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Mold and Mildew

Mold and Mildew

Have you ever went bowling or ridden in a boat? Maybe you’ve used a calendar at least one or two times this week? Or perhaps, you’ve cut or burned yourself recently? You are probably wondering what these things have in common with mold and mildew?

Two words: ANCIENT EGYPTIANS

ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing bowling, boats, calendars and many more things that we still use today. The Egyptians also found a way to keep their cuts and burns from getting infected. Ready for it?

MOLDY BREAD!

moldy bread and penicillian

Egyptian doctors found that packing molded bread into cuts and burns would help them to heal more quickly – or at least keep them from getting infected. The process worked because Some fungi – like our modern Penicillin – will block bacteria!

ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, MOLDY BREAD, LAUNDRY BLOG?

Do we have you curious as to where we’re going with this topic?

If you ever been around molded or mildewed fabric then keep reading. Our topic this month is mold and mildew.

MOLD AND MILDEW

Do you have some molded or mildewed laundry items sitting in your laundry area right now?

structural mold damage to a laundromat

Fungi growth can cause people to contract asthma, have allergic reactions and many other health-related issues. Both mold and mildew also quickly spread to surrounding items and, if left long enough, may even cause structural damage to your building. Because mold causes a lot of problems, it needs to be taken care of immediately!

How To Treat Mold

  • Use a brush to remove as many mold spores as possible (preferably do this in a well-ventilated area, and wear a mask)
  • Check labels to see if bleach can be used. (no label? Do a bleach test by mixing 2 tsp. of regular bleach with a ¼ cup of water. Put a drop in a concealed area and wait a bit to check for color change.)
    • Bleach-safe fabrics can now be washed in your preferred mixture of bleach and detergent
    • No-bleach fabrics may be washed with color safe bleach in the warmest water for that fabric.
    • An alternative (for customers that may not want items bleached) is to use the hottest water for the fabric and add 1 cup of white vinegar. The fabric must then soak for at least 2 hours before normal detergent is then added and the wash cycle is completed.

A more in-depth look at bleach can be found in our “To Bleach or Not to Bleach” article.

Now, 3 questions for you:

1 – Has a customer brought you their already molded items? 

You can treat those items, of course. But as much as you may want to, you can’t tell them to not let it happen again! 

2 – Did the mold grow while sitting in your washers?

mold and washer and dryer seals

Oops! first, re-train employees (or yourself!) about promptly moving wet laundry into dryers and also on proper washer care. Run a cycle of hot water and bleach through the washer to quickly clean the machine. This process will keep spores from being moved to other linen and the washers’ seals and gaskets.

3 – Did that linen become moldy while sitting in your dryer?

ductwork cleaning to prevent mold and mildew

 Oops again! You first need to determine WHY that mold grew. Make sure that you selected a long enough drying time. Once again, re-train your staff on proper drying procedures. However, if proper times were selected and the laundry still wasn’t dry, you need to check your dryer. A dryer has to extract about ½ a gallon of water in a normal drying cycle. That’s a lot of moisture that you’re requiring that machine to expel! If the dryer isn’t properly vented OR those vents are clogged – then that moisture stays in the machine and in your laundry!

For help on dryers refer to our dryer maintenance post.

Feel free to call us here at LES to get your washer and dryer cleaned on a regular basis, and to clear your ductwork from the equipment to the outside. 

Now that you have that linen clean! You’re better equipped for the next time you’re confronted with a pile of damp, moldy items! Oh – and the moldy bread info – you might want to just keep that for a conversation starter, you probably don’t really need to use that particular method of healing!