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If you’re a housekeeping manager with an understaffed team, undergoing a loss of experience in your team or with an increase in industry newcomers, you may find the lifespan of your linen starts to decline for a number of reasons. We recommend you take note of the following linen pointers to help your ease your situation:
Ensure you have enough linen to begin with
We usually recommend having at least three days’ worth of linen available at any time. However, with struggling staff numbers, it could be worthwhile increasing this number to five days to ensure you don’t run out. You should also focus on buying quality linen. It may cost more up front, but it will last longer, so you’ll save money over buying cheap linen that needs to be replaced often.
Ensure linen is stored correctly
Don’t just dump linen on the floor in a storage cupboard, as that’s a quick way for it to get dirty before it’s even been used. At least install shelves to put linen on which, in turn, are also cleaned regularly. Don’t pack the shelves with too much linen as you need to give it room to breathe. It should also be in a dark and dry area.
Ensure housekeepers know how to care for linen
Staff should be careful when sending linen down laundry chutes or transporting it in laundry cages, as things like bed sheets and towels can get caught and tear easily. Machinery and equipment should be checked regularly to ensure it won’t damage linens, especially checking for metal burrs.
Care is needed when fitting a sheet onto a bed, as it can be torn on the bed frame if the process is rushed. Housekeepers have also been known to put all the used linen into a duvet cover, which puts added stress onto the cover and can rip the fabric. While we know that housekeepers may be under pressure to turnover rooms as quickly as possible, especially in large hotels, rushing the job will only cost you money. We regularly hear of housekeepers who have used guest towels to wipe a surface during cleaning, or a pillowcase to wipe a mirror. This should be discouraged, as linen interacting with cleaning chemicals will only shorten the linen’s life, and the friction applied can wear it out quicker. Vision Linens recognise that the world of linen can be a complicated one, which is why they have a dedicated section on their website providing a library of everything from linen care advice, to how-to guides and jargon busters to help out the housekeeping community. See visionlinens.com/blog. These can even be used to help provide training to your team. We’re sure you and your housekeeping team will find these articles useful.
*A special thank you goes out to Kerry Adams, executive head housekeeper at Crieff Hydro Hotel and Resort, and former chairperson of the Yorkshire and North-East Region of UKHA, for offering her advice on the challenges faced.