My hotel has upgraded its guest-room linens and bedding package, as well as its restaurant linens. It’s made a sizable investment, so the pressure’s on to clean, handle and store these goods carefully for the longest useful life possible. What advice can you give me?
EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION: Curtis McDowell is the general manager and head of OPL sales for Super Laundry dba Laundry City Equipment, a distributor of commercial and industrial laundry equipment. He has more than 17 years of industry experience, including service and sales.
It has become necessary for many mid-range and upper hotels to institute the newer, more plush bedding packages to enable themselves to better compete for the available business. The unfortunate thing is that this will increase their laundry production by approximately 30-40%.
Most laundries in this range were laid out to handle only the original production and don’t have much, if any, room to expand. In this situation, it’s best to consider what equipment replacement options they have. If there’s adequate space to replace existing equipment with larger machines, this is their best option. This will allow them to handle the increase in production with a minimal increase in labor. If they don’t have enough room, then it’ll be necessary to upgrade to more efficient equipment that takes up the same amount of floor space.
Washer-extractors offering maximum G-force extraction will present them with their best gains. This will enable them to reduce their wash and dry times and offer more efficient throughput. They should take special consideration to ensure their concrete foundation is adequate to handle a faster machine. If the concrete isn’t thick enough, then soft-mount washers should be considered. This will allow for maximum G-force without the expense of reconstruction.
Dryers/tumblers should be upgraded to the most efficient models available as well. If they don’t already have reversing baskets, it would be advantageous to incorporate them to extend the longevity of the linen. This will enable them to reduce wrinkling and overdrying of bed linens.
If equipment replacement is not an option, or even if it is, one of the best methods of increasing efficiency and decreasing production time is to add an ozone enhancement system.
By utilizing ozone, they’ll be able to wash most of their goods in cold water. By switching from hot to cold water and replacing chlorine bleach with oxygenated bleach, they can expect to greatly increase the longevity of their linen and terry, thus reducing replacement costs.
Heavy stains and greases will still need hot water, but this will be a small portion of their laundry production. Ozone will also enable them to shorten their wash and dry cycle times and reduce their utility consumption.
While costs for these systems may vary, they typically pay for themselves in about 24 months. Many ozone system manufacturers offer wall-mounted units that don’t require additional floor space and can be easily plumbed into washers.
The customer must do his homework when considering an ozone system. There has been much debate on the best method of introducing ozone into the wash cylinder. There have also been many concerns related to offgassing into the laundry area. While many newer systems have addressed these issues, it’s important to get reliable references from vendors to ensure that they offer a system that will safely do what is promised.
COMMERCIAL LAUNDERING: Richard Warren is the general manager of Linen King of Central Arkansas, one in a regional chain of commercial laundries that provides COG, rental and linen distribution services for the healthcare industry. His experience also includes OPL and industrial laundering, linen supply, and leather/fur cleaning.
This question has been asked more frequently these last couple of years, as many hospitality facilities are raising the quality of linens in order to remain competitive. What I’d like to know is, how will it be determined if the new linen is lasting any longer than the previous style?
If it’s based on replacement, will the criteria be dollars spent or units purchased? Was the previous style lasting an adequate length of time? The assumption can be made that the facility won’t have additional control over the shoe polish, makeup and “mysterious disappearances” that were probably creating a lot of heartburn before.
The linen vendor must be on record with some kind of estimate on the replacement volume, or dollars expended over a given period of time. Also, it’ll have recommendations on how to wash the goods. I’ve seen recommendations for some blankets and spreads to wash cold and dry at a temperature not to exceed 100 F. That’s room temperature for many laundries I know! That must be determined and programmed into your formula.
Give the information that you receive from your management and the linen vendor to your chemical representative and ask him to address your concerns regarding soil removal. If the linen will be stored for extended periods between uses, you may want to consider a bacteriostat in your process. I’d assume that if the goods will be put into use quickly, a “bacstat” wouldn’t be of benefit.
Check your equipment to find things that will snag and tear the linen. Do you have excessive grease that can transfer to the linen? Are there sharp or jagged spots in the wash wheels or dryer baskets? Do you have a folding machine that frequently jams in the same spot? Do you use three people to pull on a jam if one can’t get the job done, or is maintenance brought in quickly? Again, did the previous linen style last a satisfactory length of time? If not, why not?
In general terms, not much is changing for the laundry. There may be a couple of new categories, and the items will have greater weight, but the operation will have the same soil to remove, the same turnaround time and probably the same par levels. Determining reasonable expectations is essential.