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Paulie B’s Pointers: Dealing with Odors in Your Store (Conclusion)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Laundromats are for cleaning laundry, therefore a mat must be clean, in and of itself.

You want to wow a customer when they walk in, not just visually with a clean, beautiful, well-laid-out store, but with what they can smell as well.

Some mats smell terrible. The smell of rotting, wet lint and debris creating sewer gas in the drain lines is usually the primary cause. Basically, there is a linear “compost pile” that is lining the bottoms of the drain lines.

It’s all about routine maintenance. To correct this, you must make sure your drain lines are snaked periodically with a “blade” on the snake head, to scrape up decaying matter sticking to your drain lines, and wash it away. Obviously, snaking your lines on a schedule also greatly lowers the chances of a backup.

You may also have wet, rotting lint behind your bulkheads, underneath washers that have leaks, and in any drain line collection tanks.

In short, do not allow wet lint to accumulate in your mat! Dry lint doesn’t smell.

If you still have trouble with smells you can’t seem to control, you could buy a commercial ozone generator online for a couple hundred bucks and run it every night. Your mat will smell fresh in the morning.

THE ‘CINNABON EFFECT’

I have a theory. Call it the “Cinnabon Effect,” or the “Bakery Effect.” Have you ever walked into a bakery or a flower shop and it smelled so nice? As people walk through a mall, they are literally lured over to the Cinnabon counter by the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.

Well, I believe our mats should smell great, too!

You can install some automatic fragrance dispensers along your mat walls like some commercial buildings use in their restrooms, but why bother?

Here’s what to do. After receiving comments on how my mats smelled, I realized that customers were smelling the softener fragrance when we were processing drop-offs with wet or damp hangups. They smelled great because they weren’t being put in the dryers where most of the fragrance gets burned out. Instead, they were evaporating the water from the last rinse that had softener in it, and this fragrance literally spread throughout the store!

You can take a 450 ml. (15 oz.) bottle of softener, add it to a couple of wet rags and strategically place them around your mat. I also kept one wet rag soaked in softener behind my counter, right near the scale, to ensure that customers got a good whiff. Change the rags, or presoak them as needed, because the fragrance does eventually dissipate.

I’d also open a small bottle of softener every day and literally pour it into your clean garbage pails.

Some customers, not all, will remark how “nice it smells in here.” That’s exactly what you want them to do. Make the experience of coming to your store as pleasant as possible in every way. It’s another edge you’ll enjoy over your competitors.

And what’s your cost for a small bottle of softener? Around a buck a day. Chalk it up to advertising.

Plus, your mat will be smelling the way it’s supposed to: like clean, fragrant laundry.

The softener companies all have fragrance added to their products for a reason. They know that pleasant fragrances sell products, and they are always coming out with new fragrances hoping to get an edge on their own competitors.

Yes, there are some people who don’t want any fragrance at all. Some may even be allergic, but the vast majority enjoy a pleasant fragrance, and certainly not the sewer smell of methane gas.

So, all you need to do is pick the best-selling softener for your mat’s new aroma to maximize the number of people who love that fragrance. The primary reason that the most popular softeners are big sellers isn’t necessarily because they soften the laundry the best, but because they smell the best to the largest percentage of the population.

STINKY DROP-OFFS

We’ve all taken in really stinky drop-off orders from time to time. It’s usually the same customers who commit this “foul” deed.

There are several chemicals you can add to neutralize laundry odors, such as white vinegar, enzymes from your pet store, or just washing the goods twice.

From my experience, the best way to neutralize laundry odors is to use an oxygen bleach. It’s harmless to all fabrics, and does a great job killing odors. I used OxiClean for years on fire restoration accounts to remove the smell of smoke-damaged laundry in just one washing.

So, there you have it. Eliminate foul odors, create pleasant scents, and watch your business grow!

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.

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