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Getting Kitchen Towels Clean

Question: I run a small commercial laundry and we do various types of laundry - restaurant napery, towels, motel sheets, etc. We are having a problem getting our kitchen towels clean. Would boiling them be option, or is there anything else you would suggest?
- Monica, Fresh Express Laundry, Rangley, CO.



Answer: Kitchen towels are used for everything in the kitchen area, from wiping grease off the grills and inside ovens, to general cleaning. The common denominator is that food and animal fat grease are the main soils needed to be removed from the towels. The method of cleaning these items is actually quite simple, because with animal fats you need only saponify the grease into soap. This is accomplished by using an alkali with high pH, and I prefer a blended alkali generally referred to as orthosillcate. Here is a general formula that should work to get the kitchen towels clean: 

  1. One warm and one hot flush before the wash, with no supplies 
  2. Main break with a good alkali builder, preferably an orthosillcate mixture; Temperature of 160 F. - 190 F. degrees depending on available steam; 2500 - 4000 PPM of alkalinity depending on degree of soil; Note that if not washing in soft water, a phosphate or other water conditioner is necessary in each chemical wash procedure 
  3. Carryover wash of 5 - 7 minutes, maintain high temperature
  4. Suds bath wash for 10 - 15 minutes, alkalinity of 1500 - 2500 PPM along with a good detergent using 8 - 24 ounces of product depending on soil conditions, again maintaining high temperature 
  5. Rinse one or two times to reduce pH 
  6. Bleach at 145 - 155 degrees with a pH of 10.2 - 10.8, and chlorine bleach use should be 4 - 6 qt. of 1% bleach per 100 wt. For 8 - 12 minutes
  7. Rinse two or three times to dilute chemicals, use an anti-chlor if necessary 
  8. Sour to reduce pH to 5.5 and DO NOT USE A CATIONIC SOFTENER! 

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Fire in Jail Laundry

DURHAM, N.C. — A fire in the laundry room at a County Jail in Durham damaged goods but required no evacuation. The fire, which originated in a dryer, damaged hundreds of uniforms. In addition to the lost goods, the jail’s laundry sustained water and smoke damage. The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system that had been activated.