The Case for Keeping Your Commercial Laundry Clean
Would you find it somewhat ironic to walk into a commercial laundry facility only to discover that the place isn’t clean? It would be like visiting your local fire station and finding the crew sitting around smoking cigars. And yet, there are those laundry facilities that struggle with cleanliness. Some are hotel or hospital facilities while others are commercial linen providers.
A commercial linen operation thrives on cleanliness, at least where its uniforms, table linens, and bed linens are concerned. That same focus on cleanliness ought to be pervasive throughout the plant. Below are three reasons explaining why. Needless to say that a commercial laundry facility that is not kept clean may not be doing right by its customers.
1. Cleanliness of Finished Products
Dirty linens coming into the laundry facility are soiled and contaminated with all kinds of nasty things. The linen is sorted and put through heavy-duty washing machines before being sent through dryers and irons. Then it is folded, packaged, and sent back out the door.
The cleanliness and hygiene of every finished piece is of paramount importance here. Just ask Alsco, a Utah linen and uniform company that originated commercial linen rentals back in the late 1800s. They recently worked with other industry representatives and NSF International to develop a new standardization and certification program for hospitality and food service linens.
Alsco explains that a dirty laundry facility risks spreading the contamination from soiled laundry into finishing areas, thus increasing the risk of re-contaminating freshly cleaned linens before they ever go out for delivery. Laundry slings, bins, and hand tools can all be contaminated. They can also be transferred around the plant where they can contaminate other areas.
2. Random Facility Inspections
If the cleanliness of finished products is not enough to motivate plant managers to pursue cleanliness, there is always the reality of random facility inspections. For example, health inspectors do not have to announce ahead of time when they are paying a visit. Neither do OSHA inspectors. They can, and do, show up unannounced. An unclean plant is sure to get a lower grade, which is something no general manager wants to be saddled with.
Some laundry facilities are also open to customer inspections during regular business hours. Though it is rare for customers to show up for an inspection, they sometimes do as a means of protecting themselves. It’s all about auditing the service provider to make sure they are living up to the expectation of delivering hygienically clean uniforms and linens.
3. Workplace Safety Concerns
A third reason for focusing on cleanliness in a laundry environment is one of maximizing workplace safety. Let’s face it, allowing the plant floor to be cluttered with trash, equipment, and full bins of soiled laundry makes working safely more difficult. Remember, your average laundry plant is full of potentially dangerous machinery. You do not need a cluttered and unsafe environment to make things worse.
An unclean plant is also a hazard for pathogens and bacteria. Try as they might, employees in an unclean environment can pick up a lot of bugs they then carry home with them. Sickness can run through an entire family just because one worker was exposed to an unclean environment.
It seems kind of odd that a business so focused on cleanliness would not consider the state of its own facilities. But it does happen. Laundry management needs to put as much effort into facility cleanliness as they do the condition of the finished products they send out the door. After all, the one definitely impacts the other.