laundry owners are driven by profitability to install the most efficient equipment possible for their customers
• By washing clothes at the local Laundry, residents in drought-stricken areas will save at least half of the water they would typically use at home
• The average commercial Laundry saves their community millions of gallons of water over the course of one year
• Further water savings are achieved in self-service laundries as consumers launder full loads of clothes, whereas home launderers tend to underload washers and unnecessarily waste water
• Typical self-service laundries present even greater water savings by offering large-capacity washers that can wash multiple loads of laundry at a fraction of the water consumption. Wash Day has washers as large as an 80lb capacity which enables a customer to launder eight loads in a single machine
• The typical household washes 400 load of laundry a year
• Self-service laundries provide a basic public health service to the community. The commercial laundry industry serves many lower income residents who cannot afford to own and operate their own washers and dryers
• During times of water shortage and drought, self-service laundries are a significant way for communities to conserve water
Wash Day Laundry is self and full service and offers wash & fold, professional hand pressing, and pick-up & delivery services. Their Oak Hill location serves as a pick-up point for non-toxic dry cleaning by EcoClean. Enjoy free wifi, Arcade table games, cable television and a massage chair while you wait!

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Reinventing the Laundromat

The Laundromat of the 21st century is going to be new, improved and loaded with services.

Ask the average person to describe their last visit to the local laundromat and don’t be surprised to hear things like “dirty”, “dingy”, “broken-down”, “old”, “machines out of order”, “change machines broken”, “no-one to help me”, or “ancient equipment”.  So the already annoying and tedious chore of doing laundry just became worse…

Contrast the scene above with the cheery atmosphere of a television ad for detergent or a washing machine — happy carefully dressed housewives, shiny new equipment, smiling & relaxed people merrily folding fluffy towels–it’s almost a spa atmosphere.

There’s a disconnect.  Enter: Wash Day Laundry

What a great opportunity to offer customers an unforgettable laundry experience. 

Start by opening the door; offering a pleasant and sincere greeting; helping carry laundry into the store, and explaining how the equipment works.

Offer suggestions on how best to sort and wash clothing.  Make yourself available to answer questions.  Capture childrens’ attention by showing them the video choices.

Thank the customer for coming by.  Remember to use their name!  Let them know that their business is appreciated.

If a customer appears rushed or frustrated, explain other services you offer that can save them time.

We’ve built our menu of services around what our customers need.  It’s not business as usual at Wash Day Laundry!

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