Deciding on the right mix

2 September 2019

Demand within the professional textile care industry for effective, “greener” alternatives to solvent-based cleaning continues to grow. LCN examines current developments

Wetcleaning was developed with the sole goal to develop a cleaning process that effectively cleaned all garments through a safe and biodegradable detergent process. Today, a desire to offer customers more environmentally sensitive options is increasing the appeal of wetcleaning, particularly to new start-ups.

Together with Kreussler in Germany, Miele Professional pioneered the WetCare system in the 1990s, making great progress in improving gentle fabric care and finishing performance. Since then, further advances in technology and chemicals have ensured that a large proportion of textiles can be washed using the WetCare system.

Miele’s washing machines and tumble dryers with their patented honeycomb drum protect the garment fibres. Using biodegradable detergent, low water consumption and a gentle action, stains are removed easily and effectively while saving energy, preserving fabrics and leaving them smelling fresh.

The system has been developed further to eliminate hanging time after the drying cycle. Now the garments spend 25 minutes in the washing machine, 30 minutes drying, and can then go straight onto the finishing equipment, meaning garments can be effectively processed within an hour.

Michael Williams, Lagoon master specialist EMEA of Electrolux Professional, says that wetcleaning developments have made huge leaps forward in recent years, and advanced wetcleaning systems can now allow professional cleaners to process almost any type of textile – even those that would be damaged by drycleaning.

Electrolux Professional’s lagoon Advanced Care wetcleaning system is available in an entry-level Essential Set which perfectly complements any existing drycleaning operation with wetcleaning technology. “In many places where we’ve installed the Electrolux Professional lagoon Advanced Care system alongside a traditional drycleaning machine, the customer starts with the best intention to use them both. We find that, over time, professional cleaners favour the machines that use wetcleaning technology as they can process garments much more efficiently than traditional drycleaning methods. With wetcleaning technology, businesses are no longer turning away work but instead creating a profitable, in-demand laundry service.”


Complete support package

Over the last three years under the Agua Smart brand name, Girbau UK and its detergent partners Ideal have provided a complete support package to customers looking for a wetcleaning solution. From initial business plans and laundry design to long-term aftercare, the company’s specialist wetcleaning consultants listen to every customer’s unique plans and can guide them through what they need on a step-by-step basis.

Having worked successfully with operators big and small across the world, Girbau and Ideal offer a wealth of both business and wetcleaning specific advice including comprehensive training on spotting, washing, drying and finishing equipment.

Now, Girbau is continuing its close relationship with detergent partners Ideal under a new brand identity, Clean Surf. The change has been brought about by the detergent partners expansion into other Girbau subsidiaries across the world. It was felt the time was right to refresh the brand and celebrate its introduction to the global market.

Phillip Kalli, managing director of Ideal says: “It’s been a long time in the works but we both wanted to create something that appeals to a new generation of textile care professional – cooler, affordable, transparent and focused on modern, eco-responsible processing – for laundry and wetcleaning.”

Girbau account manager Debbie Jones says: “The Clean Surf team will continue to offer its commendable training schedule and advice on wetcleaning machines and process, best use of chemical treatments and continue to run the wetcleaning demonstrations at Ideal’s Washeteria, located at Ideal’s manufacturing base in Finedon, Northamptonshire.”

Founded more than 300 years ago as part of Greenwich Hospital, the historic independent Royal Hospital School based in Holbrook in Suffolk, continues to have strong sailing and naval links to this day. As a boarding school, it has substantial quantities of linen to wash, as well as pupils’ clothes to launder. All pupils are supplied with a formal naval uniform and so the highest standards of finishing are equally as important as keeping control of the costs.

In 2018 Girbau installed a completely new laundry including washers, dryers and finishing equipment. Girbau supplied the school’s laundry one Girbau HS-6017 (19kg capacity) washer, two HS-6024 (27kg) washers and one HS-6040 (44kg) washer, all of which are electrically heated and feature Girbau’s advanced and easy to use INTELI controls. For drying the school chose two energy efficient, gas-heated ED460 (25.5kg capacity) and two ED660 (37kg) dryers.

“Our new laundry needed to be able to handle a large quantity of washing and drying daily, as well as offering the highest standards of finish for our pupils’ uniforms,” says Suzanne Whiting, laundry supervisor at the Royal Hospital School. “Girbau were able to supply and install all the equipment we needed for an energy efficient and productive laundry and we are delighted with the high-quality finish we are now able to achieve.”

The Royal Hospital School also appointed Girbau wetcleaning detergent partners Ideal, to provide eco-responsible laundry detergents, to be used alongside Ideal’s specialist Ahoy wetclean products.


A winning combination

Manufacturers and suppliers now look to help customers find a winning combination of machinery, programming and chemicals that will best suit their business and environmental goals.

Cole & Wilson, part of the international Christeyns detergents and chemicals group, are specialists in the development and supply of products for the cleaning of all of today’s complex range of textiles, particularly in providing solutions for smaller drycleaning and laundry installations.

By introducing wetcleaning, drycleaners can offer an enhanced service for both traditional and delicate fabrics, one that is kinder to the environment but also offers a smart use of machinery and chemicals, says the company.

Over the past eighteen months, Cole & Wilson has been working with drycleaners and launderers across UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland to help them develop their range of facilities and introduce wetcleaning skills.

It can be daunting for staff and owners alike when considering adapting a new process so Cole & Wilson see expert training, guidance and the opportunity to ask questions as an essential part of their role.

During 2018 Cole & Wilson ran two wetcleaning events, one in Belfast and one in Dublin. These open days introduced the benefits of wetcleaning and provided information on chemicals, techniques and machines. More events are planned for 2019.

On a business-by-business basis, the knowledgeable team at Cole & Wilson will assist from the outset, assessing the current set up, type and amount of garments laundered and taking into account machinery all ready in situ.

Cole & Wilson work with a number of machine manufacturers and distributors, making recommendations to ensure the correct combination of chemicals and equipment is available.

By working closely with these partners, the team at Cole & Wilson are able to adapt any programmable washer dryer to meet individual needs.

Practical, hands on training, is available on an individual customer basis with assistance and recommendations on pre-planning, cleaning options, costs and benefits and covering all aspects of dosing, finishing and specialist treatments.

Aftercare of the machines is carried out by the machine provider although Cole & Wilson also follow up with regular customer visits and on-going advice and support are available by phone or email at all times.

“With Cole & Wilson it is not only a case of providing the cleaning chemicals” explains business development manager Hemant Zavery. “Assistance with setting up, planning, implementation and aftercare are all on offer from our expert team, this delivers product knowledge and instills confidence for launderers and their staff.”

The company has seen a noticeable increase in the number of retailers incorporating wetcleaning into their business. During 2017, Cole & Wilson worked with four drycleaning outlets in Ireland who had added wetcleaning to their service options. By the end of 2018, this number had risen significantly to 25 outlets across Ireland and Northern Ireland. A similar significant increase has occurred in England, with 26 outlets taking on wetcleaning with Cole & Wilson.

Cole & Wilson’s Pro-Fit portfolio incorporates the AquaWave wetcleaning system for safe and effective cleaning of delicate textiles, such as suits, silk items, wedding dresses, Ugg boots, bags and many more items. 

AquaWave is a combination of innovative chemicals and a balanced cleaning process that when used in a wet cleaning machine, provides outstanding results. Textiles are soft to touch with great body, maintaining their brightness of colour and a lingering fresh smell. It’s unique dry-to-dry technology leaves textiles much less wrinkled, requiring a shorter finish, and so reducing the overall process time to just under an hour

The AquaWave cleaning system works by combining two innovative chemicals:  Pro-Fit Wool and Pro-Fit Body. These are used together in a gentle one-wash-one-rinse cleaning process with temperatures as low as 20C.

Tulsk Dry Cleaners and Laundry in Roscommon, Ireland has been in operation for around 20 years and has recently adopted the use of AquaWave and a wetcleaning regime. Manager Patricia Brady says the results have been fantastic. “We are now using wetcleaning for about 80% of items that previously were drycleaned and are able to accept a broader variety of textiles. The beauty of AquaWave is that it is less harsh on the environment.  It has a lovely smell and things are much easier to finish.”

Cole & Wilson provided the team at Tulsk with three days of training as wetcleaning was a brand new venture and the staff are now confidently treating more delicate items such as wedding dresses, leather jackets and Ugg boots.


Dedicated wetclean system

Tintolav of Italy has created a dedicated wetclean system called Wet & Fresh Cleaning, launching it under Tintolav’s Hygienfresh brand. “The HygienFresh brand has become synonymous with high quality laundry products, so the HygienFresh brand was the natural home for the Wet & Fresh Cleaning range,” explains James Wadsworth, Tintolav’s business development manager. “We spent many years redeveloping our wetcleaning line because we wanted to create a new range that uses the latest technical innovations available to ensure that our wetcleaning system can really be safely used on the widest range of fabric possible.

“Secondly we wanted the range to be compatible with any machine that is wetcleaning ready. Our objectives have been to create highly concentrated products, so reducing the dosage product required, washing at the lowest possible temperature, protecting colours and fabric, and shorter washing cycles. All this helps reduce costs and environmental impact.”

Tintolav has been working with its partner in the UK, Swift Choice Supplies to introduce the wetcleaning system. The process starts with a free consultation from the Swift Choice Supplies team, looking at different aspects of the business from existing machinery through to work processes. Because each business is unique, Swift Choice will provide a tailor-made package for each customer.

Where possible they look to reprogramme existing equipment, or alternatively Swift Choice will work with the customer to find the suitable new equipment such as dosing systems and wetclean machines.

After the initial consultation process, a business operations plan is presented which makes recommendations to business process, such a type of garments that can be washed with the wetcleaning systems, costs and benefits, and steps required to make a successful implementation, such a machine configuration, on-site training and problem solving.

Tintolav’s HygienFresh range has been expanded to include eight different products, each for a specific use, covering a wide of fabrics and materials.

Wool & Silk is the first enzymatic product for delicate garments. It has greater cleaning power at lower temperature of 20C. Moreover it contains lanolin and conditioner to protect and regenerate fibres. A pH buffer system ensures the correct pH is maintained during the wash to ensure that shrinkage and pilling don’t happen.

Soft & Caps is a speciality fabric conditioner that has been developed work in synergy with Wool & Silk detergent and should be added to final rinse. It contains silk proteins and lanolin to ensure greater softness and fabric protection. It comes with the great same gentle fragrance, “Fresh Roses” as Wool & Silk, in microcapsules to ensure the fragrance is truly long lasting.

PiumaCare is a specific detergent that deep cleans and protects feathers when washing padded jackets, duvets, pillows and down quilts. It has a high concentration of surfactants and a buffer system, which preserves feathers. Piuma Soft is a finishing and volumising agent for garments and soft furnishings with feathers. Used with PiumaCare, it is said to reduce the dryer cycles of duvets by half.

In addition, Tintolav developed a “workhorse” detergent and softener that can be used on a wide range of fabrics and work on a range of difficult stains, and are compatible with a wetclean system.

Emulsene F4 is a complete enzymatic detergent containing four enzymes (protease, lipase, amylase and cellulase) that has been developed specifically for shirts and table linen. Protease, lipase, amylase work on protein stains, fatty stains and starch stains respectively. Cellulase works on regenerating and reducing pilling on cotton fibres. Emulsene F4 also contains a high concentration of surfactants and speciality solvents, so is ideal for removing fatty stains on table linen. It contains an optical brightener and has a delicate lemon fragrance.

Shirt Conditioner is a sizing agent for shirts and gives a firm soft finish. It can be used as a pre-treating agent also and it has been expressly developed to iron with ironing mannequin. It has a small concentration of optical brightener for UV protection and a high concentration of microcapsules for a long-lasting fresh fragrance.

Hydro Repellent is a waterproofing agent with nanotechnology effective at low temperature, for use on both natural and synthetic garments. It is active with or without heat and it has waterproofing properties without the final drying.

Finally, Oxon is safe, oxygen-based stain remover and hygieniser, which is active at low temperatures and is very efficient at removing difficult stains on both coloured and white garments.



Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.