When the mud sticks

31/05/2016 11:23 am


Mud, mud, glorious mud, there’s nothing quite like it for cooling the blood, so follow me follow, down to the hollow and there let us wallow in glorious mud.

Apologies to Michael Flanders and Donald Swann who released “The Hippopotamus Song” back in 1959 featuring these lyrics, but I imagine that few in the laundry business, and even fewer parents would think of mud as “glorious”, particularly after a vigorous outdoor sports match at the weekend.


What is it about getting out the green-tinged mud and dirt from sports fields from that warrants about 500,000 internet forums on that topic alone?


In our business, they are called “nature stains”; grass, ground-in dirt, blood and sweat.


Mud stains because it contains iron oxide and decayed plants that contain tannic acid, which is also a dye. This dye reacts chemically with many fabrics, so the dye penetrates the fabric and forms tight molecular bonds there. That’s what makes them hard to remove.


Grass also contains the dye chlorophyll, so grass stains are in fact chlorophyll stains. Combine this with ground-in dirt and you have a pretty nasty combination that has to be removed from the same clothes every week.


Interestingly, not all mud and grass is the same. Spare a thought for the people who wash the kit of our major football codes’ teams. That beautiful green grass you see on your television screens or at the stadiums means that the grass is a type grown particularly for its high chlorophyll content and is kept that way with treatments that aim to elevate the chlorophyll content. More chlorophyll equals more dye.


At a local level there are design standards for sportsgrounds that dictate the topsoil parameters, the water holding capacity of the topsoil, and the type of grass to be used.


Grasses and sod used on sports fields have to take moderate to severe abuse and then come back for more. They breed these grasses tough and they’re mixed to get the optimum surface.


Over years, research has been improving the type and quality of turf being used on sports fields, but it can take up to 10 years to breed and trial a new strain of grass. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that one enterprising researcher in years to come finds a way to maintain all the qualities required of a sportsfield’s turf, but with less of the staining elements!


Until that happens, why not use our services to tackle those tough strains? We soak winter sports jerseys in oxidising agents and water, then wash and scrub and wash again before they are ready for another game.


Now we just have to wait for cricket season…



Cleaning the Way to Electric Dreams

01/05/2016 8:00 am


What’s better than a toasty warm bed on a Canberra winter’s night? If you answered “nothing” then you’re right.


As the frost settles, heaters are cranked, hot drinks are brewed and many of us turn on our electric blankets ready for its warm embrace and a cosy night’s sleep.


Those who discover the joys of electric blankets frequently like to share their love with the world, such as this blogger who writes:


“Today I have the chance to tell you how much I love you, Electric Blanket. I don’t have a name for you: my love transcends the need for labels. Every night you bring me such pleasure and comfort, my love is renewed.”


Far from dropping in popularity, electric blankets are increasingly being seen as a good investment for people wanting an extra bit of warmth without heating the entire house.


But like any investment, electric blankets need maintenance and cleaning.


Not all electric blankets are created equal, so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the specific cleaning requirements of yours.


Unless the instructions specifically state that a blanket should be dry cleaned, avoid doing so because solvents can damage the wires and inner workings.


Some electric blankets feature waterproof heating elements, making them fully immersible and safe to wash by hand or machine with a neutral detergent in cold water. Even if this is the case, control boxes and cords will need to be removed and the blanket checked thoroughly for any damage or splitting before washing.


Spin drying at high speed is a no-no. Hairdryers and heaters should never be used to dry electric blankets. The best method is either line drying (no pegs or pins) or tumble drying, where instructions permit, on low temperatures and for a short period. The dryer has to be large enough to allow the blanket to move freely.


For all other blankets only clean the blanket when soiled – sponge lightly and allow them to dry naturally on a flat surface.


The size and weight of many electric blankets makes it difficult for them to be laundered at home, especially when, like most blankets, they should be cleaned at the start of the season, and at the end before storing, and at least once during winter (although more frequently if people are ill or obviously if someone bleeds or has an accident).


If this all sounds like too much work, just bring your electric blanket into Ainslie Laundrette. We’re Canberra’s specialists when it comes to winter bedding and we’ll take care of your marvellous piece of bed-warming technology like it was our own.