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Is quality in the thread count? Tina Gleed asks the experts.

We all have our preferences when it comes to bed and bath linen, scratchy towels that could exfoliate a hippopotamus, bed linen that is not only durable but soft also all counts to customer satisfaction. So we asked the industry suppliers; is higher thread count the answer to stop the balling or pill, as they say in the trade, with different types of fabric ranging from cotton, polyester, flannel, silk and even bamboo?

Richard Haworth, a leading supplier of quality bed, bath and table linen to the hospitality sector, gives us their opinion. Thread count is important when it comes to selecting high quality linens for hotels. Ensuring the best quality of bed linens in the hospitality sector is vital for the comfort of all guests. After all, no hotel wants to be branded with a reputation for poor quality linens or discover guests have failed to have a peaceful night’s sleep at their establishment.

Raj Ruia, managing director comments: “Thread count can be an important factor when it comes to providing guests with soft, comfortable linens, but it has to be pointed out that just because one type of linen has a higher thread count than another it’s not necessarily of higher quality or ideally suited for use within the hotel sector”. Thread count and yarn count will vary between different fabrics and they are used to judge the suitability of different fabrics for varying purposes.

Ian Yates, the QA manager at Richard Haworth, points out: “Buyers may be extremely impressed with the softness and appearance of some of the available 800 thread count linens, but should bear in mind that these fabrics can be very heavy when they’re wet, leading to reductions in the amount of linens that can be washed at any one time and higher overall drying times. All of which impact on bottom line profits considerably”. He added also that sateen or satin weaves are perfectly acceptable in their own right, but can prove more susceptible to pilling than plain weave fabrics and this leads to a shorter lifespan and further cost implications for hospitality buyers and hotel managers. When it comes down to choosing the right bed linen for your hotel, Richard Haworth say a non-plain weave fabric is typically more flexible than a high thread count plain weave fabric and comes with advantages such as reduced creasing after washes and requiring less ironing.

The Manhattan range is a perfect example of this. Yates recommends buyers within the hospitality sector to focus on the renowned durability and quality of good cotton fabrics with a thread count of 200 or more. He points out that percales will generally possess thread counts above 200, but there is a limit and a 400-thread count is the optimum amount. Finer yarns will result in a fabric potentially being less durable and so a fabric with a yarn size of 40 will provide a strong fabric designed to withstand the rigours of the hospitality industry.

In conclusion, Ruia said: “Ultimately some of the most important factors to consider when buying any linens in the hospitality sector are the way they look and feel, their durability and how they will stand up to frequent use and washing”. Established in 1946, Mitre Linen, based in Merthyr Tydfil in the Welsh Valleys, has provided the hospitality, leisure, education, healthcare and laundry industries with bed linen, bedding, towelling, soft furnishings and accessories for over 70 years, Mitre Linen is proud to have held HM The Queen’s Royal Warrant since 1955.

Here they tell us about their range of linens. “An immaculate bed complete with exquisite, pure white bedlinen will emphasise a hotel’s commitment to cleanliness and, when used well, can be a great way to complement the design of a bedroom. With recent Mitre Connects research confirming the long-held belief that the majority of hotel guests have a preference for white bedlinen, it’s understandable why it’s the choice of many hoteliers. “Whilst the colour may be a given, the fabric chosen can require greater consideration and will make a real difference to both the look and feel of the bed, as well as the time and effort required by the housekeeper and room attendants.

Whether they opt for the crisp look and feel of 100 per cent cotton or choose a more crease resistant polyester and cotton mix, Mitre Linen can provide hoteliers with all the knowledge to ensure they understand their bedlinen options,” comments managing director Simon O’Mahony.


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You’ll find the full article in the September / October edition of Housekeeping Today UK. Subscribe for your edition or browse online here.

Housekeeping Today UK is the place for keeping informed in the hospitality and cleaning industry. Click here to view housekeeping news.

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