That Moment You Realize Your Bed Linens Stink
Imagine being a hotel manager taking inventory of the linen supply. As you move from shelf to shelf counting bed linens, blankets, and towels, you notice a pretty bad smell. It is not long before you realize that your bed linens stink. What’s up with that?
The scenario just described is not unusual for hotels, motels, hospitals, and massage parlors. In fact, any facility that utilizes bed linens runs the risk of having stinky linens if they do not employ sound linen management principles. The good news is that the problem of stinky linens is easy to solve.
Three Root Causes
While there may be any number of things working together to create stinky linens, there are three root causes that cover most cases. Stinky linens may be the result of just one of these root causes, or any combination thereof.
1. Improper Storage
Clean linens tend to attract whatever is floating in the air. This includes dirt, microbes, etc. So in order to keep linens from picking up these airborne particles, you would store your linens and blankets in a specific way. For example, linens should be stored in a cool, dry place. This prevents mold and mildew.
The storage environment should also be one that is free of excessive dust and airborne debris. Normally that means an interior room that is not exposed to outdoor air when the doors are left open.
2. Poor Air Circulation
Poor air circulation is another cause of stinky linens. Even in cool, dark rooms free of excessive dust and debris, a lack of air circulation can still encourage mold and mildew. Linens that sit too long in such an environment are more likely to pick up that mold and mildew.
Along those same lines, linens should never be stacked so tightly on shelves that air cannot circulate around them. Stacks should be kept at a reasonable height with plenty of space left between them.
3. Failure to Rotate Stock
Perhaps the most prominent cause of stinky linens is a failure to rotate stock. When clean laundry comes in from the washroom or linen supplier, it gets placed at the front of the shelf. Linens at the back of the shelf barely get used, causing them to gradually absorb airborne odors and develop mold and mildew.
The Best Solution
It is rather easy to rectify improper storage, poor air circulation, and a failure to rotate stock. But the best solution to stinky linens is to avoid doing laundry in-house. Hotels are not laundry facilities. They are hospitality facilities specializing in providing overnight lodging. As such, hotel operators should stick to what they do best and leave linens to the specialists.
A commercial linen service, like Alsco, specializes in providing bed linens, bath linens, etc. They are as good at doing the laundry as the hotel is in providing overnight accommodations. A commercial laundry that does its job should all but eliminate the risk of stinky linens.
Commercial laundries know how to properly clean and finish bed linens. They know how to package them in such a way as to protect them from mold and mildew. They know how to manage inventory so that a hotel never has so much excess stock that linens sitting on shelves have time to pick up terrible odors.
For the record, everything discussed in this post also applies to hospitals, massage parlors, etc. If you run a facility or business that utilizes bed linens, how are you doing in the stinky linen department? Perhaps it’s time to outsource your linens to a commercial laundry.