What is Soiled Linen?

A business’s reputation is made on how it handles the myriad details that are a part of any service industry.

Soiled linen is any fabric that is dirtied from food, fluids from the human body, including blood, saliva and vomit, or from other items. To handle soiled linen, treat it the same way you may treat any other biohazard – with care to reduce the risk of injury or cross-contamination. First, remove any soiled linen. Ensure that your hands are covered by reusable rubber gloves to minimize contact with any fluids or other materials. Place linens in a designated, leakproof container.

How to Clean Soiled and Dirty Linen

Equipment Needed to Clean Soiled and Dirty Linen ⦁ Washer ⦁ Dryer ⦁ Rubber Gloves ⦁ Disinfectant/whitening agent – baking soda, bleach or vinegar

Step 1: Remove any solids

Life’s detritus can get stuck on or tucked into linens. Customers hide food in their napkins. Anyone can suddenly feel unwell. Children leave behind pacifiers. Really anything can be tucked inside a napkin, tablecloth or sheet. Removing these items can be an important first step to clean dirty linen, not to mention preserving the life of wash machines.

Step 2: Wash and disinfect

Once you have removed any solids, begin to make dirty linens clean. Time and temperature are important considerations but the water quality (ph or water hardness) are also important to keep in mind. In general, use hot water (158–176°F or 70–80°C) for at least 10 minutes and an approved laundry detergent. Disinfectant is not always needed if soiled linen is not heavily soiled.

To disinfect, bleach is best – its active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite, is effective in killing bacteria, fungus and viruses – but gentler cleaners are available.

Tips and Tricks for Washing Linens ⦁ Never wash linens with other items such as kitchen towels or clothes. ⦁ Adding ¼ cup of white vinegar to the load can help eliminate odors, remove dirt. ⦁ Wash in hot water if heavily stained as described above.

Step 3: Drying Linens

Linens should be dried completely. A priority when washing and drying soiled linens is to keep their quality intact. Drying soiled linens on high heat may cause some shrink but is another step to help remove unwanted contamination.

Alsco Linen Services

A large part of Alsco is providing the restaurant and medical industries with top-quality linens. Whether it’s through our linen or laundry services, you can count on us to deliver hygienically clean, quality linens every time.

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