If you are running a dry-cleaning business, you likely have a whole host of things you need to take care of at once; and it can get remarkably overwhelming.
But just like any business that needs to work with specialised machinery, dry-cleaning businesses have a particular responsibility to their maintenance schedule.
Dry-cleaning machine maintenance is essential for keeping your equipment running; running equipment is the key to keeping business turning over, and ensuring that they are regularly maintained ensures that you won’t have to splash out your hard-earned cash on repairs and replacements that, quite frankly, could have been avoided.
Here we will go over a few details of dry-cleaning machine maintenance to ensure that you find it easy to stay on top of it.
To do this, we will touch on a few reasons why maintenance is important for these businesses and will take you through a number of essential dailies, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance tasks.
So, let’s get started:
Why Dry-Cleaning Machines Need Maintenance
Like any type of machinery, especially those that are used extensively on a daily basis, dry-cleaning machines also need regular maintenance. As you will see, some of these happen daily or weekly, while others are less frequent.
However, each of these tasks is essential for a number of reasons, so let’s take a look at why dry-cleaning maintenance matters to the extent that it does:
Mechanical Failures are Normal
In any setting where machines of any type are being used, there will, at some point or another, be a need for maintenance.
With any device that is mechanical by design, there are a number of moving parts that work with each other during operation.
Over time, as these parts move along each other, they create friction and slowly become worn down. If this gets left unchecked, the machine will eventually become inoperable.
Dry-cleaning machines are no different in this regard and need maintenance if they are to continue working optimally.
Aside from this, the various components that work in the dry-cleaning process like the lint bag and carbon absorbers will eventually become bogged down with debris from cleans. These need to be cleared as well as part of regular maintenance or the machine will begin to get ineffective.
Improve the Effectiveness of Cleaning
As a result of consistent maintenance, dry-cleaning machines will work as expected, which means that they will clean clothing more effectively, and with less effort applied.
This will ensure two things.
Firstly, your services will be far more consistent. When your clients drop off their laundry with you, they know that they will get perfect results, and you know that you will be able to fulfil those expectations.
The next thing it does is it allows for more efficient operations, which means that jobs will be completed in less time. This will, in turn, become a strong selling point for your clients, since they will get their clothes back, in perfect order, and in less time.
Damaged Dry-Cleaning Machines Cost More to Run
The next reason why you should be consistent with maintaining dry-cleaning machines is that they will become more cost-effective to run, in more than one way.
It is no secret that as machinery becomes worn down from use, that it tends to consume more power, resources and time to keep production running at an expected rate.
This is as true for machines in factories as it is for that specialised dry-cleaning suite that makes up the crux of your business.
Your dry-cleaning machine requires a lot of power, water and chemicals. So much so that around 50% of all of your business’s costs, come in the form of its utilities.
Neglect to maintain your machinery, and leaks and inefficiencies will start to raise that percentage substantially, which can cut into your profits substantially.
With regular maintenance, however, your machinery will be for more economical, meaning it will consume far fewer resources and will save your business both time and money as a result.
Avoiding a Need for Replacements
Replacement parts for just about any type of machinery is expensive, and it is an expense that often comes as unplanned; which can put undue stress on any type of business.
Things are no different when it comes to dry cleaning machines, in fact, the cost can be even more severe, due to the highly specialised nature of this machinery.
Of course, even with the best adherence to a maintenance schedule, some parts will eventually need replacing. But without regular maintenance, the need for replacement parts will certainly be more concentrated and will cost you more money.
Parts replacements are best done with original manufacturer parts (OEM), and when these parts are used, the cost of replacing them is that much higher.
When generic parts are used, you might stand to save a bit of money at the start, but there is a high chance that that part will need to be replaced before its time; which makes for an even more important reason why maintenance on dry cleaning machines needs to be done according to a strict schedule.
A Better Bottom Line for your Business
All of the above reasons why you should stay on top of maintenance amount to one major advantage for any dry-cleaning business, and that is a better bottom line; improved profitability.
The savings on time and money, as well as being able to impress and therefore retain your customers, all amount to a much more profitable dry-cleaning business for you.
Your dry-cleaning business is solely dependant on the machines that it uses, and when those machines break down, it often means that business stops dead in its tracks until the problem can be sorted out; which is exasperated if you are not prepared for such failures.
Regular maintenance won’t only ensure that gaps between replacements are lengthened, but will also give you a bit of an early warning when a component is about to fail so that you can plan accordingly and suffer less downtime; keeping the wheels of the business turning more consistently, and making you more money.
With all of this out of the way, it is fairly easy to see why your dry-cleaning business needs to take maintenance seriously. To do this, you can divide maintenance tasks up into those that should happen daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually and annually.
Let’s go over some of the daily tasks you need to take care of:
Button Trap Strainer & Lint Bag
In normal residential use, both the button trap strainer and the lint bag on washing and laundry machines need to be cleaned around once a month. In a dry-cleaning setting, where much higher quantities of clothes are cleaned in a day, this needs to be done on a daily basis.
Through use, both the button trap and lint bag will become bogged down with debris filtered from clothes during cleaning; whether this is because of excess lint and fluff, or even more solid objects like coins and buttons that have come out of pockets.
As these build up in the button trap and lint bag, they begin to make cleaning less effective. So if you have a particularly busy dry-cleaning service, you ought to at least have a look at these each day.
All dry-cleaners make use of water separators to remove water from dry-cleaning chemicals after a wash. The solvent is kept for later use after separation, while the now contaminated water is disposed of.
These also need to be given daily attention to ensure the clarity of the solvent being returned, if this is left undone, you will find yourself going through much larger quantities of the cleaning solvent, which will raise your expenses significantly.
Carbon absorbers are used quite heavily in the dry-cleaning process to remove the organic compound from fabrics and the cleaning solvent during a wash. As you might expect, these compounds will remain on the carbon absorber, and eventually, start to bog it down.
You may be familiar with these from your home appliances, except that your home appliances don’t take on as much work as a dry-cleaning machine will.
As a result, dry-cleaners need to have carbon absorbers cleaned more often. For those that are particularly busy, it should be a daily task.
The distillation unit holds the cleaning solvent to be readied for being sent to the water separator, which is made up of a boiler and a condenser. This condenses the solvent to make it easier for it to be separated from the water.
This too needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that the solvent remains as pure as possible after separation, which means that potential contaminants in the distillation unit need to be removed, daily if necessary.
Checking for Leaks
Dry-cleaning machines are tough, but as we mentioned before, have a number of working parts that eventually result in wear and tear.
When this gets bad enough, many of the parts of your system will begin to leak. This is not only dangerous (since you are working with heat and chemicals), but will also result in higher costs since you will be going through far more water and solvent than you ought to.
Wash the Lint Bag
Even after clearing the lint bag on a daily basis, it will still become contaminated after a while.
Sure, it might not be bogged down with performance decreasing lint, but it will still be contaminated.
If left unchecked, this will lessen the cleaning quality of your machine, and may even produce odours after a clean.
Because of this, the actual lint bag should be laundered weekly.
Looking for Leaks: Diving Deeper
Even after your weekly check for leaks, you should have a closer look about once a month to ensure that everything is in order. This counts for both liquid leaks and vapour ones.
So, take some time out each month to inspect your exhaust damper, the ductwork in the lint trap and carbon absorber.
Dealing with Build-Up
Lots of build-ups will occur overtime as well, even with daily and weakly cleans of button traps and lint bags.
So, take some time each month to double-check that no lint and debris has built up over time. Pay particular attention to the temperature probe on the lint trap, the vent on the water separator, and on your condenser coils.
Every 6 Months: The Muck Cooker
The muck cooker is also an important part for distilling the solvent, except that this contraption allows it to be separated from muck produced from cleaning.
Just from this description of what it does, you can imagine how badly these components get bogged down after a while.
As a result, they need to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure that the distilled solvent remains pure. To do this effectively, you should clean the muck cooker at least twice a year.
Annual Maintenance: Coil Cleaning
Your condenser coils will also need a clean after extensive use, but it doesn’t need to happen as frequently as other types of maintenance; it should definitely be done at least annually, however.
Contact Condrou Manufacturers to Buy Dry Cleaning Machines
Is your dry-cleaning business on the lookout for a new, high-quality dry-cleaning machine? Contact a representative from Condrou Manufacturing today, or visit our website for additional details on our offers.