For the safety of guests and staff, hotels are looking at best practices in the disinfection of linens and towels during the Covid pandemic. Whilst there is preliminary evidence that the Covid-19 virus "does not survive well" on fabrics, here are some insider tips from Richard Haworth, leading supplier of hotel linens on striking the correct balance between caring for your guests and caring for your bed linen and towelling.
Start with good quality products
Starting with top quality materials is the key to extending performance and product life, even when using more rigorous cleaning processes. For example, our Prima Duvet Covers are made from an innovative plain weave, cotton-rich fabric which provides a soft cotton feel, but with the ability to remain white wash after wash. Cotton-rich fabrics, which have an element of polyester, are more durable and allow higher wash temperatures without damaging the fabrics by weakening fibres.
For towelling, make sure they are suitable to be washed at high temperatures and are durable while maintaining their luxury feel throughout repeated washes. Our 600gsm Madison range is a 100% ring-spun cotton with a honeycomb weave header and can be washed at high temperatures yet remain soft and luxurious.
Use heat: Thermal disinfection
Thermal disinfection occurs at 71 degrees centigrade, a temperature that laundries use frequently. It is possible to achieve thermal disinfection at 65 degrees centigrade but to do this successfully; the cycle must be extended by at least a further 10 minutes, increasing the costs incurred. Using a cooler or shorter wash cycle will not entirely destroy the potentially infectious bacteria. As superior quality cotton products will be able to withstand the higher temperature option, it is best to go this route, for high standards of cleanliness, without reducing the lifespan of the product.
Use detergent: Detergent disinfection
Detergents act in two main ways. First, the ingredients contained in most common detergents quickly break down soiling. Second, the detergent acts as a suspending medium to keep the dirt that is released from the fabric in the water, so that it is not re-deposited back into the linen and towels.
A critical success factor in using detergents is that they work optimally when the machine is not overloaded. We recommend that machines are filled to 80% of their capacity. This will ensure proper water flow and movement of the fabrics during the mechanical action of the machine. The suspended dirt in the water will be washed away before it has a chance to resettle in the fabric fibres.
Using additives: Chemical disinfection
Adding additional chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine to a standard washing process can help with disinfection levels. However do ensure not to overuse as cotton fibres can be weakened by excessive alkaline or acidic levels, in addition to discolouration can occur.
By following the steps above, you should have peace of mind that your linen is safe for guests and Covid free during these trying times.