THE TECHNICIAN ANSWERS — Is it better to repair or to replace in order to reduce the environmental impact?


Do you have problems with machines or products that you use at your laundry?
Would you like to make things clearer on future possible technological development in dry-cleaning and manufacturing sector?
Do you need to check issues such as laws, regulations and procedures?
Knowing how many questions you deal with while at work, Detergo dedicates this new and useful tool, “The Technician Answers” column to its readers.
In every issue Gualtiero Beretta, one of the most wanted repairing technicians and consultants in the world of dry-cleaning for years will cope with every question thanks to his skills, analytical competences and reliability.
You can consult him by sending your e-mails to

So many things are being said about environment today. How can we, laundry owners reduce the environmental impact and decrease the consumption of chemical products and most of all, energy? How can we control how much our wet-cleaning, dry-cleaning and ironing machines consume? Is it better to replace the equipment or to repair it? The research today is aiming at a better use of raw materials and machines. Aren’t we risking to see cases like the automotive ones where the efficiency sold is only apparently better thanks to some more or less known technological tricks used?

Riccardo Ripamonti


Dear Riccardo,

You have opened such a vast topic here. Let’s try to define some guidelines.

As far as environmental impact goes, not always does the reduction of chemical pollution combine with energy saving and with the consequent impact deriving from the production of energy itself.

chemicalsLet’s talk about the direct environmental impact coming from emissions of polluting agents.  First, we are talking about dry-cleaning machines where the latest generation types allow for a significant reduction in polluting emissions that are consequent to the everyday use of machines. In case of wet-cleaning, the main difference today lies in the chemical product (detergents and finishing) in use. Nowadays, chemistry has made great strides and there are very high quality products on the shelves allowing to use extremely reduced dosage. Consequently, the consumption of the detergent for the entire batch to wash is very much reduced which is an advantage for the environment as far as the decrease of drained polluted water is concerned.

Unfortunately, however, the biggest environmental impact deriving from a laundry activity is, sadly due to the wrong use and wrong maintenance of machines as well as to the “reckless” use of products without following the guidelines indicated by the producer.

dreamstime_xl_29670927Here are a few rules to calm your conscience:

  • Follow accurately the ordinary maintenance regulations of machines with a special attention to filters cleaning.
  • Have the gaskets replaced in advance (dry-cleaning), when you believe that the sealing might be at risk.
  • Use the right programs for the type of garments to be washed at all times. For instance, in case of dry-cleaning do not use programs with short drying time if the load is big, nor programs with long drying time in case of a small load. In case of wet cleaning, make sure to have set a full range of programs in order to deal with various treatment necessities.
  • Keep a good range of products for specific needs so that you can always use the right one for that specific need using the adequate amount of it, therefore avoiding the waste of less specific products in great amounts.
  • It is preferable to choose the automatic insertion of detergents in case of wet-cleaning to stabilize the process and acquire a constant quality as well as reduce the waste of products that typically occurs while they are handled manually.
  • Choose products that allow to use less water. Smaller quantity of water for the given quantity of garments.
  • Acquire machines that are suitable for the bulk to wash and for the type of work to do. Differentiate the capacity of load of the machines as it is useless to have an 18Kg machine wash 3Kg loads. It is much better to have a 10Kg one or use two machines.
  • Pay great attention to the storage of products and waste. Inadequate storage often causes polluting incidents.
  • Get training and train the personnel about the risks relating to handling the products.
  • Never ignore the damage of machines even if it is small.

FF8_1487Let me open a whole different chapter about refrigerating gases that the dry-cleaning machines contain. Apart from being obliged by law, a regular check to prevent leakage and its immediate repair are our social obligation today. Climate change is undeniable and it has become a global problem of primary importance as the refrigerating gases released into the atmosphere strongly contribute to it. We should therefore avoid uploading the machinery with the refrigerant without first having repaired the damage that compromises the hermetic sealing of the machine.

As far as replacement of machines is concerned, only a very accurate economical analysis of business costs can give a guideline about investments to make. Reparation, maintenance and the inspection of machines do not depend on the fact whether the machines are old or new, the maintenance is, as a matter of fact, the most precious “good” as it allows to keep the original performance of machines unchanged. We can say that a new machine is definitely better than an old one as long as it is correctly maintained, otherwise it could work much worse than an “elderly” machine.

Finally, I would like to assure you, Riccardo that in the automotive sector, the electronic swindle is easier to happen. In case of laundry machines, it is necessary for the buyer to know their needs and to work with trustworthy people and reliable companies so as not to commit wrong purchases that will then not only undermine the productive cycle but the environment as well.


BERETTAGualtiero Beretta started to work as a maintenance technician in the sector of laundry machines in 1989 at DONINI International SpA official customer care office and gained his experience while working for the main Italian machine manufacturers.

Specialized in preventive maintenance, in mechanical maintenance of bearings and rolling elements, qualified, and in the possession of the certificate for refrigerating system maintenance, Beretta has acquired great working experience together with broad technical scientific knowledge through hard work and his passion for it.

He publishes important information relative to the operators of the sector on his updated website


 Detergo Magazine – February 2016