June 7, 2022
It’s no secret that hospitality linens don’t last forever. Even the most durable bedding and towels must eventually be replaced due to high usage and harsh industrial laundering. Whether due to a stubborn stain, a tear, or discoloration, it is important that your laundry and housekeeping staff know when to replace used linen.
Replacing used linen too late results in a negative guest experience. Bed and bath linen will be touched by your guests for a significant portion of their stay. Because of this, they will also be closely scrutinized. If frayed towels or stained bedding make their way to guest rooms, you might receive complaints or negative online reviews. The cost of negative reviews can be extensive, with a recent article by Customer Alliance stating that hotels can risk losing up to 22% of bookings due to negative reviews. For these reasons, perhaps more than any other room amenity, overused linen is a liability to your guest experience.
Our outside textile consultants visit hotel laundries nearly every day. One of the most surprising discoveries they have made is that linen items are often discarded well before the end of their useful life. While you never want to replace used linen too late, it is also possible to discard items too soon. Minor stains, frays, and unraveled hems are often correctable. And even varying levels of whiteness that are obvious in the laundry room are often impossible to see when the product is in the guest room. Knowing which imperfections are acceptable will enable your laundry staff to extend the useful life of your linen and keep your cost per use as low as possible, without affecting your guest experience.
Download our quick reference guide or read below to learn some of the most common warning signs of aging linen:
IMPORTANT: Some linen products are delivered with “sew offs” or fly yarns that stick out of the hem. This is a result of manufacturing and will shrink in after a few washes. We do not recommend trimming these sew offs to avoid product damage.
How many snags on a towel are acceptable? When should a discolored piece of linen be replaced? Should you try to repair frays or unraveled hems? Every property will answer these questions differently depending upon their budget and guest expectations. A well-defined linen policy is crucial. It should include:
A well-written linen policy acts as a training guide for your staff and ensures your used linen is discarded at the proper time. Adoption of your linen policy will maximize useful life while also avoiding a negative guest experience caused by unsightly linen.
As you consider your linen replacement policy, put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Looking at the towel or sheet in front of you, ask yourself: “Would seeing this linen in my hotel room cause me discomfort? Would I think less of the property?” If your answer is “yes” or even “maybe”, then it is time to say goodbye to that sheet or towel.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for when to discard used linen. However, by considering your guest expectations, following your linen policy, and carefully watching for the warning signs of aging linen you can create your own unique answer to this complex question.
Now that you’ve decided when to discard used linen, what do you do when it is finally time to say goodbye? If you are simply tossing your old linen products into the trash, you are missing out on a great opportunity to donate to a local charity or nonprofit organization who can reuse these products in the community. Research what options exist in your community and take a sustainable approach to your used linen.
We sat down with our very own laundry experts to discuss how to extend the life of your hotel linen. Here were their top tips:
Learn more about how to get the most out of your linen products.
Sometimes even small laundry mishaps may be unknowingly damaging product. Let’s walk through important laundry DON’Ts from our experts to keep your linens in tip-top shape.
Have you noticed your white linens becoming dull and dingy? You could be dealing with one of laundry’s dirty little secrets—redeposition. Sound scary? Luckily, it’s easy to deal with.
If your linens are not stored properly, product damage can occur. Be sure to understand how to properly store your linens, and what kind of damage to look out for to improve your storage methods.
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