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Counting Down the Top 10 Stories from 2020 (Conclusion)

The year’s most-read articles on

CHICAGO — With the New Year almost upon us, this is a natural opportunity to reflect on 2020 and the Top 10 stories (based on page views) posted on during the year.

(In instances where the Top 10 story was part of a larger series, we have provided additional links so you can easily read the entire article.)

Here is the remainder of our Top 10 list for 2020, starting with No. 5:

5. CLA Lobbies Authorities to Designate Laundromats as 'Essential'

As state and local authorities moved to close or restrict many businesses in March as a means to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coin Laundry Association launched a public relations campaign in an effort to keep Laundromats open during the outbreak.

A CLA statement targeting state governments and the mainstream media requested that authorities designate all Laundromats as “essential services” that provide a basic health service by serving millions of families with a safe place to wash and dry their clothes every week.

Ultimately, an ad hoc alliance that included industry manufacturers, store owners and the CLA successfully petitioned at the federal level to have laundries added to the types of businesses officially deemed “essential.”

4. Three Ways to Set Your Laundry Apart

Not all laundry improvements need be complicated or require more labor, wrote Continental Girbau’s Tod Sorensen. Some involve simple changes or additions to existing vended laundry equipment where, singly or comprehensively, they can work to set a laundry apart and generate more income per square foot.

In a June column, Sorensen addressed 1) ozone sanitization systems that work by injecting ozone gas into the cold water supply of a washer, 2) automatic chemical injection that dispenses specially formulated detergents, brighteners, softeners and disinfectants into compatible washers, and 3) washer controls that offer extra options during the cleaning cycle.

Owners don’t have to make gigantic changes to realize advantages, wrote Sorensen, who suggested starting out with baby steps by outfitting one machine with one or more of the improvements and analyzing their impact before making further moves.

3. Conducting Collections, Part 1 - Conclusion

Collecting a self-service laundry’s coins and currency keeps an operation running but it can put the owner or their staff at risk if the routine renders them inattentive. Taking precautions while collecting and handling monies will make it more difficult for any opportunist looking to take advantage of the situation.

Karl Hinrichs of distributor HK Laundry Equipment owns and operates four Laundromats. He preaches laundry security by making it hard for crooks to anticipate a store owner’s behavior patterns and by utilizing video surveillance.

Peter Mayberry owns three Anytime Laundry stores in Omaha, Nebraska. He takes a variety of precautions to protect himself during collections and admits they may seem extreme to some but notes that one of his stores is located between two businesses where clerks have been shot to death.

Luke Williford of The Wash House favors saying little to nothing about one’s collections practices because once that information is out, it can’t be retracted.

2. Coming Back from Catastrophe

When this story was posted in January 2020, it had been nearly a year since a torrential Los Angeles rainstorm caused the roof of Richard and Helen Nakawatase’s Clean Coin Launderland to collapse. Richard discussed what it was like working with the insurance company and the landlord to coordinate the reconstruction. By then, the roof had been replaced and contractors were working to rebuild the laundry in time for new-equipment installation and reopening in the spring.

Meanwhile, in Billings, Montana, Jake Witham recalled the Father’s Day 2010 twister that peeled the roof off the building the Lake Elmo Coin-Op shared with a dance studio and barber shop. Some customers rode out the storm beneath folding tables, while most ran to a bar next door and took refuge in a walk-in freezer.

The store was out of commission just a few days shy of one year. When it did reopen in 2011, it was as the expanded Spin Fresh Laundry.

1. Current Laundry Techniques Should Kill Coronavirus: Infection Prevention Consultant

When cases linked to the coronavirus outbreak from China were first being diagnosed in the United States, laundry workers were understandably feeling anxious and uncertain about what precautions they needed to take.

Fontaine Sands, an infection control prevention consultant for the Association for Linen Management, described the coronavirus and its initial impact worldwide. For the laundry industry, there were no recommended changes in normal laundry processing of textiles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the standard of appropriate time, temperature and chemical should kill the virus.

As long as laundry workers utilized standard precautions, according to Sands, the risk of exposure would be absent or very low.

(For the latest information about COVID-19, visit

Miss Part 1 featuring top stories 6 through 10? You can read it HERE.