Running an animal shelter is a full-time job, even if it's only a volunteer position for you. Caring for a large number of abandoned and potentially sick animals, including baby and elderly pets, results in a surprising amount of laundry in need of thorough cleaning.
Most animal shelters and rescue operations start out with residential grade washing and drying equipment because it's what's donated to them or what the budget can afford. However, this kind of washing situation demands a commercial washer as soon as your shelter can upgrade. Find out why animal shelters deserve commercial equipment and how to pick the right washer.
1. Corrosion From Bleach Use
Animal shelters must use bleach to clean heavily soiled towels and pet bedding, especially when feces are on the bedding or the towels that were used to care for a sick animal with an infectious disease.
Unfortunately, routine use of even relatively low concentrations of bleach in a standard washing machine can result in serious corrosion in parts like the bleach dispenser, resulting in stains and debris. To solve this problem, invest in a commercial machine.
Commercial washing machines are made of corrosion resistant metals and feature additional coatings to ensure rust isn't a problem. Even when you need to run sanitizing loads with plenty of bleach and other cleaning products, the machine will resist corrosion.
2. High Volume Demands
With many animal shelters running multiple loads of laundry per day to keep up, residential washers are not built for the volume demand of this kind of use. Most families wash only a few loads per week, even if they do them all on one day.
Running the washers for multiple loads a day, multiple days per week also reduces the chances for the equipment to dry out thoroughly. Staying wet increases the likelihood of rust and mildew growth in the residential washing machine. Commercial washers are designed for this kind of back-to-back use and drain more completely to dry quickly at the end of the day.
3. Commercial Equipment Cost
The higher cost of a commercial washer is the primary reason that many animal shelters take their time in upgrading to one. You may be able to find a top loading washer for under $1,000, but installation can add a significant amount to the total cost.
Yet, the energy and water efficiency of a commercial washing machine can help it pay for itself within a few years of use. Animal shelters can often qualify for grants from local and state funds if they're a public facility, while fundraising is another option for making the upgrade to commercial laundry equipment.
4. Sanitation Requirements
Because animals entering a shelter can introduce contagious upper respiratory viruses, parvovirus, and ringworm, sometimes you may have to destroy bedding and other fabric items used in their care. However, choosing a commercial washer that includes sanitizing cycles allows you to save and reuse towels, bedding, and other items used to care for animals with less serious illnesses.
5. Heavy Soil Loads
Finally, look for washing machines with multiple or custom wash cycle options. Bedding that is soiled with dried-on material will need a more thorough wash than aprons that were barely used but still need sanitizing. Commercial washers are built to be better at handling items with heavy soil loads than residential units, and commercial equipment also tends to offer fine control over the wash cycles and patterns.
When you're ready to upgrade your animal shelter's washing equipment, rely on us here at SLM Commercial Laundry Products. Pick a commercial washer that is perfect for removing animal soil and hair with filters for trapping debris before it can form clogs or block vents.