Anyone who owns pets will know that while they bring an abundance of joy and entertainment to our lives, they also can bring an equal amount of dirt, hair, and messes! In a kennel setting, we deal with all these messes ten fold. We all handle this aspect of working with dogs in order to make sure our guests are happy and healthy, but having the right tools to manage them will make life easier and your kennel more efficient. One big part of this is having the right washer and dryer for your facility. With literally thousands of options out there, where do you start?
If you’re looking to replace your current models, first take stock of what you currently have. What aspects have been working for you and what new functions do you need going forward. It is important to think about your needs at this point, and what you might need down the line based on your goals and projected growth. Right now you may have a unit that works fine, but if you plan on expanding your business in any capacity an upgrade may be necessary in just a few years.
If you are running a high volume kennel, a commercial washer and dryer could be a great option for your business.Commercial units are designed to handle heavy duty loads and provide high levels of sanitation. Commercial units are also better equipped to handle frequent uses of heavier cleaners and chemicals while residential units are more likely to face some corrosion down the line. If you have very specific needs in regards to sanitation, some commercial models have the option to make customs settings. This can be a particularly helpful function when dealing with contagions to ensure that it is safe to run other materials through after a contaminated load.
Commercial washers and dryers typically have to be purchased through commercial laundry retailers. One benefit to this is that these companies have most likely sold their products to veterinary clinics, shelters, and other large animal care facilities. Sales representatives should be able to give useful insight about what models have been popular with others within the animal care industry.
Other than initial cost, a downside of commercial units is that they tend to be larger than residential ones, and installation can be more difficult. If you are leaning towards commercial, be sure to measure your space and double check that you have the proper flooring to accommodate what models you are interested in.
Purchasing a commercial washer/dryer is going to be an investment. While you could be spending a lot in initial costs, you are purchasing products that will seldom, if ever, need replacing. At our kennel, Hyline Hotel for Dogs, we went through four different washers in a couple of years before finding a commercial brand that held up to our usage. Our current washer is a Speed Queen model AWNE82SP113TW01 and our dryer is a Speed Queen model ADEE8RGS173TW01 . We average around 100 dogs a day between our boarding and daycare programs, so we are running our machines for ten hours every single day. Everything from dog beds to mop heads go through our laundry and the Speed Queens handle the challenge. The washer lives up to its name and can wash a load quickly while still getting everything clean. This speed is an incredibly handy feature during our busy times when multiple loads need to be cycled through in a timely fashion. The dryer, however, does not seem to be quite as fast as it’s cleaning counterpart. We’ve found that to get fully dry towels and blankets, they will need to be in the dryer for close to an hour, nearly twice as long as they take to get washed. Despite this lag, everything else about this dryer is up to our standards. Excess hair and lint get trapped effectively in the lint trap and laundry comes out dry and refreshed. Overall these models have served us very well, they are easy to use and so far seem very durable.
Some highly rated commercial brands include Speed Queen, Miele, Milnor, and Continental.
Another option for kennels are residential washers and dryers. Washers and dryers now come in all shapes in sizes with front loading, top loading, glass/plastic/metal features, touch screens, you name it. Small physical details such as those should be taken into consideration based on the usual wear and tear equipment goes through at your facility. If your washer frequently gets used as an extension of your countertop, you may not want to go for a top loading unit with a glass lid. Or if your dryer sits nexts to a sink where dishes are getting sloshed around, a touch screen control panel may not hold up.
With so many models out there to choose from in this day and age, it will not be hard to find a high-quality washer and dryer. But not all high-quality units are up to the challenge of handling the dirt and grime of continuous dog laundry. Be sure to look for models that have…
Highly rated brands such as Electrolux, LG, GE, or Maytag all produce models that should have these features. Going with residential washers and dryers gives you the flexibility of more models to choose from and to shop around more easily for different price points.
No matter what kind of washer and dryer you go with, it is important to take care of them. These appliances are not cheap, and when they break down it can really throw a wrench in your daily productivity until they are replaced. When you purchase new units, set clear laundry protocols for your staff to follow. While laundry may seem like a self explanatory process, establishing protocols for your staff to follow is an easy way to ensure that your units are being run properly so they will last for years. What works in their homes for shirts and socks may not work for kennel laundry! In your protocols you can include…
When it comes to making a big purchase like a new washer and dryer, what it boils down to is having a clear understanding of your kennel’s needs and doing the research. Buying the quickest and cheapest option will only cost you more in the long run and be a headache if your units break down on you. Spend some time online researching different brands, talk to others in the industry and get their recommendations, and speak to sales representatives to get a breakdown on models with all the functions you need. Hopefully this will lead you to a washer and dryer that will perform the way you need it to and last you for years to come!