The COVID-19 virus has waged war on the hospitality business. By now, almost all major lodging providers have published and initiated their response to the virus. These new approaches have been developed to address a list of concerns that both the organization and guests will undoubtedly have as we reopen our doors.
It is without a doubt, that somewhere near the top of that list of concerns, will be hotel linens. So, how can your guests be sure the linen they will utilize during their stay is safe for use? Take a look at the list below to identify five major criteria an individual should consider before booking their stay and hotel companies should consider implementing.
- Has the linen been certified “Hygienically Clean?” Utilizing linens that have this distinction means that the hotel in question is receiving goods that have been independently third-party tested to be free of any pathogens that could cause bodily harm. Any operating hotel can have their linen tested to gain this certification and should have the appropriate documentation available upon request.
- At Rosen Hotels & Resorts, our linens have this accreditation to ensure not only guest’s comfort, but safety.
- Are the linens laundered internally or by a third party? By handling linens internally, hotels can ensure that all required cleanliness and safety measures are followed meticulously. The associates that handle the linens are employees of that organization and the responsible parties can observe the operations at any given time. The equipment utilized in the cleaning of the goods is also solely dedicated to the goods of that organization.
When a third party is utilized, the property is beholden to the cleanliness and safety standards of an organization that is not their own. The only way to verify compliance is to physically travel off-site to the processing facility when time allows to observe the process in action. Like any venture, third-party laundry providers are in business to turn a profit. This means that the equipment being utilized to clean your room linens will also be used to service many other properties or even completely different business sectors.
- Are the linens treated by a reputable chemical provider? The laundering of 1000’s of pounds of linens requires an extensive and scientific approach to the chemicals used in the wash process. The proper cleaning of hotel linens should never be accomplished by utilizing generic detergents like Tide. Instead, a professional laundry should utilize a combination of detergents, alkalis, bleaches, peroxides, sours, and softeners that their chemical provider manufactures. Only by partnering with a professional and reputable chemical provider can these chemicals be combined to create a specifically tailored wash formula for every different type of linen requiring laundering. These formulas and processes must be constantly monitored and verified for their effectiveness at a minimum of once per month by the chemical service provider. Without this type of professional relationship and utilization of credible chemicals, the hygienic cleaning of the goods cannot take place.
- Does the laundry cleaning the linens utilize steam in its wash cycle? Having great chemicals is one thing. Meeting and maintaining the proper temperatures during the wash process to activate those chemicals is another. Each chemical utilized in the wash process has its own unique temperature range that it is effective in. The only way to maintain that temperature range during the wash cycle is to have the ability to inject steam into the washing equipment to provide the necessary heat as the water inevitably cools off. The absence of steam creates an environment where proper temperatures may not be sustained long enough or even met at all rendering the chemicals effectively useless. If a chemical never activates, then you have essentially just washed 100’s of pounds of soiled linen in nothing but lukewarm water. Therefore, steam is a necessity.
- Is there a sanitizing program for the equipment used in transporting soiled linen? The soiled linen must be removed from the room and make it to where it is cleaned somehow. There are many ways this can be accomplished; however, the most common way is to utilize a laundry cart. Typically, these carts are utilized in both the moving of soiled and clean linen. If this is the case, the cart carrying the soiled linen MUST be sanitized before clean linen can be placed in it. The only way this is accomplished is again, using steam or reputable chemicals that are certified to eliminate harmful pathogens with a low contact kill time. If a laundry fails to follow these criteria the transfer of harmful substances can occur with the clean linens. Refer to bullet point 1 where it is essential to test that the linens arriving at the facility are “hygienically clean.”