A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place

I remember this title as a phrase from my Grandfather and Father when something was missing from the plant in the way of tools. Part of that mantra was also to have a clean and orderly drycleaning and laundry plant. Another phrase often repeated, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I’m not sure just where that saying came from but it is mixed with a jumble of southern sayings and every day (in days past) phrases uttered around America and abroad. Certainly in the region where I came from in Houston, like most southerners we have a whole vocabulary of sayings that would set an English teacher a howling! One of the neat things about when I traveled everywhere working was to run across the neighborhood sayings and dialect. What a learning experience. Viewing and working in plants from New Jersey to California and everywhere in between was a great experience into what others do and say.

Suffice it to say that most plant owners do almost everything the same, just slower or faster or better. Does anyone doubt that a clean and more organized plant is a model for efficiency? Today the EPA as well as customers will make a decision by how clean and organized your plant is. Who wants to bring in their special clothes to have them crammed and dumped in a bag or worse yet, tossed in a pile on the floor until they are counted and tagged. Believe it or not, I used to see that from time to time. It certainly made me do a double take. We all get busy and unless you are a fastidious soul, the plant can get dis-organized and dirty as the day goes on. Truly everyone should have a low wage handyman who can clean up the place every night. I remember the routine; every garment is to be tagged before you go home. Some employees (counter people) end up going home late at night and they are expected to clean up the store/plant. Tsk tsk, this leaves the disaster of overtime as well as burning out your employees. Naturally, a slow plant can be taken care of and kept clean and orderly by the staff or one person that may be there in the evenings.

Treat You Like A Wet Dog In A Wagon

Dirt is nasty and linty and dust from clothes flow through the plant and sticks to greasy moving parts that just get greasier by the minute. How unsightly is that? Starting at the boiler room, there should be nothing setting around or stored here. In some plants they do not have the luxury of a separate room for a work bench and tools, but smaller plants end up with the workroom in the boiler room, not too great an idea. If the inspector comes a knocking, it will behoove you to have an organized and legal boiler room. If they are unhappy, they might treat you like a wet dog in a wagon. Can’t have that folks!

Naw, It Ain’t Necessary

The drycleaning area of the plant is the filthiest in so many plants I visit. Usually because there is a person running the machine who either is not ordered to clean his machine or he just doesn’t care. Either way it’s a mess. If you ask that person if they keep any records, they sometimes look like a hound dog lost in the briars. Records you say? “Naw, it ain’t necessary,” is the usual response, or my question sends them boiling into a fit of rage about how useless inspectors or the government are. Not a pretty picture. As far as cleanliness of the machine goes, I truly believe if a drycleaner is working clean and wipes down his machine front and back every day, then it is easy to keep clean. Not the most pleasant job but it keeps the old paycheck coming in. How any owner could allow their $60,000 + investment stay dirty escapes me. What is also chilling is when you meet a prima donna cleaner/spotter that is short on ears and long on mouth. They don’t like anyone messing around with their domain. I understand.

Now comes the matter of a spotting board, or more correctly said in front of your customers – the stain removal board. This is usually messy as a hen fight. An annual cleaning of this muck machine is critical. Daily cleaning of the screen and under it is essential. I would hate for anyone to see that I remove stains on a contraption that is dirtier than the garment I am working on. Ugly! In their defense, if it is the drycleaner person, they are usually busy as a hibernating bear. They have little time for that chore! Also, the pressing machines should be clean and the area around them, leaving no dust, dirt or grease within sight or touch of a garment. The same goes for the inspection area. This is a pristine area of final glamour to your garments. In couture plants this is considered the prim rose of the plant. It should be kept pristine clean.

Well, that about wraps it up for the issue. Sorry I missed so many friends and customers in Las Vegas at the great show. Most of you know I can’t fly anymore. Always remember that “love is knowing the worst about someone and still caring”. So… tolerate those customers you love even though they can be a royal pain in the neck sometimes. I trust everyone enjoyed the great holiday about America we just celebrated.

I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these boots are killin’ me!

About Kenney Slatten

Kenney Slatten Training Company is a Dry Cleaning and Laundry Consulting Firm Specializing in Environmental Training and Certification. Kenney Slatten Training Company, or KSTC, is based in Texas with offices in Arizona and California. Kenney Slatten is a certified instructor/trainer for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), is actively involved in the San Diego Drycleaners Association, the California Cleaners Association, is an Allied Trade board member of DLI, the Executive Director of Western States Drycleaners & Launderers Association, a member of the International Drycleaners Congress, and a columnist for American Drycleaner and Western Cleaner and Launderer magazines. The Kenney Slatten Training Company provides the only complete environmental training and inspection process. Started in 1987, Kenny became the first instructor for California E.P.A, OSHA, and state regulations. Kenney publishes a 36 point plant requirement every year in trade publications which is his guide for plant training and certification. We are the only company that provides dry cleaning and laundry specific environmental training. Kenney Slatten is a third generation drycleaner/laundryman from Houston, Texas. His company, KSTC, can teach you the skills you need to have a successful plant. His wagon is found all over the country parked under a tree just waiting for the next call to come to your plant. He can be reached at (800) 429-3990; e-mail: kslatten@aol.com or go to: www. kstraining.com.