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“Normally the spa and bath linen are washed at 60°C and the results are usually good. But the same results cannot be achieved in F&B linen. They have to be washed in higher temperatures of 70-80°C or the affected areas have to be bleached to remove stubborn stains,” says Kiran Raj Singh, Laundry Manager, Shangri-la’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi.

Repeated washing in high temperature damages the texture and quality of the fabric, reducing its life. “Moreover, high temperature consumes high energy. It is not a cost-effective technique in the long run. In India, most of the time, you will find stubborn curry or oil stains on uniforms and hence, each wash results in higher energy consumption,” adds Kiran Raj Singh.

“If room and spa linen are coming out well after wash, it is because the emulsifier is able to emulsify the oils which are made at low temperature and their emulsification point is much lower as they are being used in the body,” notes Uday Aditya, Manager – Laundry at Aman New Delhi.

“In an Indian Kitchen, the oil is raised above boiling temperature while cooking and once they get set on the linen, washing would require much higher than 60°C along with the emulsifier to remove the stain,” adds Uday Aditya.

There are various other methods suggested by David L, Group Owner, Clean Laundry Equipment, Greater Los Angeles area, in a discussion on Linkedin. There are four types of stains, says David. They include:

  • Organic (animal fats, vegetable) can be treated with Alkali based agents
  • Inorganic (mineral) which can be treated with Surfactant
  • Solvent (Oil) can be treated with Solvents like Butyl Cellasolve,
  • Bleachable (oxidiser based) can be treated with Peroxide or Chlorine…

It is essential to adopt the right methods for the right results, in keeping with the four essential elements of Time, Mechanical Action, Temperature and Chemicals.

“When you shorten any piece of the pie you have to expand the others. So a lower temperature must have at least the basic parts of the other categories covered or there will not be desired results,” says David.

In certain places, stubborn F&B stains are washed with oxygen bleach but the results are seldom consistent. “In fact, oxygen bleach can be introduced at the main wash with the chemical, which will improve the cleanliness of the linen,” suggests Deepak Khanna, Assistant Laundry Manager at Country Inn & Suites, New Delhi.

“Oxygen bleach at main wash is not a solution as the whole purpose of devising the wash programme gets nullified (I assume so) as the programme aims at lowering energy levels. Oxygen bleach would require much higher temperature to release the oxygen to do the work,” argues Uday Aditya.

“But much higher temperature must be introduced in the main wash. This could augment the chemical action in the process. Hot water would loosen the soil and remove oil based stain in the process. It could be a booster for bleaches to react effectively,” says Noel C, Group Laundry Manager, Subic International Hotel Corporation, Philippines.

At the same time, beware that the high temperature could create creases on the fabric, if the temperature is not gradually stabilized to normal while rinsing.

“One probable solution which I can think of is the use of enzyme based wash process. Keeping in view the temperature restrictions, the enzymes may do the trick if the required environment is provided. But, I doubt if we have a supplier for this.

“For me, clean F&B linen still means the beloved Hypochlorite… Life is all about compromise and when quality is at stake, anything is acceptable,” says Uday Aditya.

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