There are lots of things to consider when it comes to hotel laundry planning – not least whether to keep things in-house or outsource your washing, drying and finishing to a hotel linen service. One of our hotel laundry specialists, Martin Aston answers some common questions we’re asked by owners, managers and laundry decision-makers when scoping out the commercial laundry equipment process in their hotels.

Should I run an in-house hotel laundry or use a contract linen service?

If you’re able to do everything yourself, you’ll be able to take full control of what you wash, how and when – and you won’t need to depend on a third party to pick up and deliver your laundry on time or wash things to the standard you need. Plus, there’s no risk of your linen getting tangled up with another hotel’s pile.

While outsourcing laundry services in hotels may seem like it could free-up staff time at face value, you need to think about how long it will take to count linen in and out, manage your contract (admin time for PO’s and payments, chasing late deliveries and filing complaints can all steal staff time).

Choosing to have onsite hotel laundry facilities means you can also control your own electricity and water costs, reduce the amount of linen stock you need (no need for as many spares/pars). It’s also easier to react to changing demands like illness outbreaks or changing and seasonal occupancy levels – contracts often come with minimum monthly charges which can leave you paying more than you need to in low season.

Check out the ‘Hotels’ section of our testimonials >>

What are the benefits of an in-house hotel laundry?

  • Save money – Outsourcing your wet or dry cleaning requires double the PAR stock compared to on-premise laundries, and with expensive fees per item, this multiplies your spend significantly – as do minimum charges.
  • Save time – Rather than waiting for laundry bag deliveries, counting stock in and out, processing paperwork and maintaining storage areas, staff can concentrate on their front-end duties. Operating commercial laundry machines is a straightforward, quick process and will free up hours of labour time
  • Take control – Choose the quality of items you want to use and extend the life of your towels and linen. If an emergency arises – such as a spillage, you have the in-house facility to deal with it quickly

I’d like to keep things in-house but we don’t have much space?

If space is an issue, bringing just your towel laundering in-house with can instantly make a difference. Towels, bath mats and robes are some of the heaviest, yet easiest items to wash. And because they don’t require ironing, you don’t need to account for space for finishing equipment.

Blog: How to get soft, fluffy towels

The more labour intensive items such as tableware and bedding can continue to be outsourced if absolutely necessary, but with expert advice there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to create a ‘compact’ hotel laundry room layout that allows you to process items that would cost more to wash (and take longer to turn around) as part of an external hotel laundry contract.

Isn’t running an in-house hotel laundry expensive?

With external services you could be paying a premium for your laundry without knowing how old, how good or how environmentally unfriendly their equipment might be. The added benefit of choosing your own equipment for your own laundry onsite is the ability to install energy-efficient. Commercial washers and commercial dryers are highly efficient and designed to provide a high quality wash experience whilst reducing utility costs.

Blog: Are you making these hotel bedding mistakes?

Clever features mean the most intelligent machines on the market can determine how much water and detergent your fabrics need in each load ensure you’ll only ever use the amount required per wash load – saving you money and ensuring optimum wash quality on every cycle.

What are the key features I need to look for when choosing washers and dryers?

Firstly, to run a professional hotel laundry service,  you must have laundry equipment that’s purpose-built for business use. While this might sound expensive at first glance, the benefit here is that such machines are often available as part of all-inclusive supply and service packages which include emergency breakdown cover (yet another thing that’s good to have in your control if something happens – linen hire companies may have long SLAs on any repairs which could leave you without towels or sheets).

We used to use contract towels but it was decided to have our own on-premise laundry so we could give the guests a better service, with a daily towel change if needed. The towels smell fresh and stay fluffy, and OTEX ozone laundry means we can disinfect lots of them at a lower water temperature and make a saving on utilities too. Read more…>>

Penny Thomassen, Head Housekeeper at Bembridge Coast Hotel (Bourne Leisure)

Commercial washers and dryers are by their nature larger in capacity – and let you do bigger loads, less often. That’s less time spent on laundry itself, and less money spent on energy bills.

Choosing the right hotel laundry equipment

The washers, dryers and finishing equipment a hotel laundry needs varies depending on each individual requirements. However, a general guide would be:

10-50 bedrooms…

Combination to consider: JLA 22 SMART washer, SD35 SMART dryer and a 1.5m rotary ironer

100+ bedrooms…

Combination to consider: JLA50 SMART washer, SD80 SMART dryer and a 1.9m dryer ironer

Contact us with your hotel laundry planning questions >>

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there are more than a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK. Many of these cases are the result of eating food prepared in a professional kitchen, while Salmonella causes the most hospital admissions – about 2,500 per year.

What is the Food Safety Act?

The Government’s Food Safety Act of 1990 makes it an offence to “render food injurious to health” or to sell food that doesn’t meet safety requirements – with severe penalties – including unlimited fines, or even imprisonment for failure to comply.

“The Food Safety Act 1990 (as amended) provides the framework for all food legislation in the England, Wales and Scotland. The main responsibilities for all food businesses under the Act are to ensure that food businesses serve or sell is of the nature, substance or quality which consumers would expect.”

The Food Standards Authority

Why is the Food Safety Act important?

Working in line with the Food Safety Act can dramatically reduce your exposure to risk; helping to protect your customers, and your hard earned reputation.

Food Safety Act 1990

Focus on food poisoning

Of course, the best way to stop your customers getting food poisoning is to maintain the highest standards of personal and food hygiene. To help do this, the FSA has prepared a helpful food safety management pack.

Where hygiene standards are not met, the court may forbid you from using certain processes, premises, or equipment. You could also be banned from managing a food business and face fines or even prison.

It goes without saying that correctly cleaning and cooking food is essential to meeting food safety regulations. However, it is just as important to adopt the upmost care when it comes to chilling and avoiding cross-contamination. And to do this, you need commercial catering appliances that are up to the job, and regularly maintained.

Chilling food in line with the Food Safety Act

All commercial kitchen operators know the importance of keeping food at the correct temperature to prevent harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. However, to help avoid food poisoning it’s also essential that cooked food is cooled as quickly as possible. Indeed, if you’re chilling cooked food, you’re required by law to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Act.

This means that, whenever cooked food is chilled or frozen, it must be in the ‘Danger Zone’ – where bacteria multiply fastest – for as little time as possible.

Current food safety guidelines recommend that cooked food should pass through the Danger Zone in no more than 90 minutes, and, subsequently be stored at 8°C or less. A temperature of below 5°C will further reduce the likelihood of bacteria multiplying and should be achieved wherever possible.

However, standard refrigeration equipment is incapable of extracting heat fast enough to comply with these guidelines. As such, specially designed rapid chilling apparatus such as a blast chiller is required by law to ensure the necessary rapid reduction of temperature is achieved.

Designed to give caterers complete control over the chilling process, JLA’s blast chillers deliver performance that exceeds food safety legislation, is HACCP compliant, and meets guidelines for cook-chill catering systems worldwide.

Preventing cross-contamination

The food and catering industry in the UK has changed dramatically over the last few years in the face of changing dietary requirements, allergies, and food intolerances. Today’s commercial kitchens MUST be structured in a way to avoid cross contamination.

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are transferred from one food (usually raw) to another. Catering equipment such as fryers carry a particularly high risk of allergen cross contamination. It only takes a minuscule amount of a food substance to cause an allergic reaction, so in many cases, separate or twin tank fryers are recommended.

Another way to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading is to store raw and ready-to-eat food in separate fridges, freezers, and display units.

As well as the right catering equipment, it’s vital that commercial kitchens use specially designed catering detergents. Not only do these result in a consistently high quality of finish – but they also maximise the performance of your dishwasher and prevent cross-contamination.

Maintenance = compliance

Effective maintenance is essential to meeting the requirements of the Food Safety Act, and to ensure your cooking, hot holding, and chilling equipment is working correctly and doesn’t let you down.

It’s a false economy to wait until something goes wrong, with the expense of calling out an engineer every time you have a problem (not to mention the risk to your reputation), far exceeding the costs of regular planned maintenance. 

When it comes to the health of your customers, ignorance is not an adequate defence. And to ensure a conviction, the prosecution only has to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that food safety requirements have not been met.

Are you considering upgrading your catering equipment to help improve hygiene standards and protect your valuable reputation? Get in touch to find out how JLA can help.

The risk of infections spread by contamination is an ever-present concern for many businesses. And for a number of hospitals – and those looking to meet laundry guidelines for care homes – one of the major tools in the battle against contamination has proven to be an ozone washer system – which uses a natural gas to kill 99.999% of infections.

What is an ozone laundry system?

An ozone laundry disinfection system uses safe O3 gas at low temperatures instead of high heat or chemicals that can damage garments and linen fabrics. Harnessing the natural power of ozone, this innovative way of washing kills bacteria, moulds, yeasts and viruses and eliminates the risk of cross-infection in laundry.

The process provides disinfection verification for audit trails and inspection documentation, with simple controls to ensure effective use. O3 itself leaves a pleasant fragrance, and leaves towels fluffier that traditional methods will.

How does ozone laundry work?

By converting ‘free’ air from around the washing machine into 90% oxygen, splitting this into ozone and injecting particles into a wash, the system removes the need for water heating and safely lifts stains out of fibres while the natural gas eliminates the smallest trace of harmful bacteria. Natural disinfection also eliminates wastage on the balance sheet, cutting detergent, energy and water costs by up to 35%.

Watch our ‘How OTEX works’ guide here.

Why choose an ozone washer system?

For healthcare organisations, OTEX’s built-in validation provides the means to prove that their methods meet ‘Essential Quality Requirements’ as well as ‘Best Practices’, as set out by the new Choice Framework for local Policy and Procedure (HTM 01-04).

9 ozone laundry benefits for your business >>

With the ability to print ‘disinfection verification receipts’, OTEX users can comply with the guideline that “linen should be processed using a disinfection cycle complying with the specified level of reduction in bacteriological contamination and this process will be required to be validated”. Training is provided by JLA and advice is also given on how to categorise contaminated or soiled linen, as well as the handling of laundered items.

Easy installation

OTEX machines from JLA are installed on-site, with a Total Care package that provides 7-day breakdown cover for your commercial laundry equipment and a 24/7 helpline, ensuring businesses have total peace of mind that their laundry system is both effective and reliable.

Find out more about OTEX ozone disinfection >>

Case study: York Hospital

York Hospital, the flagship hospital of York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, installed the OTEX ozone disinfection system for the disinfection of their microfibre cloths and mops as part of its plan to bring Domestic Services back in-house.

Wendy Dale, domestic services manager at York Hospital, says:

“Microfibre mops and cloths basically act like magnets for bacteria. What impressed us most about JLA was their OTEX innovation. The system’s ability to thoroughly disinfect and also reduce costs was a major factor when it came to choosing them as our supplier.”

“The OTEX washer system uses mostly cold water and faster wash cycles, dramatically reducing utility and detergent costs, and cutting labour bills by saving time.”

“Our laundry is in operation round the clock seven days a week, processing over 4,000 microfibre mops and cloths a day,” continues Wendy, “so being able to save energy was vital. JLA actually metered the electricity supply to the laundry and established that OTEX was saving us 82% compared to a conventional laundry. An added bonus is that we are using half as much detergent because of the way the system processes laundry.”

The disinfection system is so successful that York Hospital bosses recently announced the passing of a year without a patient acquiring the MRSA superbug infection.

Nothing quite says ‘professional’ like crisp, clean white sheet or fluffy white towels. However, a number of common washing mistakes (many of which you may not even realise you’re doing) can leave your once bright whites a washed out shade of grey or yellow over time.

Whether you run a laundry room in a care home, school, hospital, spa, restaurant or another busy business, here are four simple steps for keeping whites white – and they’ll work at home too.

How to wash whites

By following these simple tips for your white laundry, it’s easy to ensure that your sheets, towels and other items stay as bright as the day they were bought. Here’s how to keep your whites white in a busy business laundry…

Separate colours and fabrics

While it may be common practice to not mix black and white laundry garments in the wash, it’s easy to overlook the mixing of other, lighter shades (such as blue, green and pink) with white items. This won’t necessarily result in colour transfer or ‘bleeding’, but white fabric is prone to picking up fluff from darker items, which will make it appear dingy and unclean.

If you’re in a hard water area, this can discolour your whites.

Ask a laundry expert about water softeners.

As well as colours, you should also take into account fabric types when washing whites for residents, uniforms for staff, chef whites or things like table cloths and towels. This is due to the fact that some delicate materials will require laundering at a lower temperature, or even by hand.

To make separating your fabrics as simple as possible, refer to the following guidelines: 

  • Acetates and acrylics can be washed together
  • Cotton, linen and similar materials can be washed together
  • Wool should be washed separately
  • Delicates should be washed separately (often by hand)
  • Do not skip rinses as detergent carryover will discolour items when drying

Avoid overloading your washer

Packing laundry into your machine might seem like a good way to get more done in less time, but it could lead to poor results on your load of whites (and re-washing which uses up more water and electricity and will bump up your bills). Always leave enough space between items for the water to flush away the grease, grime and dirt to get the brightest whites.

Wash at the highest temperature possible

As a general rule, white garments should be washed at a temperature of at least 65 degrees. This is typically the best option for white clothing or sheets as higher temperatures are the most effective at removing ingrained dirt (as well as sanitising and killing germs).

However, as we already know, wool and similarly delicate fabrics will shrink or obtain further damage if laundered at too high a temperature. To ensure such items retain their original brightness without their quality being compromised, you could add a whitener or brightener to the wash (please ask our experts for advice on this).

While the above guidance is a good ‘rule of thumb’ guide for keeping whites white, it’s also possible to get the same results or better at low temperatures – using ozone laundry. This natural (disinfection) method also opens up fibres more than a traditional thermal wash, which can help you get soft, fluffy towels that impress your guests.

Discover OTEX Ozone Laundry system and get bright whites at low temperatures >>

Use the correct detergent

White laundry, black and brightly coloured garments all have different requirements to keep them looking their very best. To boost the brightness of your items and prevent dingy whites, opt for a detergent with an added bleaching agent. Be warned though…bleach shouldn’t be used to get the same effect on bright colours as this will fade them.

Once you’ve found the most suitable detergent, it’s important to use the right amount during each wash cycle. While items may not be badly stained (leading many to believe that they only need to use half of the recommended amount of detergent) this can have a detrimental effect on your washing equipment. Find out how detergent auto-dosing could help.

By not using the recommended amount of laundry detergent, grease and limescale will build up in the washer, resulting in garments picking up more dirt during the wash. Use too much, and your items will come out of the wash with sticky residue that attracts dirt quicker than a fully rinsed item.

Prevent and pre-treat stains

We’ve all had those moments – you’re wearing a new white outfit, when suddenly you’ve spilt something down the front of it. The same can happen with new bedding, uniforms, towels and other expensive-to-replace items. Luckily, it’s easy to salvage your items with these simple tips…

  • Check each item before you put it in the laundry. If a stain is visible, it should be treated before it goes into the washing machine.
  • ​Don’t let the stain dry – soak and treat it as soon as possible, ideally within 15 minutes. As soon as it becomes ingrained in the fabric, it will be all the harder to remove.
  • Immediately pre-treat the garment with a stain removal product (ideally oxygen based or a product from a professional detergents range rather than vinegar or lemon juice as some might suggest) formulated specifically for the stain type (such as sauce or ink). Alternatively, you can use a small amount of detergent.
  • Use chlorine bleach as a pre-treatment only as a last resort– it has the potential to damage delicate garments, so always check the inner care label before applying to the fabric.
  • After pre-treating, try a cold wash (or look into ozone laundry) – in some instances, hot water can seal in stains, making them harder to remove in the long-run.
  • If your stain isn’t removed after laundering, don’t let the garment dry. Pre-treat and wash for a second time (or until the stain is considerably faded or removed).
  • To prevent yellowing from everyday wear, simply add half a cup of baking soda to each wash. ​Bonus tip: use a colour remover – they can be very effective on whites too.

Remember: if in doubt, check the clothes washing labels before washing or treating garments.

Iron carefully

Always check the recommended ironing settings for the clothes or fabrics you’re washing. Too hot and you could scorch the fabric, too cool and you won’t remove all the wrinkles, which can leave your whites looking dull due to ‘crease shadows’.

Our friendly commercial laundry team has all the advice you need when it comes to tips on how to wash whites to keep them white, so please get in touch if you’re having issues.