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Reopening laundries, reorganising paradigms

Pratibha Vanambathina, Managing Partner, LaundrySpa Dry Cleaning Services  

Let me be frank with you. All laundry business owners fear that after the lockdown is over, they won’t be able to bounce back to the previous level of sales.  

In the laundry business, hygiene and service are both regulated. After this pandemic effect of Covid-19, let us reformulate the ethical processing of garments to allay the fears of customers by striving to make garments virus-free.   

In this article, I am suggesting a few constructive measures to my industry colleagues, for when we can resume business:   

  • Install isolation pods at the entrance of the unit, as transparent curtains help maintain social distancing between customers and employees. The customer can also view or count his or her garments.
  • Encourage all forms of digital payments to clear bills.  
  • Isolate collected garments for at least 72 hours before processing, to be certain that it is free of the virus. According to WHO, the virus cannot be removed from garment during any phase of processing. And it is a Herculean task to check the health of every customer while accepting his garments. Hence, it is best to assume that all garments are virus-infected, and allow the virus to die naturally over 3-4 days before processing the garments.
  • Only laundry attendants covered with masks and gloves should be allowed to handle dirty linen. This should be done carefully, without disturbing the garment during the tagging and sorting process. A recent survey of fabric revealed that the virus cannot stay for long on silk fabric as compared to cotton, nylon, wool etc., as the threads of silk are loosely packed and microbes have a chance of dropping off to other surfaces.
  • Make sure the surroundings of the workshop, floor, tables, machinery etc are cleaned by using disinfectant solution. Of course, maintaining hygiene even during other times, but the present scenario requires more attention. ‘Hygiene’ is a catchword that will now play a role in marketing strategy too. 
  • Let the detergents used be potassium-based or Perc products as they act as effective disinfectants. Use warm water at 40-60 °C to remove the maximum possible microbial present in garments.
  • Use laundry mesh bags during the washing process so that the garments don’t mix with others, and to ensure that bacteria, fungi and viruses cannot be distributed to other garments or to the articles inside the machinery.
  • Usage of dryer is a must, since the virus cannot be retained on a garment in a hot closed area.
  • Ironing eliminates the minor microbials. Packing should be done in a hot vacuumed foil with sprayed disinfectant.
  • Facilitate your customer with offers for at least a quarter period, to attract business.
  • Instruct customers to use the processed garments only 24hrs after the delivery time.

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