Commercial Laundry Equipment: What You Need to Open Your Business

You have decided to open a commercial laundry business. Congratulations, and welcome to a growing industry with increasing demand! A 2021 market report found the global dry cleaning and laundry services market is expected to grow from $93 billion in 2020 to $127 billion by 2025 as more consumers outsource their laundering needs.

Before you open your doors to customers, you will need to equip your space with quality washers, dryers, dry cleaning systems, and other updated commercial laundry equipment. How do you decide what to purchase?

If you are not sure where to start, you have landed in the right place for an explanation of new, cost-saving technology that is worth your investment, plus a breakdown of outdated equipment to avoid.

A close-up of a working laundry machine

Consider What Services Your Laundry Business Will Offer

You can’t shop for commercial laundry equipment until you know what services your laundry business will provide. Think about your business priorities first.

Will your business exclusively handle dry cleaning needs in the community, or will you also offer wash and fold services? Will you provide home pick-up and delivery services? Will you wash household items such as large comforters and blankets? Are you prioritizing earth-friendly solutions? Will customers have an option to order and pay for your services on a website or app?

Defining your business ahead of time will help you identify the best technology and products for your company’s specific needs, so you can outfit your space to maximize revenue.

Save Money with High-Efficiency (HE) Solutions

There is no comparison to front-loading, high-efficiency (HE) washers and dryers for commercial laundry spaces. This choice is easy.

While the initial investment may be slightly higher than traditional machines, the savings on your monthly water and utility bills will eventually pay off the difference over time.

The benefits are three-fold: High-efficiency systems use less water, demand less energy, and they are gentler on garments customers entrusted with your care.

High-efficiency washers do not have an agitator in the center like traditional top-loading designs, and therefore high-efficiency washers cause less wear and tear on clothing.

High-efficiency washers use up to 66 percent less water, according to the American Cleaning Institute. They also operate with a higher in-wash spin speed, so clothes retain less water. Since the clothes are not sopping wet after a wash, they take less time to dry. The shorter drying times save utility costs.

So how do you spot energy-efficient washers and dryers?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Starprogram in 1997. The Energy Star sticker informs consumers when washers are at least 25 percent more efficient and use about 45 percent less water than standard models. Energy Star regularly updates its list of Energy Star certified commercial clothes washers and energy efficient clothes dryers. Take time to compare options, as some Energy Star equipment is still more efficient than others.

Make sure to pair your high-efficiency washers with high-efficiency laundry detergent, which is uniquely formulated to activate and wash clothes in cold water. Cold water uses 90 percent less energy than hot water, according to the American Cleaning Institute.

Finally, purchase dryers with a load capacity about twice that of your washer for faster drying.

Consider Environmental Impact When Selecting Dry Cleaning Technology

Without doing proper research, it is easy to make harmful mistakes when selecting dry cleaning technology. Dry cleaning, which is not actually a “dry” process, gets its name from the liquid solvents used in place of water to clean delicate garments. For generations, perchloroethylene, often referred to as “perc,” was the most common solvent used in the dry-cleaning industry. Laundry service professionals are increasingly upgrading to more safe and eco-friendly technology, as perc is continually criticized as a wasteful environmental hazard that health experts call a “likely human carcinogen” for its links to cancer.

The EPA recommends professional laundry service providers update their technology to protect workers and customers and reduce their environmental impact.

GreenEarth® products, which are used in every Tide Cleaners location, are a safe and environmentally friendly solution. GreenEarth replaces perchloroethylene with an equally effective, but safer, liquid-silicone solvent. Over $30 million has been spent on independent testing of liquid silicone, referred to by scientists as “D5,” to confirm that it presents no risk to public safety. D5 is used in countless commercial products, not just for eco-friendly dry-cleaning solvents.

The GreenEarth product is biodegradable, so if the environment is somehow exposed to it, the solvent would safely degrade into its three natural components of sand, water, and carbon dioxide.

Avoid Outdated and Wasteful Dry Cleaning Equipment

An outdated dry cleaning machine produces hazardous waste that businesses have historically disposed of improperly. If you are a new owner of an established dry cleaning business, check that the systems you inherited are following recent guidelines to protect human and environmental health, and strongly consider updating the equipment if it is not up to par.

The investment could ultimately save you money because new dry cleaning technology is less wasteful and more efficient. The EPA reports a dry cleaner in Maine saved $10,000 a year in operating costs by upgrading its machines and switching to an environmentally friendly solvent.

Each Tide Cleaners location uses EPA-recommended “closed-loop” machines that pair perfectly with GreenEarth solvents. GreenEarth’s liquid silicone solvent is continuously recycled inside the machine, reducing product waste and disposal fees that are costly factors associated with outdated equipment. For dry cleaners still choosing to use perc, a closed-loop system can reduce perc use by up to 80 percent, according to the EPA.

In a closed-loop system, soiled clothes go into the machine dry, and not removed until they are cleaned and dried. Workers using closed-loop machines avoid exposure to the cleaning solvent because closed-loop systems do not require garments to be transferred mid-wash. Outdated machines that do require mid-wash attention present a greater risk of exposing humans and the environment to toxins, particularly when perc is in use.

Eliminate Guesswork by Partnering with a Proven Laundry Franchise

As detailed above, choosing commercial laundry equipment and products requires considerable research and industry knowledge. By partnering with a franchise, entrepreneurs eliminate guesswork and gain guidance and support from a proven business model.

Tide Cleaners is leading the dry-cleaning industry with cost-efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly laundry services; and the franchise is backed by a well-known brand that consumers have trusted in their homes for more than 70 years.

Learn more about our laundry franchise opportunities and why Tide Cleaners is an industry leader in the growing dry-cleaning franchise and laundry services industry.

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