It is common knowledge that hospitality linens eventually need replacement due to wear and tear caused by high usage and industrial laundering. But it is equally important for the laundry and housekeeping staff to know when to replace used linen, whether due to stains, tears, or discoloration. Delaying replacement results in negative guest experiences, which can lead to complaints and negative online reviews, potentially losing up to 22% of bookings. However, it is also possible to discard linen items too soon. Minor stains, frays, and unraveled hems are often correctable, and linen products may lose softness, thin, or discolor over time, which are often unnoticeable in guest rooms. Therefore, knowing which imperfections are acceptable will enable staff to extend the useful life of linen and keep the cost per use as low as possible. A well-defined linen policy should be in place to provide guidance on handling, storage, stain treatment, damage allowance, and discoloration levels. A well-written linen policy is a training guide for staff and ensures that linen is discarded at the proper time, maximizing the useful life of linen and avoiding negative guest experiences caused by unsightly linen. Ultimately, it is important to think like a guest when deciding whether or not to replace linen, and if seeing the linen in a hotel room would cause discomfort or create a negative impression of the property, it should be replaced.
BONUS: Tips for extending the life of your linen.
Rinse Thoroughly: Ensuring proper rinsing will extend the life of your linens by removing any residual chemicals which can weaken the cotton fibers over time.
Maintain Par Levels: A proper par level means your linens have a proper rest and storage period, which allows the cotton to re-hydrate and avoid premature wear.
Consistent Laundry Process: Optimize your laundry chemistry for your specific linen types. Divide towels, sheets, and other items into separate loads. Finally, treat stained items immediately and wash separately.
Don’t Over-Dry: Over-drying leads to shrinkage and causes cotton to become brittle. This can cause a loss of softness and a shorter product lifespan.
Repair Minor Damage: Your laundry staff can attempt to snip loose ends, frays, and snags. Unraveled hems can be stitched back together. These techniques can improve the look of the item with minimal effort, however, they should be done cautiously, as it can affect the construction of the item and cause further damage over time.