MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Even in victory, the Minnesota Twins don’t leave everything on the field.
In fact, the players bring much of the field into the clubhouse with them.
Grass stains, dirt and pine tar are the frequent stains that Nate Reese has to deal with after every home game. Reese is a clubhouse attendant, but his specialty is laundry.
He’s been washing uniforms and removing stains since 2004 — that’s nine seasons.
While it’s dark outside Target Field, the brightly lit Twins laundry room is humming. It’s located right next to the clubhouse, allowing the attendants to quickly gather up the laundry and immediately start washing.
For those of us who have a hard time getting minor grass stains out of our children’s clothing, the bright and clean Twins uniforms are a bit of a mystery.
“We don’t let it sit,” Reese said. “I’ll wash some uniforms two or three times to make sure I get the stains out.”
He’s not using ordinary laundry machines, either.
When the Twins moved from the Metrodome to Target Field, they went from a laundry closet to a laundry palace.
Three enormous washing machines were installed by St. Paul’s Ecolab.
The washers are programmed to do three types of loads of laundry — uniforms, towels, and personals.
“Everything is set up by Ecolab,” Reese said. “We don’t add soap at all. All the soap is in these huge drums.”
“No two stains are the same,” said Roman Blahoski, Ecolab’s Director of Global Communications. “When it came to the Twins, our team conducted a lot of tests to figure out which products work the best.
“Because of the fabrics used, low-temp wash cycles were needed. Uniforms are washed at around 90 degrees, which is on the low end of the ‘warm’ setting in most home washers. We were able to shorten the time frame of wash cycles to make it more efficient. The wash cycle is 33 minutes — the drier only runs for 20.”
Blahoski added that there’s an enzyme-based detergent and oxygen bleach automatically dispensed for each load.
All the uniforms immediately go through one washing and drying cycle.
Then they’re sorted. The ones that need “spraying” go for a treatment, and then another trip through the wash.
The toughest stains? Grass stains, Reese said.
His secret? “It’s just Resolve mostly, the stuff you can buy at the grocery store,” he said.
Sometimes they’ll use a wire brush to scrub it, but he said that can be tough on the fabric, so he tries to avoid it.
The most common stain is dirt, from all the sliding.
“Jamey Carroll’s uniform needs to be scrubbed every day,” Reese laughed.
And his secret weapon in the war against dirt is something you can’t buy.
Brady Chemical makes a product called “Slide Out.”
It’s a two-step process. Slide Out 1 is a solution of sulfuric acid and Slide Out 2 is hydrofluoric acid.
“It’s kind of nasty stuff, but it gets the job done,” he said.
Working in the clubhouse is Reese’s only job. He said he works 80 hours on weeks during homestands, and virtually zero hours when the team is out of town.
“Doing their laundry isn’t the most glamorous thing, but you get to hang out (with pro ballplayers),” he said. “It hardly ever feels like work.”