Web Exclusive - November 2013
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King of Laundry

Cabrillo College Boosts Laundry Productivity

Cabrillo College, a two-year community college in Aptos, Calif., recently installed a Sports Laundry System to clean and disinfect its influx of soiled athletic laundry. The new system not only handles volleyball, football and baseball uniforms, loops and practice gear, it quickly cleans and disinfects towels, pillowcases and sheets used in the athletic training area, according to Eric Gerlach, assistant football coach and equipment room manager.

Cabrillo College chose the new laundry solution because it is clinically proven to eradicate 99.9 percent of bacteria, superbugs and viruses in the wash, including MRSA, a form of staph resistant to antibiotics. "We go through training classes about preventing the spread of infection from MRSA, blood and body fluids," Gerlach said. "This system cleans and thoroughly disinfects laundry, which helps keep athletes from getting infections."

He added, "Five years ago, we had a defensive lineman who got MRSA, missed five games and had to have surgery to remove the infection."

The Sports Laundry System teams a high-speed, freestanding washer-extractor with ozone injection. Ozone is a powerful and safe cleaning agent that disinfects laundry using mostly cool water. It works by introducing ozone into the sump of the washer at precisely the right time and water temperature, according to Rich Maddy, of Central Coast Commercial Laundries, in Watsonville, Calif. Maddy worked closely with the facility on the selection, installation and programming of the system.

"We replaced their old hard-mount washer with a 40-pound capacity Sports Laundry System washer-extractor and ozone tower," said Maddy. "Their current laundry equipment wasn't keeping pace with the influx of dirty laundry, and it definitely was not disinfecting it."

"Our old washer was constantly breaking down and used way too much water," Gerlach said. "It had a really slow spin cycle."

Because the facility's new washer-extractor generates extract speeds of up to 354 G-force, more water is removed from every load, when compared with the old washer, which shortens resulting dry time. This translates to greater laundry productivity. That's a good thing, according to Gerlach. "I used to do 10 to 12 loads of laundry per day, working from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Now with the new system, we complete 24 loads of laundry by 1 p.m."

The laundry area is no longer cluttered with soiled and contaminated items. "I used to have three 32-gallon cans, two laundry baskets and a laundry chute packed with dirty laundry," said Gerlach. Dirty laundry no longer lies around.

"Now we can do so many more loops because they dry so much more quickly," he added. "It's really nice because a loop includes a practice jersey, undershirt, pants and socks. They are really heavy going into the washer."

Gerlach said he has a lot on his plate, as he is not just responsible for athletic laundry. He is the assistant football coach and handles facility setup for all athletic events on campus. "I have 10 work-study students doing the wash with me," he said. "These guys are 19 years old, and their moms have done their laundry their whole lives. The new system is simple even for them to use. There is a chart that shows them which program number to select. They just load the washer, push the program number and press start."

Cabrillo College relies on several washer programs to properly clean and disinfect a variety of items. The washer's heavily soiled program tackles towels, athletic gear and items with blood and body fluids; a synthetic setting takes on volleyball uniforms made of stretch-fit materials; a program with bleach cleans towels, pillowcases and sheets; and a 5-minute quick wash rescues bloody and wet game uniforms. "If a player gets blood on his or her uniform during a game, I can use the 5-minute wash to quickly clean it," Gerlach said. "The washer spins out so much water it comes out almost dry. This is also awesome for when our quarterback's uniform gets wet during a game. At halftime, I'll wash it using the 5-minute setting and it comes out nearly dry. This helps prevent ball exchange problems with wet uniforms during the game."

When it comes to quality of the wash, Gerlach maintains it couldn't be better. "We experimented by washing dirty white baseball uniforms using no detergents to see if they would come out clean and odor-free. They came out clean and not smelling at all, thanks to the ozone. Towels are fluffier and whiter, too."

Cabrillo College: www.cabrillo.edu
Sports Laundry Systems: www.sportslaundrysystems.com