Regular readers of our blog know we mention quality quite often. We do so because we believe the single most important thing businesses can do to make sure they have the highest-quality linens and uniforms is to rent them from a reputable provider like Alsco.
The question is this: How do we rate quality? Industry standards for quality are high because we know quality ultimately makes a difference in everything from customer satisfaction to maintaining costs. As such, the most reputable companies in our industry look for specific things when rating the quality of linens and uniforms.
Regardless of what they are used for, all fabrics are created by weaving threads together. As such, weave is perhaps the most critical element in rating quality. We look for fabrics with an exceptionally tight weave that is consistent across the entire surface. A tight weave is an indication of strength. Similarly, a loose weave suggests weakness.
Along those same lines, we also look for consistency in both horizontal and vertical weave patterns. Consistency is another sign of strength — it shows the manufacturer’s intent to produce a high-quality fabric woven with care.
If weave is the most important factor in rating quality, a close second is thread count, which is a measurement of the number of threads per inch of fabric. The higher that number, the higher the quality. Fabrics with the highest thread counts tend to be the most durable.
Thread count really is a matter of physics. It is much like density. Dense materials tend to be stronger because they more easily absorb energy. The same is true with fabrics. A fabric with a high thread count is similar to a dense material — it can withstand more punishment because it is better able to absorb energy.
Dye Choices and Color
The look of finished fabric is only as good as the dye used to color it. As such, another way we rate quality is by looking at dye choices and color consistency. Both play roles in how long a particular linen or uniform can remain in service.
We obviously prefer colorfast dyes. The highest-quality dyes produce an even tone across an entire bolt of fabric. In the case of linen napkins, for example, we expect all the napkins to be made from the same bolt to demonstrate consistent color. We do not want half the napkins to be one shade and the other half a different shade.
We also look at the craftsmanship of finished products. For linens like tablecloths and napkins, we want to see geometrically even pieces with properly finished edges. In terms of uniforms, we expect to see precise cuts and strong seams. We look at how buttons and zippers are attached. We want to see uniforms that have been put together with attention to detail.
Yes, we do look at price. In our industry, price speaks volumes about quality. High-quality fabrics cost more money to produce. As such, finished products cost more as well. We do not go out of our way to spend a lot on linens and uniforms, but we do not skimp, either. We know that quality commands higher prices.
Now you know a bit more about how we rate quality. If you are looking for high-quality uniforms and linens for your business, you have come to the right place. Why not let us set up a linen and uniform program for your company?