Water Conditions in Laundry Environment

Water Conditions in the Laundry 

Water conditions are one of the most important factors when it comes to determining the proper products to use at a laundry account.  If you have good water conditions, many products are available for use.  If you have poor water conditions, you must first match up the proper products to handle the particular water conditions and then take into consideration other factors such as soil type, soil load, type of linen, and procedures. Here are a few important things to remember about water conditions in the laundry and water impurities that you can check with your total test kit.

 Water Hardness – If you have water hardness above 12 GPG you cannot use a Built Detergent.  You must use a separate Break and Suds.  Water harness is a combination of minerals that will build up on fabric and cause greying.  In order to prevent this, you will have to add more water conditioners.  Built Detergents have a limited amount of water conditioners.  Break products have a high amount of water conditioners. This allows you to be able to adjust the amount of Break going into a laundry machine to treat the water hardness without causing excessive foaming.  Water hardness will also reduce the effectiveness of detergents, which may trap soils into the linen. 

Bicarbonate alkalinity – If you have bicarbonate alkalinity over 200 ppm you must use a separate Sour and Softener. This way you can increase the amount of Sour that will dissolve the bicarbonate alkalinity without increasing the Softener. This can also waterproof linen if too much is used.  Too much bicarbonate alkalinity trapped in the linen will cause some of the same issues that water harness will.  It can cause graying of linen and entrap soils in the linen.     

Iron – Water containing as little as 0.2 ppm can cause discoloration in linen.  Any account with a significant amount of iron in the water should have a separate Sour and Softener.  Sour/Soft combination products only effect pH and not iron.  Iron in linen can cause a variety of staining discolorations from yellow to reddish brown.  Iron can also trap oily soils in the linen making them difficult to remove without removing the iron in the linen.  At accounts with high levels of iron in the water supply it is recommended to use an oxygenated bleach instead of a chlorinated bleach.  Chlorine will oxidize iron trapped in the linen and cause yellow/brown stains.  If you have to use chlorine bleach in an account with high amounts of iron in the water, try to use as little as possible and use specialized detergents such as a solvent detergent to help maintain whiteness.

Chlorine – Many water treatment plants add chlorine to the water for sterilization purposes.  Most municipalities maintain a minimum of 0.5 ppm of chlorine in drinking water.  Generally this does not cause any issues, but there may be instances where it can.  Some water softener resins can be damaged by chlorine levels as low as 0.5 ppm, creating water hardness issues.  Also if there is a high amount of chlorine in the water supply it can cause yellowing of the linen or a reaction in the linen with any trapped iron. 

These are just a few water impurities that can cause issues in a laundry account, but they are the most common.  You can check these water impurities with your total test kit.  However, if a more in-depth water analysis is needed, please contact the U S Chemical Training Department.

Click here to view Laundry Total Test Kit video

Water Conditions in the Warewashing Environment

Water Conditions in the Warewashing Environment

When it comes to selecting the proper dish machine chemicals, water conditions play a major role in which chemicals will be appropriate for a particular account. Water hardness, bicarbonate alkalinity, TDS, silica, and chlorides are all impurities that can be found in a water supply which can add additional challenges to getting dishes clean and spot free. The two main water impurities that must first be taken into consideration when selecting dish machine chemicals are water hardness and bicarbonate alkalinity. Water hardness is a combination of calcium and magnesium and is found in almost all untreated water. Water hardness becomes an issue inside of the dish machine because when it is exposed to heat or alkalinity it will try to leave the water and attach itself to anything it can, including dishes. This can make it difficult to remove food soils and cause white chalky spotting on the dishes. The extent of this problem will be determined by how much water hardness is in the water. Water that has a hardness of 0-4 grains per gallon is considered soft, 4-7 slightly soft, 7-12 hard, and 12 and above very hard. Each one of our dish machine detergents and rinse additives have a water hardness tolerance in which they will perform best in. Water conditioners are added to our products to block water harnesses from attaching to dishes. The more water conditioners that are added to a product the higher water hardness tolerance that product will have. Keep in mind that our products have to be dosed at the recommended amount for them to perform within their water tolerance range.

As mentioned before bicarbonate alkalinity is another common water impurity that needs to be taken into consideration when selecting products. Unlike water hardness which affects what detergent and rinse can be used, bicarbonate alkalinity only affects which rinse products are appropriate for a particular account. Any account with bicarbonate alkalinity over 200 ppm will need what is called a high-solids rinse additive to combat this impurity. Untreated bicarbonate alkalinity will mainly affect glassware and silverware. Residual bicarbonate alkalinity will leave what is called “ghosting” on dishes causing light white streaks on the dishes. Many times this will be confused with residual dish machine detergent. Water softeners do not remove bicarbonate alkalinity so the best way to treat it is with the proper rinse additive.

Before selecting products for an account, make sure to do a water hardness test and bicarbonate alkalinity test. This will narrow down which products can be considered and make obtaining good results much easier. For water tolerances of specific products contact the U S Chemical Training Department or speak with your U S Chemical Field Support Representative. There are other factors you will need to take into consideration when selecting products, but matching up products based on water hardness and bicarbonate alkalinity is the first step to obtaining good results. Any additional water testing that may be needed can be done by sending in a water sample to the U S Chemical Training Department.

Please click the link to view our Warewash Total Test Kit Video.

5 gallon vs. 1.5 gallon

5 gallon vs. 1.5 gallon

At U S Chemical we produce a line of highly concentrated cleaning products that have benefits far beyond just cost savings. Not only do these products qualify as industry leading performers, but they also provide us with an opportunity to get away from the standard 5 gallon pail. With these highly concentrated products we are able to produce product in a 1.5 gallon container which is equivalent to a 5 gallon pail. This may not seem substantial, but if we take a closer look we can discover a meaningful impact. First, let’s look at the space saving benefits of using a 1.5 gallon container vs. a 5 gallon pail.

Our 1.5 gallon containers are generally used in conjunction with wall brackets. That means the product does not need to sit on the floor, but instead can be mounted on the wall. This allows for easier cleaning and additional storage space around laundry machines and dish machines. A 5 gallon pail takes up 1,115 square inches of space whereas a 1.5 gallon container takes up 468 square inches. That’s over a 60 percent reduction in areas where space and storage may be at a premium. Not only will a 1.5 gallon container add more space around a laundry machine and dish machine but it will also reduce the amount of space needed to stock inventory. Furthermore, a 1.5 gallon container is 70% lighter than a 5 gallon pail of an equivalent product.

Next, let’s look at the environmental impact of reducing the amount of plastic that is being used by switching to a smaller container size. Researchers found that more than 500 million tons of CO2 are produced by plastic annually. This is equivalent to the amount produced worldwide by all passenger cars, motorbikes, planes, and trains combined. According to the EPA, one ounce of carbon dioxide is emitted for each ounce of plastic produced. That being said, a 1.5 gallon container produces 8.6 ounces of CO2 whereas a 5 gallon container produces 36 ounces. Not only is there a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions in the production of a smaller pack size but there is also additional reductions in transportation. We can also reduce our environmental impact by recycling any used containers. At U S Chemical we use HDPE plastic for our containers which is the most commonly recycled plastic. This safe form of plastic is simple and cost-effective to recycle for secondary use. HDPE has good chemical resistance and can be recycled into plastic lumber, furniture, and auto parts.

Click here to download our sell sheet

Importance of Presoaks

Importance of Presoaks

With the national average to wash a rack of dishes at $0.60 and rising, it is important to practice one pass warewashing. One of the best ways to do this is by making sure the use of a presoak is implemented.

Flatware gathers food soils that can be stubborn to remove and frequently dry onto the flatware. This makes it difficult for the dishmachine to remove with just one wash. That is why we need a presoak to loosen and remove soils that have accumulated on flatware prior to going into the dishmachine. Using a presoak will also help maintain the shininess of flatware and reduce spots and streaks by improving the sheeting action of the rinse. Presoaks are necessary for removing stains on flatware that does not come off by being washed in the dishmachine. A great example of this is coffee stains. With coffee stains, a special presoak with oxygenated bleach is needed to remove the staining. The oxygen bleach will remove the pigment of organic stains bringing the flatware back to a uniform color. Any flatware that has degradation on its outer layer is more prone to staining. This is especially true for plastics where the styrene layer is prone to damage by heat, chemicals, and scratching. When using an oxygenated presoak it is important to have the water reach temperatures between 120-140 degrees so that the oxygen bleach is activated.

When using a presoak, the savings can be significant. It is estimated that a location washing 300 racks per day can save $1600 per year in water, labor, and chemical cost combined. When selecting a presoak the type of application will help narrow down which presoak is appropriate for use. Be sure to read the tech sheet for each presoak you may be considering. Product descriptions, use dilutions, water temperatures, and the type of flatware are all listed on the tech sheet to help in determining the proper presoak for use.

Use Solvents to your Advantage

Use Solvents to your Advantage

Having a five-product laundry chemical system allows the most flexibility to combat the adverse water conditions and soils that you may encounter. For the right accounts, a three-product system can be the perfect fit though too. Many of smaller hotels have consistent water conditions and soil types. The most problematic soils that can be encountered in these types of accounts are petroleum based soils such as make-up, oils, suntan lotion, and grease. The best way to remove these stains inside of the laundry machine is with a suds type product that has a high amount of solvents, such as USC Merit or USC Liquid Laundry Emulsifier. The solvents work to break down and dissolve petroleum-based soils while the suds aspect of the product pulls soil off the linen and encapsulates them.

This is usually sufficient enough to remove all the soils encountered in smaller hotels. Any leftover staining can be addressed with a pre-spotter. Because of the high amount of solvents being used in pre-spotters, many times when implemented they dramatically improve the whiteness of linen because they remove petroleum-based soils that have built up over time that standard suds and breaks do not remove. That being said, there are many instances where a three-product system will outperform a five-product system.

A three-product system with a solvent-based suds, a bleach, and a finishing product in conjunction with pre-spotters is a great way to achieve the results that are desired.

Picking the Right Squeeze Tube

Picking the Right Squeeze Tubes

Tygon 900/Bi-wall/co-extruded– Generally a tan or cream colored tubing.  Composed of Santoprene/Norprene with a thin inner layer of Tygon.  The Norprene outer layer provides longevity with peristaltic pumps and the inner layer provides a high level of chemical resistance.  Acidic, alkaline, chlorine and solvent products have very little effect on the inner layer.  Overall, it is the best performing laundry squeeze tube.   This tubing comes with all USC’s laundry dispensers.

EDPM– Black in color. Holds up well to alkaline products. 

Santoprene- Tan in color.  Very durable tubing that can withstand lengthy exposure to peristaltic pumps.  Very good resistance to alkaline and acidic products.  Also holds up well to chorineThis tubing comes with all USC’s ware washing dispensers.

Silicon– Semitransparent in color.  This is a good tubing for rinse additives because it does not contain any moisture.  Rinse additives draw out moisture and quickly make other types of tubing dry and brittle.  Better options are available for other product types.

VitonThis is a great all around tubing.  It is resistant to all product types and performs very well against bleach, solvents and D’limonene.  The only drawback is price.  Viton can be 10 times more expensive than standard tubing.  

Tube Type

Strong Alkalines Solvents D’Limonene Chlorine Strong Acids

Tygon 900/



1 3 1 3


2 3 4 3


Santoprene 2 3 3 2



3 4 2 3


Viton 2 2 1 1


1=Excellent  2= Good  3= Fair 4= Poor


Shelf Life & Expiration Date

Shelf Life & Expiration Date

When thinking about the quality of our products we always want to ensure the customer is receiving the best product we can manufacture. At the time of manufacture, we are absolutely certain the product will perform to the best of its ability once in the field because we test each product on site to ensure quality and performance standards are met. Products that fall short of those standards are not sent to the customer but instead are re-worked until they can meet proper standards. Once the product leaves our facility however the timeframe of quality and performance is no longer monitored. We, as a company, want to make sure that if the product we made needs to sit at a warehouse for some time that the product will still perform within the parameters measured on the first day it was manufactured.
This is where the shelf life is established.

The shelf life is simply a length of time a product can sit on the shelf and still perform up to quality tested standards, as long as it was properly packaged and properly stored. Based on these conditions the shelf life is indicative that the product has not undergone any physical or chemical changes that would impact quality or performance. All products we make are tested against the elements in order to see how Heat, Cold, Direct Sunlight, Darkness, etc. can all effect the product over time. If any of these elements would cause an issue for the product within its shelf life then the shelf life may be shortened to account for the instability that will occur over time or they may have special circumstances associated with them such as, “no-freeze”, or “keep out of direct sunlight.” Those that have special circumstances should be advocated to following the special instructions to ensure quality and performance for the extent of the shelf life.

To put it simply the majority of our products that we manufacture will have a recommended 24 month shelf life. Whether it be a general purpose cleaner, an oven and grill cleaner, a laundry detergent, a rinse aid, or an EPA registered disinfectant/sanitizer- they will all have a 24 month shelf life from the date of manufacture. This means that as long as the product is properly stored then they will perform as they did on day one.

It is important to note that the shelf life is a recommended amount of time determined by the company based on testing and results, it is not a use by, sell by, or safety date by any means. Once a product is past its shelf life date doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be disposed of right away. The product may begin to develop physical or chemical changes that are visible past its shelf life but the efficacy or performance may not have been effected. Dyes and Scents begin to degrade after the 24 months and can begin to change the way the product looks but these are not compounds used for performance just for aesthetics. So, although they may not look appealing or “normal” the product is still useful. Because of this reason we do not mark the shelf life on the outer or inner packaging. If there is a question about shelf life please contact customer service (800-558-9566) so they can direct you to the proper dept.

As mentioned before, the only time we would see a shortened shelf life, to be less than 24 months, would be when we have products that contain a certain amount of chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach (aka Sodium Hypochlorite) is a very unstable compound that can degrade quickly over time due to its inherent nature to gas off. As the Chlorine bleach continues to gas off it will lose its potency and effectiveness for cleaning/destaining/sanitizing. The shortened shelf life is determined by the level of chlorine bleach within the product, therefore the more bleach in a product, such as sanitizers and laundry destainers, the shorter the shelf life.

USC Sanitizer E.S., USC LL Destainer and UA Destainer Plus all have high amounts of chlorine bleach so they have a shelf life of 6 months. Other products that may use the aid of chlorine in cleaning or destaining but do not contain such high levels of chlorine and therefore would not become unstable as quickly, would be more along the lines of chlorinated detergents and some specialty cleaners. USC All Temp, USC All Temp HD, USC HydroKlor are just a few examples of chlorinated detergents which have a shelf life of 12 months. USC Maxi Foam, QuickLine White Glove, and USC Block Whitener are a few examples of specialty chlorinated products which have a shelf life of 12 months.

If a product has an expiration date associated with it however those products are not as flexible with their time frame. It is a hard set date determined by the manufacturer and registrar of the product to ensure safety standards are being met along with quality and performance standards. Expiration dates are used on products that have the potential to harm others by no longer working properly due to their degredation over time, such as antimicrobial hand soaps or high level alcohol based hand sanitizers (62% or more). Some examples of Expiry Products are: USC Shurguard HP and USC Shurguard HP RTU. USC Shurguard HP has an expiry date of 1080 days (~3 years) from date of manufacture while USC Shurguard HP RTU has an expiry date of 720 days from manufacture (~2 years). Expiration dates will always be printed on the outer packaging and on each inner unit (Bottles/Canisters) of the packaging, along with the lot code, time stamp, and date of manufacture. Products with an expiration date MUST be used before the Expiration Date printed on the bottle/container. Below are some examples of what an expiration date would look like on the outer packaging and inner units of the packaging.

Type of Chemical

Chlorine based chemicals Chlorinated Detergents Chlorinated Specialty Products Non-chlorinated Chemicals Expiration Date
Shelf Life 6 months 12 months 12 months 24 months Expiry
Examples USC Sanitizer E.S USC All Temp USC Maxi Foam Mechanical Warewash Detergents, GP Cleaners, Oven & Grill Cleaners, Rinse Aids, RR/bowl Cleaners, Sour, Softener, Break, Suds, Floor Cleaner, etc. USC Shurguard HP (1080 days)
USC LL Destainer USC All Temp HD USC Block Whitener USC Shurguard HP RTU (720 days)
UA Destainer Plus USC HydroKlor QuickLine
White Glove


Sanitizing with Bleach

Sanitizing with Bleach

It is very common for a sanitation specialist to have an account or prospect that is using store bought bleach as a sanitizer. Of course we would like for them to be buying our product but if we cannot make a compelling case against buying bleach from the store we will get the, “bleach is bleach” reply or “it’s cheaper at the store.” Here are a few reasons they SHOULD NOT be buying bleach from the store.

• All sanitizer and disinfectants must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and display an EPA     
  Registration Number as well as an EPA Establishment Number.
• Many household or store bought bleaches are not EPA registered as sanitizers. Non-registered products are illegal by
   federal, state and local regulations as sanitizers.
• If there is no directions on the label for use in a three-compartment sink or in a low temp dish machine it is illegal to use
   and can result in a health code violation or possibly a fine. Store bought bleaches do not have such directions.
• Commercial bleach is three to four times stronger that household or store bought bleach. If someone were to put a store
   bought bleach on a dish machine or dispenser that has been set up for commercial bleach they will be well below proper
   sanitation ranges
• Any adjustments or maintenance needed on dispensing equipment will more than likely have to be done by a service
   technician. Maintenance service is built into the cost of product. It is not reasonable to ask for service on dispensing
   equipment using product not provided by the chemical provider.

Having knowledge like this improves our business and protects us from competitor infiltration. Most importantly though, it adds value to our service by looking out for their best interest and becoming a partner instead of just a provider.

Laundry Cycle Times

Laundry Cycle Times

Many times we run into situations where laundry staff cut corners and it negatively affects the results and standards that we try so hard to obtain. A very common shortcut that chemical specialists see is staff advancing laundry formulas or selecting the shortest formulas. This is a very short-sided mindset because in the long run, it will cost the staff more time because of an increase in processing reclaimed linen and in spot treatment. This will also increase the total cost to launder linen by increasing labor costs, utilities, linen replacement and chemicals. It is important to relay this information during your in-service trainings and to reiterate the issue with laundry managers.

During routine preventative maintenances, you should record load counts for each laundry cycle to monitor any irregularities. Most laundry dispensers have this capability. Below are the average wash times for various laundry cycles. As a chemical specialist, you need to provide the best possible results while also keeping wash times as short as possible.

1. Sheets 24:30 Plus fill time
2. Towels 31:30 Plus fill time
3. Blankets 18:00 Plus fill time
4. Pads/diapers 43:00 Plus fill time
5. Colored linen 26:00 Plus fill time
6. Mops/Rags 32:00 Plus fill time
7. New linen 17:00 Plus fill time

Drying Plastic Ware

Drying Plastic Ware

Drying plastic ware can be particularly challenging. Some accounts predominantly use plastic ware and require a unique approach in regards to setting up the dish machine and the types of chemicals used. Glass and metal items have substantially more mass and retain more heat than plastic ware making them easier to dry. As a result, plastic dishes are unable to evaporate water droplets as quickly. Here are a couple of things we can do to help dry plastic ware.

Using the proper rinse additive. Some rinse additives sheet and dry better at lower temperatures. USC Auto Dry is a high solids rinse additive that works well on plastic ware.

Increase temperatures. Since plastic doesn’t retain heat well, increasing the temperatures on the dish machine will
help. Low-temperature dish machines should not go over 140 degrees for the wash and rinse. High-temperature
dish machines should not go over 165 degrees for the wash and 190 degrees for the final rinse.

Inspect final rinse jets. Rinse jets should spray an even V pattern. If there are any irregularities in the spray pattern
of the final rinse water it will not sheet, causing spots and slower dry times.

Adjust final rinse pressure. Rinse pressure should be between 15 – 25 psi. Most chemical specialists have the final
rinse pressure set at 20 psi. In most cases this is sufficient but when dealing with a lot of plastic ware adjusting the
rinse pressure to give you the most uniform sheeting is important. Usually lowering the psi will reduce droplets on
the ware and provide better sheeting thus increasing dry times.

Check for Styrene Etch. If the plastic ware is scratched or the outer styrene layer is damaged the ware will not be
able to sheet and dry in a timely manner.

Laundry Cost Breakdown

Laundry Cost Breakdown

Many laundry managers focus on direct expenses when asked what effects the cost of their laundry operation. Chemicals, purchasing new linen and employee hours are the top three concerns of laundry managers in regards to this.  This can cause a focus on the cost of laundry chemicals thus causing an increased amount of scrutiny.  It is important to have a discussion with laundry managers about the saving that can be had with a well-run laundry chemical program. Labor will be reduced by less reclaim linen being processed and less spot treatment.  Fabric replacement will also be down because of a low rejection rate.  Energy and utilities will be monitored to keep them as low as possible while retaining good results.  Regular in-service training will reduce the amount of supervision needed and also improve results.  As you can see chemical costs are a small fraction of the overall cost of a laundry operation (6%).  It is hard to put a dollar amount on the expertise of your laundry knowledge so it is imperative that you merchandise your commitment and knowledge with your customer.


How To Sell Quality

How To Sell Quality?

When trying to sell a new product into a customer it often comes down to “who is cheaper”. Many sales people do not know how to deal with a customer that is a “price only” buyer.

One easy way to combat the “price only” buyer is to explain “case cost vs use cost”. Case cost is not a good representation of what it actually costs to use a cleaning product. Use cost is the most accurate measure of what it actually costs to use a cleaning product no matter the application. Use cost will determine how much product is being used, the cost per oz, and the frequency that the product is used. For example, let’s look at the cost to charge a 3 compartment sink with pot & pan detergent. We will have product A, which is much more expensive than product B that the customer is currently buying from your competitor.

Product Comparison

15 Gallon Sink

Product A

Product B

Use Dilution

1 oz per 5 gal

1 oz per 1 gal

Oz per pail

640 oz

640 oz

Oz of product per sink

3 oz

15 oz

Cost per 5 gal pail



Product cost per oz



Cost per sink



As you can see the cost per sink for product A is ½ the cost of the sink with product B based on the quality of the products and the use dilution they suggest. To make it even easier, you can see that product A has a use dilution of 1 oz to 5 gallons of water, while product B has a use dilution of 1 oz to 1 gallon of water. So to make things equal product A would need to be 5 times the cost of product B (or $160.00) for the use cost to be the same.

The next time a customer tries to block you with case cost, try using use cost and help them understand the true cost of using a higher quality product vs the cheap alternative. And if you want to impress them even more, take the “cost per sink” for both products and multiply it be the number of times they fill the sink over the course of a year. They will be amazed at how much money will remain in their pocket.

Washing New Linen

Washing New Linen

One of the more peculiar issues that come up from time to time is when we get a call from the field asking “why when they have washed a load of new linen that the whole load comes out a light green, or light blue, or light yellow color”?

Due to a majority of the new linen used in today’s hospitality environment originating in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and other foreign countries, we must be aware that they will use harsh chemicals to prevent mold and mildew on the fabric, and pesticides to prevent bugs from infiltrating the fabric during the long shipping process in cargo containers.

That being said, if the new linen is washed for the first time in a standard formula with Break, Suds, Destainer, Sour, and Softener it has a tendency to turn a light shade of green, blue, or yellow.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to wash the new linen in a formula with only a suds type product. The alkalinity, and acidity of the other products reacts with the harsh chemicals to cause the color change, by adding nothing more than suds to the New Linen formula you can remove those harsh chemicals and prevent the discoloration.

Every facility, whether a hotel, motel, or healthcare, should use this type of New Linen formula to prevent the shock of having all of the new linen change color when washing it for the first time.

On a side note, if the facility has washed their new linen and it has changed color all is not lost. By washing the fabric a second time in the appropriate formula based on the fabric type it will remove the discoloration from the fabric.

Covid-19 & Dishmachines

Covid-19 & Dishmachines

The topic of Covid-19 and how it is dealt with in dish machines has started to come up at several distributor locations.

Currently the CDC, WHO, and EPA all suggest that, just like in the laundry, if you wash the surface and remove the soil you are also removing the virus from the surface. They do not differentiate between high temp and low temp dish machines.

I have found recommendations from several dish machine manufacturers and they all follow the same logic stream. They suggest that in a high temp application the heat will neutralize the virus, and washing the surface will remove the virus from the surface of anything washed in the dish machine. In low temp dish machines they use the same thought process, that if you wash the surface you are removing the virus from the surface and providing a clean, sanitized, food contact surface.
There have been calls we have received from healthcare facilities that want to go a step further. They are filling bus tubs with a disinfectant, placing ware from patients with Covid-19 into the bus tubs for the appropriate contact time, removing the ware, rinsing it, and then running it through the dish machine.
Hopefully this information will help you if you have customers asking these types of questions. I will continue to monitor the CDC, WHO, and EPA sites in case they make recommendations regarding dish machines and Covid-19. There is more information available from the dish machine manufacturers on the topic if needed.
Covid-19 Contaminated Laundry

Covid-19 Contaminated Laundry

We are starting to receive calls from both end users and our distributor partners regarding proper laundering procedures for fabric contaminated with Covid-19.

At this time the recommended procedure for washing fabric is to follow normal wash procedures based on soil classification using proper temperatures, wash chemicals, and formula. The thought is that if we are able to remove the soil we will also be removing the virus from the fabric.

The CDC suggests setting your wash temperature at 160 degrees for 25 minutes to kill the virus. Since most laundry accounts cannot achieve wash temps of 140-160 degrees, much less maintain that temperature for 25 minutes, we can rely on the dryer to provide a temperature of 180 degrees for an average of 20-25 minutes.

If the account is looking for an additional level of kill claim we can inject Shurguard Ultimate into a pre-wash operation with warm water at low level for 10 minutes at a concentration of 3.5 ounces per 4.5 gallons (450 ppm concentration). Directions for use in laundry as a presoak are listed on the Shurguard Ultimate tech sheet. (This is not for use in California)

To test the concentration in the laundry you can use either the QT-40 test strip, sku D6009920 or the QC-1000 test strip, sku D014947. The QT-40 is good up to 500 ppm and the QC-1000 is good up to 1000 ppm. Test the ppm concentration at the drain after the pre-wash cycle is complete.

Removing Sunscreen Stains

Removing Sunscreen Stains

During summer months and at warm weather resorts we start to encounter yellow spots on the pool/beach towels and in some cases on the sheets and pillowcases.

One of the biggest reasons for the yellow spots is the use of sunscreens containing zinc oxide. The sunscreens containing zinc oxide are very popular due to its ability to prevent sunburn but also because they can help with chapped skin and abrasions. The downside of using sunscreen with zinc oxide is that when the sunscreen gets on a towel or onto bed linen it can cause yellow spots to appear during the laundering process. The good news is that it is fairly easy to prevent the spots from becoming an issue.

The spots can be eliminated by increasing the laundry sour during the final rinse to 1.5x the normal amount, and increasing the final rinse time to 6:00 minutes. This will prevent the zinc oxide from becoming a problem and preventing the yellow spots on the linen.

Quat Sanitizers and Cotton Rags

Quat Sanitizers and Cotton Rags

Quat Sanitizers and Cotton Rags

When sanitizing dining tables in a cafeteria it is common for the staff to use a designated sanitizer bucket with a quat based sanitizer. They will generally use a rag or sponge to wipe the tables and then keep the rag or sponge in the sanitizing solution for future use.

The issue that arises is that if the rag is made of cotton it will absorb the quat based sanitizer into the rag. This minimizes the ability of the solution to sanitize the table tops that is necessary to prevent bacteria from creating a health risk.

To prevent the rag from absorbing the quat based sanitizer we suggest using microfiber rags. Microfiber rags will NOT absorb the quat like cotton. You can also use a ready to use sanitizer to spray the surface prior to wiping. This eliminates the need for the sanitizer bucket and the issues associated with rags absorbing the quat based sanitizers all together.

Please share this with your customers to help prevent the dreaded check mark on the Health Inspectors report.

How many coats of floor finish?

How many coats of floor finish?

How many coats of finish do I need to lay on my floor?

This is a question we receive periodically from end users that does not really have a black and white answer. In some cases we might ask what the gloss expectation is, in other cases it might be what type of maintenance will be provided on the floor.

The most consistent answer that we can give is the “Rule of 100”. The “Rule of 100” proposes that you take a look at the percentage of solids of the finish and divide 100 by the percentage. So for example if the finish has a 25% solids you divide 100 by 25 and you come up with 4 coats of finish for the floor. If the solids content of the finish is 19-20% you would divide 100 by 20 and it would let you know that you should use 5 coats of finish on the floor.

This practice is designed to allow for cleaning the floor which can remove some of the finish without exposing the bare floor to be damaged or stained.

Removing Blood from Fabric

Removing Blood from Fabric

What is the best way to remove blood from fabric?

This is a call we receive periodically, and talk about in our Laundry Training class. When dealing with blood in fabric there are several concerns to be aware of. First is how to remove the blood, but second is how we handle the item that has blood on it.

When dealing with bodily fluids we must use precautions and proper PPE to insure we do not place the person laundering the fabric at risk of blood borne pathogens. Please follow OSHA requirements for Occupational Exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens.

Once the items containing blood are delivered to the laundry we can remove the blood in one of two ways. If the blood stains are occurring on a frequent basis and the volume is fairly high we can address the removal of blood in the laundry formula for the commercial washers. We do this by adding a cold water flush to the beginning of the laundry cycle. This prevents the hot water from setting the stains into the fabric and making it much more difficult to deal with. If the blood is a once in a while event we can rinse or soak the item in cold water to remove the blood.

The key here is to identify the blood before washing so we can use the correct process to remove the blood without setting the stain in the fabric.

Chlorine Bleach Presoak?

Chlorine Bleach Presoak?

Is chlorine bleach a good presoak for (flatware, coffee cups, laundry stains, etc.)?

This is an observation we make over time when visiting customer locations. Chlorine bleach is a common product to encounter in multiple uses at a variety of locations. We have seen it used as a presoak for stained fabric in laundries, we have seen it used to remove coffee stains from the inside of coffee cups, we have had food service facilities use chlorine as a presoak for their flatware, and we have even witnessed people washing their floors with chlorine bleach.

Chlorine is a very popular product for several applications. It can be used as a sanitizer in low temp dish machines and 3 compartment sinks, it can be used as a destainer in commercial laundry operations, but it is not a good choice when soil and other conditions are present.

First of all, chlorine bleach is an aggressive chemical that can start to deteriorate the surface of anything it comes into contact with. It does not have any cleaning ability, and it can not sanitize a dirty surface. There are many products that are better suited for removing stains. If the stains are present in the laundry we would suggest using a prespotter or presoak.
If the stains are present in coffee cups or other plastic food contact surfaces we would suggest using an oxygen based presoak to remove the stains without harming the surface. For flatware, there are several presoaks in both a liquid and powder format that will breakdown the food soils very quickly and efficiently without causing any damage to the flatware. And for floors, we have a large variety of floor cleaning products to choose from depending on the floor type and location.

As I mentioned earlier, chlorine is a good choice for low temp dish machines. As a matter of fact, chlorine is the only approved sanitizer for low temp dish machines because it will not foam. However there are many other product alternatives for cleaning surfaces in both the food service industry and in the laundry that will provide much better results without damaging the surfaces to be cleaned.

Pet Friendly Cleaning

Pet Friendly Cleaning

Here is a call we received a while back. “Will using a general purpose cleaner to clean my carpets harm me or my pets”? When cleaning carpeting we recommend using approved carpet cleaners and following the label directions for use.

That being said, we cannot control what people decide to use when cleaning carpets or other surfaces. In this case a woman hired a carpet cleaning company to clean the carpets in her apartment building. The carpet cleaning company used a general purpose cleaner as a carpet spotter and a carpet cleaner. The general purpose cleaner contained surfactants, alkalinity, and solvents, which in most cases is an excellent choice for removing tough soils on “non-porous surfaces”.

Because the general purpose cleaner contained alkalinity it could potentially be a concern for anyone or their pet who come into contact with that carpet. Alkalinity can cause burns to the skin and can be serious if it comes into contact with the mouth or eyes of people or animals.

In this case, because the general purpose cleaner was already on the floor, we suggested using the carpet extractor with fresh water to rinse the carpet repeatedly until there was no residual general purpose cleaner left on the carpet.

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At the end of the day there were no injuries to people or pets, or damage to the carpet. But in the future we recommend using appropriate carpet cleaners and carpet pretreatment products.

Washing New Linen

Washing new linen

One of the more peculiar issues that comes up from time to time is when we get a call from the field asking “why when they have washed a load of new linen that the whole load comes out a light green, or light blue, or light yellow color”?

Due to a majority of the new linen used in today’s hospitality environment originating in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and other foreign countries, we must be aware that they will use harsh chemicals to prevent mold and mildew on the fabric, and pesticides to prevent bugs from infiltrating the fabric during the long shipping process in cargo containers.

That being said, if the new linen is washed for the first time in a standard formula with Break, Suds, Destainer, Sour, and Softener it has a tendency to turn a light shade of green, blue, or yellow.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to wash the new linen in a formula with only a suds type product. The alkalinity, and acidity of the other products reacts with the harsh chemicals to cause the color change, by adding nothing more than suds to the new linen formula you can remove those harsh chemicals and prevent the discoloration.

Every facility, whether a hotel, motel, or healthcare, should use this type of new linen formula to prevent the shock of having all of the new linen change color when washing it for the first time.

On a side note, if the facility has washed their new linen and it has changed color all is not lost. By washing the fabric a second time in the appropriate formula based on the fabric type it will remove the discoloration from the fabric.