Recommended Fabric: A blend of cotton and linen is ideal for towels though many properties use 100% cotton. For the bath towel and hand towel, Turkish toweling with the recommended pile height of 1/8 inch is always preferred. The huck is more suitable for face towels, which is made up of huck-aback weave. The material has to be heavy in case of bathmats, as they are more absorbent. The commonly recommended materials for shower curtain are nylon, vinyl, fibre glass or PVC-coated material. One thing that needs to be considered for the shower curtain is that the fold of the curtain should not stick together when hanging wet, which is normally seen in plastic curtains.
Selvedge & Finish: The selvedge for the toweling should be firmly woven and ¼ inch wide. The hems should be firmly stitched. Selvedges along with the length are more preferred than the hems, as the selvedges are more durable. Therefore, while selecting bath linen, the firmness of the selvedge as well as the finishing of machine, especially at the corner, should be examined.
In case of logo on the bath linen, woven logo is always advisable as embroidered logo could cause discomfort to the user. The logo should be in the centre or in a more visible place.
Weaves & Pile: Bath linen is generally composed of two weaves – Ground and Pile. Always the closer and even weaves are preferred as they provide strength to the fabric. At the same time, bath linen has to be absorbent, soft and thick. These features of absorbency, softness and thickness are achieved by the pile. The closer the pile is, the greater its absorbency. The long pile adds to the softness but such towels not durable as the pile gets pulled out easily.
The denseness of the pile also decides the softness and weight of the towel. Uncut piles are more absorbent but cut piles are much softer. That is why uncut pile is preferred for bath and hand towels and cut pile for face towel.
Weight: Though heavier fabric is more absorbent and a prime feature for bath linen, it increases the time spend in laundering and drying.
Dressing: This refers to the amount of starch applied to the fabric. In case of bath linen, instead of dressing, fabric softener should be applied. It can be checked by rubbing the fabric on a contrast colour. If the fabric leaves white powder, it indicates high amount of starch in it.
Wash Resistance: Linen have to undergo rigorous laundry process after each use, which results in the deterioration of the quality of the fabric after every wash. Around 150 washes are preferred for the hand and bath towels and only 25 washes in case of face towel.
Colour: Though colourful towels always provide a homely look to the hotel bathroom, white is preferred for the bath linen. Whites are generally easier to wash, as they can be bleached when necessary. It gives a fresh and clean appearance and is acceptable to any décor. It is universally available and could be easily replaced. At the same time, colour bath linen is less absorbent, as they already absorb the dyes. And if the dyes are water soluble it could give rise to colour bleeding also. In some cases these dyes are found allergic to the user too.
Sizes and Number of sets: A wide variation is often found in sizes and number of sets to be procured, since the product and standards differ across American, British and the Indian market. The decision of procuring the number of sets of a particular bath linen is usually based on the factors like how often you change your bath linen? Generally, sets of each bath linen is preferred, one in operation, one in laundry and one in the store. Following are some of the recommended sizes of bath linen:Arvind Kumar Saraswati Lecturer, BCIHM&C