Providing crisp, clean sheets and linens for guests is something many hotels take pride in. A night in a hotel is defined by the quality of the sleeping experience, and preserving the sheets used by guests is important to hotels not just for guest comfort, but to protect the return on investment behind the sheets’ purchase. By ensuring that sheets are being washed properly and not excessively, a hotel can extend the life of its laundry while reducing its environmental and monetary expenditures.
“We did a map of our laundry process, brought in attendants and told them to help us organize it,” said Scott Bastin, director of six sigma for theSheraton Dallas Hotel. “When it makes sense to the people working your machines, everything goes much faster. Because of the way we have our laundry organized we were able to reduce the time we spend doing laundry by 30 percent. Electricity, steam, gas—it all gets cut down.”
The Dallas hotel recently switched flags from an Adam’s Mark to a Sheraton, and was forced to replace all of its branded linens. After that, the hotel began experimenting with ways to preserve its linens. “You have to try and help the environment and also your guests by using chemicals that aren’t as harsh,” Bastin said. “Using those chemicals breaks down the material faster, so other hotels should investigate the kind of chemicals that are out there because it is very important.”
Another hotel that reevaluated the chemicals used in its laundry processes is theSofitel New York. The hotel partnered with the Diversey chemical company to find alternatives to what they were previously using, and found success in preserving its linens for a longer period.
“After partnering with Diversey we have technicians coming to our property every week to see that the chemicals we have are being used properly,” said Florian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “Even with reduced chemical use, we don’t use chlorine any more. Additionally, we have been receptive to ideas from guests. We get customers every once in a while that give us good ideas on how to go green.”
Reducing water usage
Water usage is a serious concern for large hotels running laundry services seven days a week. One solution to this problem is to keep washers running steadily so that they can be turned off as soon as the process finishes.
“Having enough storage space and manpower on hand to be attentive to your [washing] machines is the backbone to keeping things running smoothly,” said Scott Bastin of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.
Finding ways to speed up the laundry process in order to keep the washers off is one strategy, but another is to reuse water from previous washes to reduce waste.
“Our washers use gray water, and it results in a 75-percent reduction in water usage,” Bastin said.
Sometimes, efficiency and speed can mean the difference between one wash and several based on the severity of stained linens, with stains being more easily removed from a linen if tended to promptly.
“Washing stained linens immediately can prevent them from needing more washes, or from being replaced entirely,” saidFlorian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “For a bed linen you normally get around 60 washes out of it before it needs to be replaced, but by lowering the frequency that you have to use those washes we are able to reduce the cost of replacing and cleaning the linen.”