The Great Soap Opera

In the old days people called detergent soap. In the earliest days it was a mere animal product. Today it is all chemicals with a tad of natural products in it. Folks called it soap back when it really gave off a lot of suds. Suds make people excited. They believe it is cleaning better when it suds up a lot. Most of us reading this know that is not true, even if you have only very basic knowledge of chemicals. But that does not stop me from wanting to see suds. Most people want to hear detergent used as a word instead of soap. Detergent has a lot of filler in it as well as “soap like” molecules and the really interesting part is that it keeps the soil in suspension until it flushes and drains, so as not to re-contact on the clothes! Pretty neat huh?

Requires No More Time Than It Takes To Butter Your Biscuits

My grief is with the fact that some home users think that home detergent is equivalent to the big boy stuff, like what we buy – commercial quality products. My even greater grief is with the laundry or wetcleaning man who believes the home stuff is good enough for his professional use. If both of these thoughts and arguments were a bowl, if would not have enough gravy to cover up my chicken fried steak! Commercial is commercial and home products are for home use. Period. Anybody can say their facility puts out the best shirt, wetcleaning or pants, but how dirty were they to start with? What part of town did they come from? What is the price being charged? A whole lot of factors go into the equation. These substitutions and justifications, as I call them, are akin to “looking the other way,” so to speak. We have a saying down south, “you can put your boots in an oven but that don’t make ’em biscuits! And yes, these boots are still killin me!

I Hate To Think A Customer Could Tell Me How To Do My Job

I’ve rode with enough chemical salesmen in my time to learn a thing or two about cleaning products, stain removal chemicals, and their proper relation to a well-run quality plant. Forty plus years of doing this has helped me learn to balance reason, opinion and pride with the truth about quality. Someone once told me “quality is decided by the customer.” I have never heard anything so modernistic and fool hardy in my life. When will people learn that this industry sets the standards, not the public? Gee whizz I hate to think that a customer would tell me how to do my job.

I’m rambling, of course, here in regards to soaps, but my intention is to tie this topic into wetcleaners and laundrymen to the truth about using mom’s home products in the plant instead of the commercial stuff. That is my goal here. Now I realize there are exceptions, and maybe your salesman is treating you like a wet dog in a wagon. But gosh, these salesmen fellas are a wealth of information and they want to help you. All you have to do is trade with them. Sounds reasonable to me. They are looking out for your best interests. That is what buying local can mean to you in terms of higher price and quality. Again, there are exceptions, but for the most part the old saying, “you get what you pay for” is true. Your plants may be well run and very profitable without my revelations written here, but looking at local sales companies as your friend rather than a bandit, will only pay big dividends. Now,  I am not saying there is anything wrong with price buying or catalog sales, but it sure is not the same as buying from the salesman who lives near your town. The same holds true for your chemical reps.

Time And Temperature Are Serious Factors For Quality

There are many home products that lay claim to: “new and improved,” “less fillers” and so on and so on. Not to be fooled by these marketing tricks, a serious qualified person in our business may subscribe to that idea, but they sure don’t want to buy it for plant use. Not the same, my friends. Nowhere near it. I know some of you really believe the price and quality make buying that stuff worthwhile, but really, it doesn’t. The challenge of cleaning clothes in your neighborhood can be totally different than your competitors. Some of the clothes such as laundry shirts, put a whole new meaning to “ring around the collar.” You could not get them clean with a blow torch. But you will surely come closer to it than washing your 35 or so shirts in home laundry products. I have even seen plant operators do their shirts in home washers. Let’s see, home washer, home detergent, that sounds like what folks do at home!

Proctor and Gamble, once lead the market of home detergents. They may still. Those products are good. Tide, Cheer and Oxydol still lead every year in the polls for what consumers believe are the best detergents. Among other things, a smidgen of sodium perborate is in them for bleaching purposes. That is good, but not the same as what you can do with a sink of pure industrial strength sodium perborate, 30% industrial (not the store stuff) ammonia and a good wetcleaning neutral detergent. Personally, I like Oxydol – alot. I can see the results of the sodium perborate if I let the load soak in my home washer awhile. But I would not use it at the plant.

I hope to see many of you in Fort Worth in April for the outstanding Texas show with the Southwest Drycleaners Association. Meanwhile…I’m headin’ to the wagon, 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: or go to: www.

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