With time, linens wear out – about 50% through use and 50% through laundering – and must be discarded. Each laundering diminishes the linens’ tensile strength. A realistic estimate of the number of use-and-launder cycles a piece of linen can endure would be aprons 50 and table cloths/napkins 60-75.
Good practices can prevent damage to linens. Given herewith is a list of guidelines to follow to avoid damaging linens:
• To not allow damp linens lie on concrete or iron. Concrete stains are almost impossible to remove, while iron rust may cause stains and holes in the linen
• To not use good linens as cleaning rags. Cleaning solutions often contain corrosive substances that damage and stain linen
• To check carts, laundry chutes, and linen rooms for sharp points that can snag and tear linens
• To check tumblers regularly for pins, paper clips, bobby pins, and other sharp items that can cause holes
• To prevent excess bleaching by the laundry to remove stains
• To check improper levels of flat bed presses, if any, in laundry that leads to tears
• To avoid insufficient linen par in circulation leads to overuse
• The pieces that need mending should always be knotted up at the point required and sent to the Linen Room
• To take timely care of fresh stains to save the piece from getting ruined
In the hotels’ own laundry, operators who press and fold linen should also inspect the linen for damage. Torn items should go into a separate basket for delivery to the mending room.
The Laundry Department can undertake these linen conservation measures:
• Check waste paper baskets and garbage bins periodically for linens are not accidentally discarded
• Inspect the lockers, showers, and rest rooms for any linen that might be out of circulation
Linen Distribution Systems
Two types of linen distribution systems are commonly used: the quota system for guest room linen and the requisition system for F&B service.
In the Quota System, in the case of F&B linen a predetermined amount based on the number of tables and seats in the restaurant and the number of covers served would be delivered to the restaurant each day. The drawback of using the quota system for F&B Service is that it often leads to overstocking.
Under the Requisition System, F&B linens are issued from either the laundry or Housekeeping linen room after the Outlet Manager submits a requisition form.
Each individual hotel should determine quantity of linen issued to the F&B Department under the requisition system, and how it should come from Linen department. To prevent over or under-stocking, the number of weekly covers should be compared from time to time with the linen requisitioned.
To get maximum use from all linens, please follow these guidelines before discarding:
• Place a separate bin labelled “Condemned / to be condemned” in the linen room and F&B outlets
• Instruct restaurant and banquet personnel to deposit torn, stained, or threadbare linens in these bins
• Place only cleaned linens (i.e. to not use these linens for wiping, etc.), although torn/ stained, in these containers
• Periodically bring the linens from these containers to the sewing room for sorting stained ones. Send them to the laundry for re-washing and return them back into the pile. Items that cannot be reclaimed or converted should be discarded and reused.
Laundry/Linen Room Supervisor along with the F&B manager or a person authorized by him/her should personally ‘condemn’ all linens which cannot be used. Each item which needs to be condemned should be screened and defined for further action and why. All these items should be stamped as “condemned’ in various places.
The Supervisor can discard worn, torn, stained, shrunk, burnt or abused linen. He/She should write down the quantity and reason/s for discard in the ‘Condemnation Register’, and discuss with the Laundry Manager to see if a problem exists.
The author is a veteran with over four decades of experience in the chemical, textile and detergent segments. He is working as consultant for five-star laundries / commercial laundries / health-care laundries / ozone-wash in India & the Gulf.