- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: I manage a hospital Laundry that has been challenged with cleaning the kitchen towels. Recently we had a fire in the kitchen and the rags that were processed that morning seemed to spontaneously combust into a fire. This is not the first incident of the rags/mops in the kitchen doing this. Any thoughts on what causes this?
Answer: The answer is quite simple; the kitchen towels were not clean. Grease is being left in the towels and the heat in the dryer reaches a temperature high enough to start them on fire. There can be times when the kitchen towels come out of the dryers and are stacked up tightly as in a container, and again you can have combustion and fire.
The washing process is not nearly good enough to remove all of the fat and greases that have been absorbed into the towels. Generally these types of items need very hot water and a detergent system that can saponify the greasy soils so that they can be removed from the fabric.
Think of grease in a frying pan, when the temperature drops the grease turns solid and is difficult to remove, however heating the pan melts the grease and it can be wiped away quite easily. The same is true for the washing process; the only difference is the alkaline detergent acts the wiping process by breaking the grease up into little particles and allows it to drain off the fabric.
Note: Be sure to cool down the towels by spinning the dryer without heat to avoid spontaneous combustion which can occur if the goods are left in a basket for long periods of time.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.
“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”
“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”
Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.
“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”