If you are reading this there is a good chance that you are a coach or administrator at a small college or university. There are many things that go into successfully running a sports program at all size schools, some things are different, some things that are the same and may just be different in scale. One of the things that fits into this category is athletic laundry.
Athletic Laundry needs to be done at all levels of competition. At most D1 schools, athletic departments employ multiple equipment managers that are professionally certified by the AEMA (Athletic Equipment Managers Association) in proper fitting and best practice. They may oversee millions of dollars in spend on a yearly basis for goods needed for an athletic department. They arrange the moving of equipment to games all over the country. Unfortunately, very few small colleges have budgets that allow for staffing this professional position, which leads us to coaches, interns, and student managers to fill this void. Since Texon works with hundreds of schools at all levels, we thought that we would share some of the most important best practice and supplies that are needed for all small colleges.
One of the most important and often overlooked areas is that of proper laundry equipment. Proper laundry equipment for sports teams includes items such as properly sized commercial washers and dryers. There are several great companies that we see all over the country that work heavily in sports. When looking for your partner, look for one that knows sports stains, not hospital and healthcare. Getting Penn State’s blue paint out your whites, is different than the stains found in healthcare. Companies like UNX, Integrated Sports Solutions (ISS), Sweat-X, and Proctor and Gamble are likely the most used is sports and know the stain-game well.
Recently, we were working with a state school in California that was attempting to do laundry in a small residential washer and dryer! The bad part of this story is that the installed laundry equipment is and was not designed to take the workload of the needs of the athletic department. The employee in charge of this in still in a bad position. Having this undersized equipment leads him to run load after load all day long. He continues to fight stains that will not come out. Since they are using the wrong equipment and stains will not break out, their chemical company recommended they use hot water on their whites. Well, it is a big “no-no” sending hot water from the boiler at nearly 130 degrees into the white’s cycle. Since they use mesh bags, they bled all over their white uniforms turning them from white to light blue! The color set of most articles is about 112 degrees, so the high temp washed the color set out of the bags and onto the uniforms. Stains are not coming out of soccer and baseball laundry for several reasons, the lack of agitation, too much packed into a small washer, and the chemicals inability to clean uniforms placed in mash bags (in a small washer.) Moral of this if you cannot afford the proper washer and dryer you might reconsider having sports at all. Proper equipment is a must have!
Part of doing laundry goes back to choosing the proper partner for your chemical needs. While we do not sell chemicals, we know that for equipment staffs, coaches and student help laundry is a big part of the needs of college athletes. Most companies will set up you machines on chemical pump system with multiple cycles for different types of laundry such as gym towels, laundry straps, whites, colors and soak and sour cycles. This avoids damage to expensive goods and makes it somewhat fool proof. They will have different chemicals in barrels, that have different properties for different needs.
Another must have for athletic laundry is laundry straps, or loops, to keep your athlete’s laundry together. Often referred to as “loops” a laundry strap resembles a dog collar with an attachment for socks, and an ID tag with a number or name to identify the player. While mesh laundry bags were the most popular way to do laundry for several decades, in the past 15 years most universities have moved to laundry straps. Laundry straps allow team laundry to wash more freely and clean better. Another positive is that laundry straps dry in about half the time that mesh bags dry. We are proud our patented Texon laundry strap is the most widely used laundry straps in major college sports today with over 93% of Power 5 schools using. Offered in over 25 colors, the loops allow a staff to separate by sport using different colors for teams or need. Needs may refer to using a different color within a sport for lifting, pre-game, practice, and game when different gear is required for different activities.
To move your team laundry from place to place you will need laundry carts, along with Z-Racks to hang your uniforms. Steele Canvas laundry carts are manufactured in the USA in multiple color and size options based on the size of the teams you are covering. We recommend using different carts for dirty and for your clean/transfer laundry. Using only the clean in the laundry room. It is best to use different colors to differentiate or mark the carts with ID tags. The reason you want to do this is to keep bacteria from the dirty laundry carts off the clean clothes. Do not use the same cart that moves your athlete’s laundry to transfer between the washer and dryer. It just does not make sense to do so. Texon offers durable Z-Racks which are also made here in the USA and are most often used for hanging uniforms and allowing air drying, if needed. Offered in many different sizes and colors Z-Racks are a great storage solution for teams.
If you have questions regarding laundry in sports, please give Texon a call. Since 1976, we have served professional, collegiate and high school sports. As experts in the field, we are the preferred source for equipment managers, coaches and administrator in the laundry area. We look forward to working with you!