You can learn a lot of interesting and curious laundry-related facts from hotel housekeeping, including the importance of washing water temperature.
Gone are the days of simply boiling anything and everything for hours on end, causing long-term damage, color fading, and shrinking of your favorite pieces. Who better to ask for best practices than the pro housekeepers that wash linen by the ton?
Here’s what we learned about washing from hotel housekeeping!
Hotel laundry consists mostly of sheets, towels, comforters, and other large, bulky items. Most commercial washers are set up to wash over 275 pounds with water set at roughly 160 degrees. The average residential washing machine temperature runs between 110 to 130 degrees.
This hotter temperature increases the effectiveness of a commercial wash in three essential ways:
Physics tells us that a higher water temperature lowers the surface tension of the water so that it soaks into fabric fibers and through stains more easily. Higher temperature water also separates fabric fibers releasing any dirt and grime hiding deep in the fabric to be rinsed away.
Commercial washers automatically release any detergents, bleach, and fabric softeners into the wash on a timed schedule. Higher temperature water allows the chemical ingredients to get to work quickly and more effectively.
Drum to laundry load size will affect the efficiency of the wash. The water and detergents need room to circulate in and around the fabric to achieve a good clean. Most small or residential machines aren’t designed to process as much laundry as most people put in at once.
The temperature of the water you use for laundry could cause damage, be inefficient at stain removal, or not provide proper sanitation.
Cold water washing is recommended for the average home laundry load to lengthen the lifetime of your garments by protecting color and reducing shrinkage. Unfortunately, it does not remove stains as effectively as warm or hot water.
The benefits of cold water for clothing are actually a downside in the commercial hotel hospitality industry where sanitation and pristine stain removal are paramount.
A warm water wash works best for lightly soiled, low-use synthetic fabrics such as polyester, spandex, nylon, or rayon blends. Detergents can easily dissolve in warm water and it’s more energy efficient than hot water. Warm water can cause colors to fade and will not be as effective at stain removal or thorough sanitation.
For true sanitization and aggressive stain correction, hot water is the only way to go. This setting is ideal for household fabrics and what’s primarily in the laundry room at hotels such as cotton-based sheets, curtains, comforters, towels, and pillowcases.
When staying at a hotel, be sure to take your makeup off before going to bed, or else you’re likely to get it all over the sheets and pillowcases. One Reddit user shared this was the most annoying thing for them when housekeeping.
“I would have to spend extra time in the laundry room trying to get the stain out and I would usually end up leaving late because of it,” they shared. Make sure you also don’t use the handtowels to take your makeup off, or you’ll stain those too and possibly get charged, running up your hotel bill when you’re trying to save.
Another housekeeper shared this story. One time, while an older man was checking out, he handed my manager an extra $50 for the “inconvenience” — but didn’t go into detail. When housekeeping went to his room, there was blood everywhere: on the floors, the bathroom mirror, even the shower! We never figured out where it all came from. It legitimately looked like he murdered someone in there. We had to call the police and have a special hazmat cleaner come in.
Think hotel laundry is easy? Our final story includes food in bed. I was a housekeeper, and one day I went into a room after a guest checked out. It smelled a *little* funky, but I couldn’t find the source of the stench. I went to strip the bed, pulled the sheets back, and the bed was filled with coleslaw. COLESLAW! I had no idea why, and I do NOT want to know why!
The Folde’s commercial laundry and delivery service is perfect for hotels, spa and massage offices, gyms, or any other small business! It’s okay to skip laundry day and get fresh, clean items delivered!