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REPORTAGE — XXI century cleaning, a multi-sensory experience

Sector operators agree: optical brighteners used in the past are not enough anymore. Today, clients want to have their garments cleaned and sanitized with the perception of acomplete process including machines maintenance, all the work cycles management and the choice of solvents.
Anothercrucial factor concerns shops’ internal environments: clean, well scented with the possibility of seeing the operators at work and receiving a friendly welcome at the counter

A laundry called Euro Lavanderia exists in Naples, in Prato and in Andria, too. Whereas Europa laundries can be found in Macerata, Mestre, Carpi, San Benedetto del Tronto, San Michele al Tagliamento, Chieti, Agrate Brianza, Bevazzana, Genova, Montecatini Terme, Aldeno and Piove di Sacco.
A country like Italy that, according to the latest results of political elections, is not really that fond of Europe as far as some Italian regions go, witnesses the increase in the choice of business names with the word Europe in it. The trend is already telling us something important about laundries of XXI century as it seems to be going towards the idea of conveying a new concept of cleaning from the very beginning, that is from the name of the shop itself. The new concept of cleaning reflected by other European countries seems to be expressed by a more continental feel to it and less local, a more regulated and less improvised one, certified and not intuitive anymore.
Quoting one of the films by Vanzina brothers, there is nothing behind the sign … or perhaps there is a new concept of cleaning generated by our times instead?
Pushed by the curiosity to learn more about it, we handed the question to the renowned sector operators
who supplied numerous answers reported below.
“The times when optical brighteners were used are over. Once, the happy housewives would come home
from a laundry shop carrying extremely white shirts and perfectly well ironed pants with a crease” starts Marco Boccola, the Sales Director at Ilsa, a producer of laundry machines based in San Vincenzo di Galliera, Bologna area. He continues: “Today, clients who enter a dry-cleaning shop do not just go towards the counter. Once entered, they look around, pay attention to the smell or give a quick look at the machines in the back. The reason why they do all this is because the place from which clean garments come out should be clean in its entire structure. It is expected to be in order, tidy, welcoming and nice looking. Using words like surfactants or bacteriostatic in shops that look untidy or bed smelling can only highlight the illusionary effect of optical brighteners used last century.
The words acquire much more sense if pronounced in shops equipped with highly professional machines
subjected to continuous maintenance, clean inside and that produce clean garments coming out from the
machines portholes”.
“The equation clean equals hygiene is much stricter than it used to be” confirms Gabriele Giotto, the Sales and Product Manager of Grandimpianti, a producer of laundry machines based in Sospirolo, Belluno. He makes his point: “In XXI century, just to take a solid example, washing does not mean making the stains disappear from our sight. The fact that they are not visible anymore does not mean that the chemical effects are gone, e.g. mold or textile deterioration due to the soiled parts of the garment. We need to use efficient, strictly controlled and tested chemical products and machines that meet all the parameters followed by textile maintenance sector in order to make the most of them”.
“At this point, – Giotto continues – solvent alone does not guarantee obtaining clean garments that a laundry needs to provide constantly, wash after wash through the use of professional machines and not imitations of domestic models. I am talking about machines that can also be used for wet cleaning. Machines acquired from supplying companies that guarantee remote assistance preventing and finding solutions for cases ranging from goose down winter jackets cleaning to washing garments worn by nursery home inpatients subjected to particular health problems”.
“The concept of cleaning has been subjected to quite  an evolution in the name of quality over the last years” explains Corinna Mapelli, a co-owner of Trevil that produces ironing machines in Pozzo d’Adda, Milan area. She continues: “Ironing sector definitely has had to face some important challenges due to the changes taking place in laundries nowadays. What we witness today is more and more common, if not dominant use of water in garments washing processes”.
“Without doubt, – Corinna Mapelli continues – a drycleaned garment passes through ironing lines without having changed the shape almost at all, therefore it represents fewer ironing difficulties than a wet cleaned garment. Today, we have moved from ironing of a garment as an extra value so to say, to an actual, incisive and performing ironing. The technological breakthrough is clearly visible by the more common use of tensioning finishers and blowing and vacuuming ironing boards. The latter ones reflect the idea of ergonomics more and more often due to the type of work carried out by the operators”. “We can actually say that – Corinna Mapelli concludes – clean linen and garments produced by the laundries of XXI century are a result of different, integral quality visible through both the washing processes and ironing techniques”.
According to Marco Niccolini, the Sales Director of Renzacci, a producer of laundry machines based in Città di Castello, Umbria, the perspective extends to the society: “Nowadays, it is actually social networks – he says – that tell us all about current changes taking place in our society where clean means wellness, and where values such as biodegradability and hypoallergenic have become crucial. It is true that natural solvents, called this way due to their natural origins, have doubled their action range in dry-cleaning laundries becoming competitive to PERC. What is more, their use requires the producers of laundry machines to provide machines able to protect textile colours and treat soft, delicate fabrics”.
“All this is good for the health and wallets of those who invest in the changes in progress – Niccolini concludes.

We witness it during our Academy Days organized for entrepreneurs and sector operators. A huge
number of applications come from all over Italy. It means that the demand for the new cleaning concept in and out of the dry-cleaning shop is rising also in places like Vipiteno or Punta Raisi”.
At this point, a comment by a laundry owner becomes relevant. It comes from Legnano where Federico  Cimini owns Quadrato Verde, a business composed of four “Lavanderie del Centro” laundry shops. “In XXI century, cleaning makes part of clients’ fundamental needs but it cannot be isolated anymore – Cimini reveals. – It means flexible opening hours and clean, tidy and scented internal environment of the shop where clients can actually see the operators at work. This could constitute the basis of trust for shop owners and employees to establish a crucial dialogue with clients who leave their garments at the counter together with their story made of fibers, textile, stains
and previous washing cycles. Good washing starts with the dialogue with clients”.
Alessandro Rolli, the Managing Director at Kannegiesser Italia, a producer of industrial laundry machines and plants expresses his views that contribute to our mind broadening as far as the topic goes.
“Quality has become a fundamental value for any laundry industry and linen rental businesses – Rolli writes.
Besides, on the contrary to what is sometimes claimed, quality can be scientifically measured through
various factors:
– Process conductivity
– Percentage of re-washed linen
– Fibers deterioration (mechanical or chemical)
– Ash content
– The level of white reached
– PH
– Result reproducibility
What is more, washing quality has a significant influence on further processes in a laundry. When it comes to the ironing stage, the ironers could have problems like frequent breaking of belts, yellowing, chest scaling, coating worn out untimely, etc. The quality of washing is therefore, a synonym of well-functioning businesses together with their entire production chain”.
Let us conclude the view points on what the XXI century cleaning means by quoting Mirco Mongillo, the Sales Director of Firbimatic, a producer of washing machines for laundries based in Sala Bolognese.
“High quality of cleaning has become obligatory for laundries willing to handle competition of today – Mongillo explains – and the reasons for it depend also on human factor. Many clients leave their garments at the shopping mall dry-cleaner’s where they used to chat on weather conditions with the friendly Mrs. Maria at the counter.
She won’t be there anymore, as today, we interact with more anonymous and hectic structures by necessity.
Shops will need to replace that missing human factor with integral and excellent quality of cleaning”. •

by Stefano Ferrio

Detergo Magazine March 2018

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