We said we’d never tell, but now we’re spilling a few dirty little secrets about owning a laundromat—and offering some good, clean advice for how to handle them.

When you invest in your first vended laundry venture, you may not think about the broccoli florets* or snorkels* you’ll find abandoned in your commercial dryers. Perhaps—mercifully so—you’ll never imagine the shocking scenarios that unfold on the security camera footage at night, including your patrons’ strange desire to climb inside a front loading washing machine while no one is watching (or so they think).

But such events do happen at the local wash and dry, and many laundromat owners document the weird, absurd, and puzzling things that happen at their coin laundry businesses. After all, a laundromat serves the general public and people sometimes do things that make no sense. If you’ve ever had an honest conversation with an ER nurse or a public librarian, you’ll know that what goes down in your washeteria pales in comparison to their workplace phenomena.

Let’s take a look at some of the top dirty little secrets that happen in our industry.

Direct Secret #1: Laundromat Germs

Far worse than the wayward broccoli floret is the intentional dirty diaper—or unemptied pockets of tissues or lipstick tubes. Once, a laundry worker found surgical tools in a load of doctor’s clothes. Hopefully, these messes won’t end up inside your washers and dryers, but if they do, know you’re not alone. The takeaway here is that no laundromat owner can escape the fact that germs and biologicals happen in a world centered around dirty clothes and linens.

The Fix

What you can do, though, is ensure your essential laundromat business stays spic and span by regularly wiping down, cleaning, and inspecting your washers and dryers. (And floors and restrooms.) Some laundromat owners are going a step further by adding additional hospital-grade sanitizing equipment such as an Ozone Laundry System that works with their existing commercial washers to kill germs and viruses. These systems are easy to install and not only help solve the problem of laundromat germs, but can become a hot selling point for your business.

Dirty Secret #2: The Laundromat Utility Bill

Scarier than melted crayons* in your brand new high-capacity dryer, more frightening than the security footage of a random stranger completely undressing at 1 a.m. by the folding table*, is the laundromat utility bill. With water and sewer bills as much as several thousand dollars a month depending on your location, and electric bills not too far behind, your utility bill may be the most shocking aspect of owning a vended laundry business.

The Fix

While your machines and add-on services should produce enough revenue to more than cover the utility bill, you can implement strategies to make your entire operation more energy efficient. Upgrade your older commercial washers and dryers to high efficiency Dexter Laundry models that use less water and electricity. You can also install energy-efficient LED lighting. Since running the air conditioning accounts for much of the electric bill, you can turn it up a few degrees at night to save energy and money.

Dirty Secret #3: Baffling Behavior at the Laundromat

Sometimes, when machines break, a customer may call the cops to report it instead of telling you.* A guy may punch through your drywall one night.* A woman on her way home from the bar might decide to stop in at your laundromat to take a ride in the rolling laundry carts.* And on and on.

The Fix

Since you can count on people to behave in baffling and inconsiderate ways, keeping your security cameras up to date helps answer questions like “what are the police doing here?,” “who put this hole in the wall?,” and “why are the wheels on this laundry cart broken?” Security cameras can also provide evidence should anyone report a theft of their clothes or if someone vandalizes your property.

Now that the cat’s out of the (laundry) bag, you know what to do should any of these dirty little secrets affect your business. Contact a Western State Design Laundry Equipment Expert about upgrading or adding hospital-grade sanitization to your commercial laundry equipment today.

*Based on true stories.