Water opportunity (Article preview) 28 Aug 2018

We are reminded daily that we are squandering the finite resources that the Earth has on offer. While there’s a distinct move away from harmful chemicals and allied products, which in the case of laundry means more use of water-based solutions, water itself is a precious resource. 

And it’s for this reason that the industry has worked towards developing frugal water consumptive processes. Indeed, modern wetcleaning machines offer controls that safely and efficiently clean a wide variety of garments; that with good detergents and spot removers can be as safe and effective at removing soils, stains and odours as drycleaning solvents. So what’s on offer? Adam Bernstein reports.

Water opportunity september lct

Dane Realstar 

Nicholas Higgs, partner and sales and service manager at Dane Realstar, thinks that wetcleaning really is a green alternative to traditional dr ycleaning processes. He says that “current systems allow wetcleaning of garments and textiles that have traditionally been dryclean only.” He’s firmly of the belief that “with specially designed equipment and detergents you should be able to achieve outstanding results.” 

As Higgs notes, wetcleaning dates back to the 1890’s before drycleaning became fashionable: “Traditionally, most drycleaners have offered a laundry service in their shops, using drycleaning for the items considered unsuitable for laundering.” He adds that interest in wetcleaning was renewed in the 1990’s. He says that wetcleaning can provide perfect protection for the fabric and for the environment. It’s his understanding that a washing cycle uses 30 per cent less water than conventional machines and can clean at 20°C, reducing energy consumption by 50 per cent. 

However, he adds a note of caution: “It must be remembered that low temperature washing without the antibacterial product will not destroy bacterial deposits in the clothing. Also, waste water and detergents go straight down the drain, resulting in the possible contamination of waterways and ultimately oceans, with microscopic particles in the washing process.” It’s for these reasons that he says that wetcleaning requires experienced operators with a background in textile care to avoid damaging garments and compensation claims. 

One benefit of wetcleaning, according to Higgs, is that whilst “detergents are used in wetcleaning, the process does not require any solvents - customers instantly notice the fresh smell and soft feel. Colours are brighter and retain their original look.” Further, he says that detergents cope with all types of garments from standard laundry items, such as shirts, to antibacterial products to cover garments from hospitals and care homes. Dane Realstar sell the Aquastar system of washers and dryers. Higgs says that a complete wetcleaning package typically consists of...(continued in full article).

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