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There is a high demand for laundry and dry cleaning services. Their services range across a wide variety of disciplines, including hospitality, health, catering and the private sector. You may well find a local dry-cleaner or laundry service conveniently situated in a shopping centre near your home which is ideal for smaller households, whilst industrial dry cleaning and laundry companies will have the specific capacity to cater for larger loads on a daily basis.
Young people who have recently ‘left the nest’ and single or married professionals often find themselves living in apartments where there is little or no capacity for washing their laundry. If they are lucky, the apartment will have an automatic washing machine, but no dryer. This is a problem when drying larger items such as bedsheets, duvet covers, blankets, towels and heavy clothing like jeans, jackets, jumpers, etc. Blankets, towels and heavy clothing items take a long time to dry, even when hung outside on a washing line, but if you do not have access to a washing line or are worried about leaving your laundry unattended on a communal line, you are left with these items hanging on unsightly clothes-horses or over chairs in your apartment.
Since it is generally advised that bedsheets be washed at least every two weeks (weekly is preferable), and towels should be completely dried after every use and washed at least twice per week, this leaves the small apartment owner with a major problem. If you find yourself in such a situation, do yourself a favour and use the services of a laundry service which will wash, dry, iron and fold your laundry and have it ready for you to collect. Not only are you relieved of the problem of washing and drying your laundry, but you get it ironed and folded too. Who could resist?
Accommodation and catering establishments such as hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, conference centres, restaurants, etc., together with health-related sectors such as hospitals all produce a large amount of washing, sterilizing and ironing on a daily basis. Whilst some establishments may have their own laundry facilities which are able to handle their demands easily, others outsource their laundry needs to professional operations which guarantee a quick turnaround and consistent high quality service levels. Since hygiene is a huge factor in these establishments, and particularly in hospitals, laundry services are well equipped to sanitize bedsheets and towels - which are susceptible to contamination by mould and mildew in a damp bathroom - by drying them on high heat settings.
For instance, drying these items on a high heat setting for at least 28 minutes is the most effective way of killing viruses, whilst germs can be eliminated by washing on a high heat setting and then putting them in the dryer for at least 45 minutes. In a large household with frequent wash loads, the electricity costs would be extremely high.
Dry cleaning is a different process entirely to wet laundering. It can be defined as any cleaning process which uses a solvent other than water. The dry cleaning process cleans fabrics through the use of a chemical solvent which contains little or no water at all. Because the solvent does not penetrate the surface of the fabric, cleaning is necessarily limited to the outer layer only, which means that perspiration which has penetrated into the fabric will not be removed and the problem of odour will remain. Many fabrics are designated as ‘dry clean only’, which is a problem if, for instance, your non-washable coverings on your lounge suite have been the target of visiting tomcats marking their claim on your furniture or your ageing and incontinent pet has had an accident on the seat. Whilst dry cleaning will keep the covers looking good and clean, it will not remove organic smells such as sweat or urine, which is a bigger problem than one might think. Unfortunately, many dry-clean-only fabrics and clothes have long memories which last more than one season! Whilst treating the immediate problem by using a deodorising spray which contains alcohol, fragrance and other chemicals which bind to the odour and mask it temporarily, these sprays build up on the material over time, which may ultimately ruin the fabric entirely.
Laundry and dry cleaning services are not particularly hard to find, although, admittedly, dry cleaners do not always offer laundry services as well. Generally, a walk through a shopping centre will locate a dry cleaning service. Nonetheless, it is always wise to test a new service with a smaller item first to see how they perform. When you are dealing with high-value clothing or upholstery items, you need to be sure that you are comfortable with the professionalism and service provided. This is why online search sites such as Uptasker are such a valuable aid when looking for new suppliers. Uptasker provides online ratings and customer reviews in their listings, as well as listing in specific geographical areas so you can easily find a specialist who is situated conveniently close to you. Another great feature of this site is the ability to request quotes from multiple suppliers - all without leaving your home. You can also find these services through advertisements in newspapers and general home magazines, as well as through flyers advertising specials for specific periods, or through the Yellow Pages. If possible, try and get word-of-mouth referrals, as you can be sure that you are dealing with a high quality service in this way.
Be wise and have the laundry or dry cleaning service clean a smaller article of clothing first before handing over your valuable or bespoke items, so that you can gauge the quality of their professionalism upfront. Whilst all professionals are qualified and skilled in their work, some are more knowledgeable than others, especially those who have been in business for many years. It is pretty certain that they will have had experience with nearly all types of fabric and stains, which is great for your peace of mind. For more tips, see our laundry and dry cleaning specialist articles.