Wash Day Laundry

Not just Another Laundromat

An asset to the community

Small locally owned businesses are the backbone of our communities.  We all need access to basic services such as restaurants, libraries, hospitals, churches, schools, day care, pet services, grocery stores, garages for automotive repair, and pharmacies.  We believe that a laundromat is a basic community necessity.  For those of us who own washers and dryers at home, laundromats are something we don’t think about until one of our machines break down.  If we’re lucky, the repairs are completed within a week.  In most cases, we are not that lucky, and we need to seek out a laundromat, which we may not have visited since college days.

Many families live in areas where they do not have an onsite washer and dryer or perhaps the one they share is not adequate for large items, or it may be busy all the time.  Then a laundromat becomes a very vital part of their week.

We want to provide an environment that is friendly, clean, efficient, helpful, and convenient.  So we always have an attendant, we offer free WiFi, we are open every day from 7 am – 9 pm, and we have an array of services to choose from.

We believe that a laundromat is a community necessity, and we like to think that our three laundromats are an asset to the communities they serve.

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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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Founders Day, Dripping Springs TX

Founder’s Day starts Friday night with a small town parade.  It’s a great event, attended by the entire community.  There are 75 or so floats creatively assembled by local businesses.  The Mayor, police, paramedics and firefighters are there.  There are always a few floats led by animals, and plenty of floats piled high with excited schoolchildren. Strains of various types of music drift through the air.  Each year has a different  theme, and the judges award trophies to the top three winners.  Children are tightly squeezed into the front row of spectators, hoping to catch candy or other goodies being thrown from the floats.  Orange-vested adults march alongside, keeping a watchful eye for overly eager children along the mile plus parade route.

I wonder how many Americans have been able to enjoy this relic of our past.  It is a tribute to the fine community of Dripping Springs that this tradition continues.  May we have another safe and enjoyable parade this weekend.

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Why take up your valuable time doing laundry?

We offer several services:

Wash & fold: Too busy to spend hours washing laundry? Wash Day Laundry does the dirty work to free up your valuable time

Pick-up & delivery: With a $40 minimum order, Wash Day Laundry will pick-up and deliver your laundry and bedding throughout the Austin area

Load & leave: Start your machine(s), give your card/coins to the Attendant (along with a $5 charge), and we move everything to the dryer

Leave & fold:  Start your machine(s), give your card/coins to the Attendant, and we dry and fold your items

Self-Service Laundry: If you prefer washing your own laundry, try our new, modern and clean Laundromats in south Austin and Wimberley. Our Laundromats have large, commercial, energy-efficient washers and dryers.

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Wash Day Laundry, Oak Hill

Wash Day Laundry, Oak Hill

Clean, convenient, modern. Free wi-fi.

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Don’t stop the dryer!

It should take 35 minutes for an average load of clothes to dry.  BUT, if you open the dryer during the cycle, the machine cools down and then has to restart, which costs you at least a couple of minutes.  So if you open the dryer twice during the 35 minutes, you might lose up to 5 minutes or a fair percentage of your initial time.  It is like baking a cake – LEAVE THE DOOR CLOSED.  If an item needs just a quick dry, hang it up instead.  And expect to need a longer drying time if you have towels and jeans in the load.

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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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