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Wet cleaning comes of age
Peter Marsh, Managing Director
Typically 70% of soiling is actually water
of Girbau UK, argues that
based, which means it does not actually
the time is right to introduce
respond that well to dry cleaning. In many
cases wet cleaning these items will produce
wet cleaning better results. In some specialist areas like
Wet Cleaning has been around for a few years,
cruise ships, where solvents cannot be used,
offering an alternative method of washing
or care homes, where dry cleaning is not
delicate items without the use of chemical
practical, wet cleaning-capable washers offer
solvents. Until recently take up of the
an excellent way of tackling tricky protein-
Wet cleaning washers
technology has been relatively slow, but that is
based stains such as food and drink, blood,
When buying a new washer look for the
beginning to change with the introduction of
urine, faeces and vomit.
“Wet Cleaning Ready” logo. You don’t need
the latest generation of advanced, computer-
a specialist machine just for wet cleaning,
controlled washer extractors. These machines
For everyday laundry, modern washer
just one machine with the versatility for high
are capable of processing both the delicate
extractors use physical agitation to loosen and
speed, high capacity, high efficiency washing
items that were traditionally dry cleaned and
remove substances from the laundry. The
when you need it and sensitive wet cleaning
all the textiles like soiled cottons and linens
amount of water in the drum is nowadays much
programmes too. Three machines in the
that are traditionally laundered.
less than it used to be. High speed machines
energy efficient 6 Series range from Girbau are
often operate at over 1000 rpm on the spin
ideal for wet cleaning use, the HS-6013, HS-
cycle, extracting a high proportion of water for
6017 and HS-6023 with nominal capacities of
substantially reduced drying times. Some
13 kg, 17 kg and 23 kg. For wet cleaning
applications, this equates to maximums of 6.5
machines can now offer a much wider range of
kg, 8.5 kg and 11 kg respectively.
programmes. Such “wet cleaning ready”
machines can be used to safely and effectively
Even if you are not intending to try wet
for everything from badly soiled table linen to
cleaning now, it makes sense to go for a “Wet
delicates like wool, silk and polyester.
Cleaning Ready” machine if you are thinking of
While wet cleaning will never replace all the
buying a washer extractor now. Typically a new
A wet-cleaning ready washer effectively
different dry cleaning processes, it is actually
washer will last between seven and ten years
reproduces hand washing without the effort!
more suitable for cleaning certain fabrics.
and as none of us knows exactly what the
Water temperature is likely to be 30ºC and
future holds in terms of legislative and
“Wet cleaning was first developed in response drum rotation can be as low as one rpm, which technological change, such a machine gives
to legislative changes discouraging, and in in combination with the right wet-cleaning you a future-proof option.
some cases banning the use of chemical detergents gives a truly gentle wash. You also
Wet-cleaning is coming of age. As well as
solvents,” explains Richard Neale, Director of need to bear in mind that the wet cleaning
being more effective than dry cleaning at
the Dry cleaning and Laundry Technology capacity of a multi-use washer will be
dealing with some of the most difficult stains,
Centre. “In particular, when the mild F113 substantially less than for other programmes.
it offers the potential to use the same machine
solvent was banned as a CFC, dry cleaners
Just as with hand washing, careful drying of
for a much wider range of laundry work. In
lost a valuable part of their cleaning toolkit.”
natural fibres like wool is the secret to
years to come we can expect further legislation
“Around 30-40% of items currently dry successful wet cleaning without shrinkage.
to reduce the use of chemical solvents and
cleaned are washable by wet cleaning,” Neale Drying needs to be done carefully, slowly and
today’s wet cleaning technology has a valuable
continues. “The Solvent Emissions Directive at lower temperatures. Specialist drying
role to play as an alternative to dry cleaning.
and the general desire to move towards more equipment using formers and forced warm air For further information e-mail:
sustainable, less polluting methods have may be worth investing in for higher volumes visit
provided additional incentives for greater use of wet-cleaning work. This type of drying
of wet cleaning as an alternative to equipment can also be used for other specialist
perchloroethylene.” drying jobs such as shirts and duvets.
| TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry
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