There is nothing better than sliding into fresh, crisp, white sheets in a lovely hotel room at the end of the day. Have you ever wondered how hotels keep its linens and towels fresh and clean? Hotels can go through hundreds of sets of sheets and towels a day. These hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast locations use a combination of fast maintenance and gentle care to ensure the long life and cleanliness of linens. Apply these seven principles used by hotels to extend the life of your household sheets, towels, and blankets.
Many hotel guests might be surprised to discover that hotels actually use normal, store-bought laundry detergent, similar to what is in many households. It is important for hotels to use normal detergent instead of professional grade detergent because of pH. Normal detergent that can be purchased in grocery stores typically has a neutral pH, while the harsher, more professional grade detergent is often basic, or has a high pH. This high pH can be very harsh on sheets and towels, breaking down the fibers more quickly than when more neutral detergent is utilized.
One way to keep towels fresh and mildew-free is to hang up the towels after use. Hotels encourage this practice with guests by displaying a card in the bathroom with the instructions to hang up the towels. When a towel is not hung up to dry after use, mildew can grow on the towels much easier, leading to a musty smell, even after laundering. The simple act of hanging a towel can help avoid mildew smells in the towels.
A very helpful way to keep linens fresh is by not under filling or overfilling a washing machine. Filling a washing machine too much does not allow for sufficient mechanical action to clean the clothes. On the other hand, not filling up a washing machine enough allows for too much mechanical action, causing the linens to break down faster. It is appropriate to fill a washing machine to approximately 80 percent of the machine’s capacity.
Washing machine settings are also very critical for keeping linens and towels looking fresh and spotless. The washing time needs to be selected based on the need of the laundry being washed. Selecting the same setting every time, no matter the state of the laundry, will not benefit linens in any way. If linens are washed for too long, the fabric can break down quickly, and if they are not washed for long enough, stain removal can be difficult.
It is also important to wash linens on a warm setting, not too hot and not too cold. Washing sheets and towels in cold water does not clean the linens thoroughly, allowing for some bacteria and dust mites to remain. However, because of the frequency of washes, washing those same linens in hot water can damage the fabric very quickly.
Vinegar is also a helpful tool for keeping hotel sheets and towels fresh. When used in place of fabric softener, vinegar removes bacteria and freshens fabrics. Traditional fabric softener coats fabrics with a film, making it difficult to thoroughly clean the linens. After washing these linens using detergent and vinegar as fabric softener, hotel towels and sheets will smell clean and will not smell like vinegar at all.
Finally, one critical component of keeping hotel towels and linen smelling and looking clean is to clean the washing machines regularly. If mildew grows in a washing machine, that smell is quickly transferred to the laundered linens, even if they are clean. By being proactive and cleaning the washers on a regular basis, this mildew smell can be avoided.
Hotels that follow these seven steps for cleaning linens will ensure fresh sheets and towels for hotel guests. Guests can immediately tell the difference if the sheets or towels have not been laundered appropriately. Additionally, these laundry methods also help extend the life of hotels’ linens, leading to lower costs for the hotel and the customer.