Extending Linen Life
Good control of circulating stock is essential if an in-house or contract laundry service is to be cost effective. Common sense calls for the following:-
- Clear marking of every item with the organisation name in a tamperproof form. Date of injection into circulation will also help sort out any problems later:
- Good control of wash chemistry will minimise chemical damage. You only need sufficient alkalinity in the wash to remove the soiling. There is no point in very high alkalinity levels unless you have very resistant soiling (congealed blood, fish slime) because it will shorten linen life.
- Bleaching removes certain staining but over-bleaching will not improve matters and will rot cotton and linen. Bleaching is not a substitute for a proper wash.
- Staff abuse will shorten linen life and particular problems are use of towels to wipe cleaning chemicals off bathroom surfaces, dragging linen over a dirty floor; walking on white sheets and using tea cloths and napkins as kitchen wipes or for knife polishing.
- User abuse will write off items on the first use with particular problems from steak knife cuts to the tablecloth, cigarette burns, sheet tears from sharp toenails and hair dye on towels.
- Equipment defects that will produce repeat holes and tears include sharp protrusions from bed assemblies, broken edges on chutes and trollies and misaligned cages in washing machinery and tumble driers.
- Theft and misuse require constant vigilance and a high profile to any security investigation to act as a deterrent to anyone who might be thinking about theft, however petty – it all mounts up.
Theoretically, many of the items you purchase should withstand up to and over 150 wash and use cycles but you will only achieve this by tight management control of purchase quality, handling, processing and security.
150 washes = industry standard
200 washes = with considerable care
400 washes = with care and no chemicals
Cotton (with no washing) may last about 100 years and then disintegrate
Linen (with no washing) should last for ever-ref: Egyptian mummies.