In my previous column, I discussed the changes in sanitation and kitchen over the past decades that I’ve been in the business. Now, let’s turn towards the laundry and housekeeping sector.
Linen rental is creeping into the hospitality industry. The rentable linen is either owned by the linen supplier or the laundry itself. Linen rental companies utilize their owned laundries for washing or a separate laundry service provider.
We’ve introduced new linen types like the duvet that is now popularly used. New fabric blends more polyester combinations. Cheaper fabrics have become alternatives to expensive cottons.
These linens are washed in machines that are today completely automatic. Very few laundry washer extractors use manual feeding of chemicals since automatic dosing pumps or dispensers are widely utilized. Since dosages are exact, there is no hit-or-miss and there is less labor chemical feedings. Similar to kitchen chemicals, the dusty powders are now a thing of the past. In the modern laundry, we use five to six chemicals – a better way than the past but one that is also expensive.
More washing problems came up. There are new forms of food stains because of new food preparation types and sauces. For island resorts, henna tattoos are a problem. Blood stains are always around and even newer lipstick types are harder to remove. Dyes are getting prevalent not only on the linen but on the cups and drinking glasses.
Boilers are now are thing of the past in most laundries since liquefied petroleum gas has been a cost-effective source of energy for drying and ironing purposes in the commercial laundries. Automatic sheet and towel folders can conform to the fold types or standards of different hotels. Don’t forget the automatic spreader feeder before the bed sheet or flat sheets are ironed, introducing the almost hands-free system. These machines have not only lowered labor cost but are also more efficient systems. Less handling means less bacteria spread for the finished laundry.
The low temperature wash for the laundry and dishwashing machine are the banner marketing statements of the chemical suppliers. Low temperature systems means low cost in energy use.
Outside the kitchen and laundry, I will not forget the emergence of the waterless urinals and new stone floors that use less floor finishing chemicals.
What’s in store for the future? Shorter washes, automated was formulas, lower was temperatures, and safe environmental washing systems – these are the things to come.
Editor: This article was fist published in Hospitality News’ December 10, 2014 Issue, with the title, “The sanitation business: Yesterday, today and tomorrow (Part 2)”.