Hard Water in a Commercial Laundry

What if I told you that you could save money, reduce energy consumption, and increase your commercial laundry‘s efficiency?  If you’ve got hard water, the answer may be a phone call away.  Most of the United States has at least moderately hard water, so if you’re in an area with naturally soft water consider yourself lucky!  The map below gives a general look at water hardness levels throughout the US.  Of course, your mileage may vary.


From the USGS

A water softening system can have a dramatic effect on the effectiveness of your wash line, through reduced detergent usage and lower wash temperature requirements.  In fact, a study performed by Scientific Services S/D Inc. found that stain removal remained the same with half of the detergent and water temperatures could be reduced from 100F to 60F.  Although the study was performed with homestyle washers, the results achieved should be applicable to commercial laundries (with notable exceptions like food and beverage laundering and healthcare to name a few).

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is caused by calcium and magnesium leaching into the water.  Aquifers that are largely rock composed of dolomite, gypsum, calcite, lime can leach hard water causing ions into the water.  Typically, hard water is measured in grains per gallon, or just grains for short:

Grains Relative Hardness
0-1gpg Soft Water
1-3.5gpg Moderately Hard
3.5-7gpg Hard
7-10gpg Very Hard
>10gpg Extremely Hard

Effects of Hard Water on the Wash Process

Soap is much less effective in hard water due to a chemical reaction that takes place between the calcium or magnesium ions in the water and the detergent.  This reaction creates salts (calcium chloride or magnesium chloride) that precipitate out of solution.  In other words, you end up with solids that don’t dissolve particularly well in the water.  The more common term for this salt is soap scum and it builds up anywhere the wash solution touches.  Inside the washer itself, on the door glass, in the drain, and more importantly, on the goods themselves.  Whites will turn yellow-gray over time, darker colors will fade, and softer fabrics like terry towels brittle and scratchy.

Results of the Study

Scientific Services S/D Inc. conducted a study using varying levels of water hardness, varying amounts of detergents, and temperatures of 60º, 80º and 100ºF.  Savings were noted for all levels of hardness, down to 5gpg.  The ultimate result of the study showed that soft water helped to remove stains better than increased water temperature or more detergent.  Even better, softened water with less detergent and lower temperatures actually provided a higher degree of whiteness compared to harder water even with higher temperatures and more detergent.


A water softener is a valuable investment for a commercial laundry suffering from hard water issues.  It’s a win for the environment as well since less detergent will be dumped down the drain and lower wash temperatures reduce the amount of energy needed.  Other important parts of your laundry are also affected by hard water – piping and plumbing, water valves, and water heaters, to name a few. A water softening system is a wonderful addition to a commercial laundry when hard water is present.


Courtesy Al Adcock B&C Technologies


When choosing a new washer price is not the only factor. You want to make sure that you are getting the features and quality your location needs. When shopping by price you are ignoring many major factors.

  1. Extraction speed of washer. This is important as the higher extraction the less moisture is left in your linen resulting in shorter dry times. As dryers are hardest on your linen this is important. Too high of extraction and you can damage your linen and cause the fibers to stretch or tear. There is only a 5-7% difference in retained moisture between a 200G washer and a 300G washer. 400G only decreases moisture retention by less than 3% from 300G washer. The big selling point of the Unimac washer is the new 400G extraction. The issue is you are paying a hefty price tag and getting little to no benefits. as each 3% of additional moisture retention translates to less than a minute of additional drying time.
  2. Controller features on a washer a the most important. If your washer is not fully programmable you are going to reduce the quality of linen your chemical provider can give you. Programmable machines allow for adjustable bath times and water levels. Linen replacement is the highest cost for any hospitality business. Programmable washers equal cleaner linen which in turn gives you longer linen life and less replacement.
  3. Simplicity is important as well. Machines that are over-engineered or have LCD displays or all aluminum locks or hinges just translates to more expensive parts. Cost of ownership must be considered when purchasing a new washer.
  4. Last and most important. By a brand that is made for your industry. So many Hotels and care facilities are choosing to go with Dexter or Speed Queen machines due to price. It should be known these machines are from the coin laundry industry. These machines on average get 3-5 loads a day. Hotels or care facilities process 10-12 loads per day. So make sure your machine was built for the OPL market and not the coin market so that you will get the most for your investment.

Buying a new machine is a large investment for a business. But by making smart educated choices from the start you can be sure that that investment will pay for itself.


For sure, it is more than likely that a commercial dryer service like a laundromat is located somewhere in your neighborhood. However, the knowledge of how these machines work is not known to many. To satisfy everyone’s curiosity, let’s go through the fascinating processes of turning your soaking wet clothes dry and ready to be pressed and worn!

How Does a Commercial Dryer Work?

In learning how things work, you will get to have a renewed appreciation of these simple things. The next time you go to your trusted commercial dryer service, you’re going to get a whole new perspective on the art and process of clothes drying process.

So how do dryers do their job? In a nutshell, clothes dryers work their magic by following the science of evaporation. They turn the liquid water that runs within the threads of your clothes in vapor or gas and then they get rid of it.

Simple, isn’t it? However, there’s an entire process that goes through this simple appliance. After all, understanding how things work is all about learning the specifics. These appliances bring together a combination of heat, air, and motion to effectively remove moisture and dry your clothes.

Heat Production

Heat mainly speeds up the drying process for your clothes. With either electricity, propane, or natural gas, dryers power up the heating element similar to the ones used in water heaters or ovens. Modern dryers mainly use electricity to make this happen.

Once enough heat is present, a blower distributes the heated air throughout the inside of the dryers and on to the wet laundry. Thermal fuses, as well as thermostats, are present to regulate temperature and prevent the appliance from overheating and damage the clothes–or worse, cause fires.

Air Circulation

Just like how the breeze helps clothes dry quickly on a clothesline, dryers use heated air circulation to remove all the remaining moisture from the clothes. Through the vents or openings, heated air goes around with the help of a blower or a fan. The process repeats itself until the clothes dry up and are ready.

During the cycle, fresh air also comes through the vent as the moisture exits from the back of the dryer and out of it. Therefore, it’s important to check if the appliance comes with proper venting to avoid blockages that will disrupt the smooth process of drying the fabrics.

Motion Control

Everything goes into motion with the dryer drum. It efficiently tumbles the clothes as it is an essential component in properly drying the fabrics. Without it, the clothes will pile up and not allow the presence of proper air circulation.

The drums turn in a specific direction through a simple pulley that works with an electric motor that powers it up. In this setup, the drum sits in what is known as a roller system which gets its support from an axle.

Modern clothes dryers still work with all these components. They also come with specific functions which add to their features. One good example here is a steam dryer. This appliance helps remove wrinkles and strong odors that reside in the fabric.

All in all, this is how your laundromat’s trusted commercial dryer service effectively dries your clothes and makes them ready to wear. Indeed, it’s a specific process that makes the magic happen down to a science.

Wash IQ offers laundry machine maintenance, installation and repair services in: Alameda County, Alpine County, Amador County, Butte County, Calaveras County, Colusa County, Contra Costa County, Del Norte County, El Dorado County, Fresno County, Glenn County, Humboldt County, Imperial County, Inyo County, Kern County, Kings County, Lake County, Lassen County, Los Angeles County, Madera County, Marin County, Mariposa County, Mendocino County, Merced County, Modoc County, Mono County, Monterey County, Napa County, Nevada County, Orange County, Placer County, Plumas County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Benito County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, City and County of San Francisco, San Joaquin County, San Luis Obispo County, San Mateo County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, Shasta County, Sierra County, Siskiyou County, Solano County, Sonoma County, Stanislaus County, Sutter County, Tehama County, Trinity County, Tulare County, Tuolumne County, Ventura County, Yolo County, Yuba County

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