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At present, the American Institute of Laundering offers a service to its members for determining whiteness retention and tensile strength loss, associated with a given commercial laundering procedure, as judged from the use of unsoiled white test pieces. In the past, several requests have been received concerning the availability and use characteristics of soiled test pieces relative to the measurement of soil removal. In most cases, the request was based on a desire to measure primarily the quality of laundered work as judged by constancy of results from both soiled and unsoiled test pieces. Of course, there are cases in which such test pieces would be used in an attempt to evaluate detergents, equipment, and washing formulae and other variables. Since we had no previous information relative to the over-all interpretation of soil removal results, as judged by soiled test pieces, a limited evaluation of such a service was attempted on a small scale. Sixteen laundries were selected as trial plants for judging the efficacy of soiled test pieces in determining soil removal properties of a given detergent process. These plants involved both the large and the small and encompassed fairly representative geographical sections of the country. It is well to keep in mind the many variables associated with a commercial laundry detergent process. It is doubtful that any unsoiled or soiled test piece could evaluate adequately such things as the effect of mechanical action, detergents, bleaching, bluing, sizing, equipment, and personal taste, particularly when these factors are all present in a given procedure. Yet, apparently the commercial laundry user of soiled or unsoiled test pieces expects them to do so. And what probably is more important from his viewpoint, he would like to use such results for comparative purposes with other laundries. Suffice to say, the variables encountered in an attempt to evaluate such a service are staggering.
Mitchell, R. B.
American Institute of Laundering, Joliet, Ill.