Water Quality and How it Affects Laundry

January 10, 2020 - 1:57 pm

When it comes to laundry, many people automatically assume that detergent is the primary component affecting wash results. While the detergent, bleach, builder and any other products being used definitely play a key role, another major factor that is often overlooked is water quality and how it affects laundry results- especially in a commercial or industrial setting.

When it comes to processing commercial laundry, water is incredibly important. Factors such as temperature, pH, hardness, metals contamination, supply/fill rate and others will have a huge impact on the quality of the results.

For example, let’s look at “hard water.” Hard water directly affects the ability of the detergent to do its job, which is to clean! This interference causes limited lather, limited soil removal and suspension, limited allowance of fabric fibers to open up and be cleansed properly, ultimately resulting in a direct affect on how clean the laundry comes out. Hard water also may cause mineral and metal deposits on the laundry, which will fade colors faster and cause a tougher feel with discomfort upon skin contact. Not to mention what it will do to your machines and equipment in the long run.

Other common water contaminants are iron, manganese and sulfur. These wreak havoc on many laundry facilities, often causing staining and damage, which are things we’re aiming to avoid!

Water temperature is another factor that will affect and dictate the appropriate chemicals and products to be used in order to correctly process laundry. Cold water laundry processing is completely different (and almost always less effective) than processing laundry in high temperature water. Even the fanciest detergents with the most reassuring claims will have a tough time removing some of the stains we’ve seen in this industry (food service, we’re looking at you!).

Water supply is crucial as well. Need to process 100 pounds of laundry an hour? How about 100,000 pounds? You’re going to want to make sure your machines fill fast, with high quality water that’s hot enough to do the job you’re asking of it. Don’t make the mistake of not fully planning your water source, heating source, supply system and treatment methods. A little effort on the front end goes a very long way.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of good treatment options such as water softening chemical products, softening systems, filtration systems, reclamation programs and more. There are also many great resources and professionals (like us) in this space that can help. It’s just a matter of diagnosing the quality of your water and addressing the issues that may arise. There’s no point throwing money away on new textiles, labor, machines, products and stain removers if you haven’t got your water quality up to snuff. This way, you’re prioritizing costs AND great results- which is a combination of many factors including water, chemicals, textiles, equipment, finishing and a customized start to finish program for your specific and dynamic laundry processing needs.

Fear not, as long as your water quality  gets the attention it deserves- combined with a robust, customized chemical program- your laundry results should be absolutely great!


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