- Getting to know dry cleaners' work process and needs.
- To design a destaining station that would meet the needs of dry cleaners.
- To conceive this equipment so it can adapt to a product that contains enzymes.
- Destaining station for dry cleaners
- Packaging for our product
- Collaboration with dry cleaners
- Research on enzyme conservation needs
- 3D model
Motivation and Background
Pre-treatments are often necessary especially for stains as difficult as wine stains. According to many dry cleaners's we've interviewed, alternatives to Perc are less efficient so pre-treatment becomes mandatory and sometimes they have to be repeated. The dry cleaners that have changed have to spend more time on stained clothes. With our project we hope to make the pre-treatments more efficient to ease dry cleaners' work. In order to do so we became aware of the fact we needed to design a destaining station, an equipment they already are used to, that would be adapted to enzymatic products but that would also fit and ease the dry cleaners' work process.
During the summer we interviewed every dry cleaners in Paris and we saw how important it was to create a destaining station adapted to the products we conceive, so the professionals could work efficiently. We took the time to speak with them, studied the equipment they already had, but also took into account what an enzymatic product required to be efficient. Their current equipment were made for strong chemical products, and did not include any storage area for these product but also there wasn't any space to let the product act on the stain. We then worked to create a new enzymatic destaining station that took into account all of those needs. It was really important for our team to integrate our project in the dry cleaners' workplace. We believe that our products are particularly interesting for the stain experts that are the dry cleaners, because when we have difficult stain on our favorite piece of clothing, we turn to a professional. Furthermore private individuals wouldn't invest in products for specific stains, whereas dry cleaners already do.
Figure 1 Tips and tricks when dealing with wine stains.
When we interviewed dry cleaners they gave us really good tips and tricks to deal with wine stains, it was a great inspiration for our project but we thought some of them would also be useful for everyone.
Figure 2 D-station : a collaborative project.
When we interviewed dry cleaners we really were surprised by their warm welcomes, they took the time to answer our questions but also gave great insights on the way they work and on the issues they faced. The dry cleaners that gave up PERC assert they have to use much more pre-treatments and are actually concerned by the toxicity of the most efficient ones. They were quite happy that students were interested in conceiving a safe alternatives for them.
The Pressing des Dames in the 17th arrondissement, and two other dry cleaners from the 17th and 13th that wish to remain anonymous, let us visit their shop, study their equipment and answered our question on how they treat stained clothing.
Figure 3 Simple to use equipment. The D-station is a different kind of destaining station, made for enzymatic products, but respects dry cleaners' work process.
D-station: removing stains simply
When they treat stains they apply a product specific to the kind of stain they face, then usually let it rest for 10 to 20 min, usually they have to scrub the stain which can be pretty bad for the fabric, and rinse. They sometime have to repeat the process if the stain is hard to remove, and they eventually put it in their washing machine or dry cleaning machine. In the D-station they would apply the product and then hang it in the back part to let the product do its magic, and put it in their machine. The D-station is close to their actual process because the dry cleaners have deeply rooted work habits.
D-station: a destaining station adapted to a biological product
Our project is an enzymatic product, it is very different from chemical products and has specific needs of conservation and use. To guide the final user we needed to create a real piece of equipment that is made for biological products, as the actual one are made for chemical ones. Our product that needs to be kept at 4°C, will be kept in small compartments to be maintained at this specific temperature. Also enzymes need to be in an heated and humid environment to act efficiently, so at the back of the D-station there is an incubator where the clothes can be hang after treatment. The dry cleaners complained about the fact there was no place to put the clothes on their actual equipment.
Figure 4 Our packaged product. A ready-to-use spray, to apply directly on stains that should be kept at a low temperature.
Frank&Stain: a safe stain remover from synthetic biology
The Frank&Stain stain remover is a biological product, it can directly be sprayed on the red wine stain. The goal would be to introduce synthetic biology in the field of professional cleaning where many heavy chemicals are used. The future of this project would be to develop a product, as we did for the red wine stains, but for all difficult stains that the dry cleaners face like fat, ink, or grass stains.
This project was done mostly by Allison Bricknell George. We would like to thank Jake Wintermute for working on the technical constraints linked to enzymatic products, and dry cleaners that answered our questions, let us see their equipment, especially Pressing des Dames that gave very good insights on a dry cleaner's work process.