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Analyse How Linen is Misused in Hotels and Suggest Measures to Control the Same

Analyse How Linen is Misused in Hotels and Suggest Measures to Control the Same

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Published by Nishant Kumar

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Published by: Nishant Kumar on Sep 16, 2012
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It is ethically and hygienically bad. The importance of housekeeping department has also increased as a result of this growth in the industry. One of the major areas of concern from the housekeeping point of view has been the misuse of linen by the staff. It is one of the things which anyone would be hygiene conscious of. be it the bedroom linen like bed-sheets and pillow slips or the bathroom linen like bath-towel. which has been laundered and is free of any stains or odour. The linen used by a hotel speaks a lot about the standard of the hotel. 2 . The misuse of linen leads to a lot of financial loss as the linen which has been used in the wrong way has to be discarded before its life span is over thus incurring additional cost. The aim of the housekeeping department should be to provide fresh linen to the guest. face cloth and hand towel. be it in terms of number of rooms or the luxuries being provided in the room. Hotels across the globe have tried and tested different methods to control and stop the abuse of linen and have been successful to a certain degree. The growth has been in all spheres of hospitality.INTRODUCTION Hospitality industry has grown in leaps and bounces across the globe in the recent decades. Housekeeping plays a strategically important role in the upkeep of the hotel and in ensuring that the guest has a comfortable stay in the room. the guest pays for the services he/she takes and expects a high standard of hygiene in the linen he/she uses.

pool bed cover. face cloth. pillow slips. bath rugs. tea napkins. Face cloth. Kitchen dusters Table napkins. cocktail napkins.Analyse how linen is misused in hotels and suggest measures to control the same. bath mats. linen All departments for special arrangement. waiter’s cloth. When an investment is made it is done keeping in mind the life span of the linen in normal usage so when linen gets misused and is discarded before the actual discard time it burdens the financial planning of the hotel. banquet frills. tray mats. table cloth. tea cosy and cover. The cost of processing each piece of linen and maintaining adequate par stock so that continues supply is provided results in high cost for the hotel. salver mats. hand towel. throw-over. Before I analyse the misuse of linen it is important to know the areas in which linen is used as these are the areas where misuse takes Linen and linen usage areas AREAS Rooms LINEN USED Bed sheets. duvet cover. COMMON MISUSE OF LINEN 3 . dusters Uniforms The above table gives us an idea that linen is used almost all the departments of the hotel thus the cost incurred in providing linen to all is also very high. housekeeping Public area Kitchen Food beverage outlets dusters. coasters. curtains. runners. Bath towel. pillow Bath room protector. cold towels. pool towel. hand towel. moult on. Every department in the hotel requires linen in one form or the other. foot mat.

LINEN CYCLE LINEN CYCLE 4 . The misuse of linen can happen in any stage of the linen cycle.The most common problem all the hotels in the world face is related to the misuse of linen by the staff and guest. This abuse of linen leads to the diminution in quality and standard of linen and thus early discard of the item.

Transporting clean linen. causing linen damage. Sorting soiled linen. Sorting area/rooms cause physical damage and make additional stains on the linen. Sorting soiled linen Heavily soiled linen is allowed to sit too long before washing. Sorting/folding clean linen. Washing soiled linen. Employees don’t separate linen by type. Using clean linen. During sorting the heavily soiled item might get mixed with lightly soiled linen and would not get the attention certain stains require. Washing soiled linen 5 . Drying clean linen. This not only damages that particular piece of linen but also other pieces which are in contact with the linen. Damp linen lies in the soiled linen hampers along with other linen and thus causes mildew. Items are dropped on the floor or walked on due to laundry trolleys being overstuffed. The use of large bed sheets or duvet covers to transfer soiled linen causes the damage of these items. The hampers in which soiled linen is transported would be dirty as the hampers are hardly washed. The linen gets rust stains from the trolleys. Soiled linen are dropped on dirty and dusty floors causing it to get more soiled. Transporting soiled linen Laundry trolleys and linen chutes are badly maintained. Heavily soiled items might require immediate attention as fresh stains can be removed when they are fresh but because of neglecting them these get mixed up with other linen. Transporting soiled linen.Collecting soiled linen. Collecting soiled linen Heavily soiled linen is mixed with lightly soiled linen.

Soiled linen hampers are used for transporting fresh linen which is hygienically bad as well as damages fresh linen.Coloured linen is mistakenly washed in a whites/bleach formula. Lack of steam or additional moisture causes linen to get discoloured easily. The use of strong chemicals also causes the linen to discolour or become weak and thus tear easily. The linen items from which the stains have not been removed completely are put back onto circulation. The stains which could not be removed need special treatment but are put into circulation causing the stains to become permanent. causing snags or tears. Sorting and folding clean linen A folder is damaged. If the belt of the calendar machine is damaged that would cause discoloration of linen. This causes weakening of fabric which leads to its discard. Linen which has not dried completely is stacked resulting in mildew and causing linen to smell bad. The rest time for each article is not given thus causing weakening of piles. Cooling cycle is not run in dryers to save time. The malfunctioning of different equipments causes a lot of damage to the fabric. The main reason for the abuse of linen is easy access of that item compared to others. Using clean linen Maximum misuse of linen takes place during usage either by the guest or staff. Delicate linen is mistakenly washed in a formula with a high-speed extract. 6 . Transporting clean linen Laundry trolleys are badly maintained causing linen damage. causing dryer fires. Clean linen is placed on dirty racks causing them to get dirty again. Oily soils aren’t removed entirely. The use of short washing cycles to save time leads to gradual damage of linen. All soiled linen are processed together without checking the type of stain thus making certain stains permanent and unremovable. Given below are the different ways in which linen gets misused by the guest and the staff and the main reason for the misuse. Drying clean linen Delicate linen is mistakenly dried at very high temperatures.

Another reason for using linen by staff is the good absorbency of linen compared to dusters. Easy access of the linen to the staff makes it easier for the staff to use linen. Lack of proper dusters. Lack of knowledge about the into the hamper. Laziness of the staff to carry many towel. cleaning wash basin with face dusters with them. Easy access of fresh linen in the room for the guest.COMMON METHODS OF MISUSE OF LINEN MISUSE REASON Cleaning shoes using face cloth. Laziness of the staff to carry many the staffs uses linen instead of dusters. Non availability of shoe mitt in the room for guest. processes and procedures is also another reason. bath mat or hand towel. To finish the work as quick as possible Napkins used for wiping cutlery Lack of dusters and waiters cloth forces F&B staffs to use and glassware. Cleaning mirrors/glasses and Non availability of cotton dusters and the easy access of pillow slips. of information about the availability of shoe shine service in the hotel. ownership and initiative among the staff leads to use of napkins in guest areas. Lack of supervision and authority also encourages them to use the linen for other purposes. Lack hand towel or any other linen. dusters with them. To finish the work as quick as possible the staffs uses linen instead of dusters. Cleaning shower area with bath Lack of proper dusters. napkins for wiping cutlery and glassware. Mopping cloth. Lack of any equipment which cleans shower area as quick as linen is one of the main reasons for the staff using linen. 7 . doing dusting using pillow slips. Lack of tables and wiping flatware. Food particles collected along with Lack of training and absence of foresight among the staffs table cloths/ throw over and put leads them to do so. Napkins being used for cleaning Non availability of dusters and waiters cloth. using hand towel.

Uniforms being used for quick Lack of belongingness and ownership among the staffs as polishing of shoes or for cleaning well as inefficient training leads to such neglecting things. situations by staffs. • Lack of supervision and authority in operations makes staff lethargic and take short cuts. The above reasons show that the main reasons behind the misuse of linen in hotels are: • Improper training leading to unawareness among staffs about the processes and procedures. • • Easy access of linen articles compared to dusters.F&B linen being used in kitchen Non availability of kitchen dusters combined with the for cleaning. Non availability of dusters or proper equipments to carry out operations without obstacles. • Lack of knowledge about the availability of services and resources. lack of knowledge about the processes and procedures is also another reason. Foot mats used for soaking extra Absence of proper equipment for removing water and water. MEASURES TO CONTROL MISUSE OF LINEN 8 . easy availability of foot mats leads to this misuse.

Training would make sure that the staff knows the implications of following a shorter cycle in washing and the affect of using concentrated chemicals on the fabric. trolleys chutes should be well maintained and adequate to accommodate the entire operations. Inspection The authorities should take constant rounds of operational areas during operations so that the staffs do not resolve into short cuts and use linen for cleaning. All resources like linen hampers. This will also make the staff conscious as they know that the superior is around and their actions are under watch. Charts having price of each item can be put up in a 9 . They can also be educated about the affects of early discard of linen and its implications on the company and in turn on their compensations and incentives. This will also make sure that the staff is aware about the processes and procedures in a linen cycle and would understand the hard work which goes into processing of a linen. The housekeeping department should make sure that enough dusters are made available to all the departments. the analysis of the reasons behind the misuse of linen leads to the following steps to be taken to curtail its misuse: Training Training of staffs is very important step to make sure that the linen is not misused. It should be made sure that the rooms have shoe mitts and the guests are aware about the availability of shoe shine service. An educated and well informed staff will never misuse linen. Cost factor It is a nice idea to inform the staff about the price of each linen item. Training will inculcate feeling of belongingness and ownership among the employees for the property. If the employees are not provided with proper dusters and equipments then they can’t be expected to perform tasks efficiently.The measures to control the misuse of linen in hotels have to come from the ways in which it is misused. Maintaining proper inventory of resources Proper inventory of resources is very important. Inspections will also help in identifying the areas in which maximum misuse happens and can find solutions to stop it.

The first time an employee is caught misusing a linen item just give a verbal warning. The linen in-charge or housekeeper or the concerned department head should attend the briefings and inspect the uniforms of the staffs and make sure that the uniforms are well maintained. During off season the employees can be allowed to stay in the rooms and experience the facilities. 10 . This would stop the person as well as others from misusing linen. Cross training Employees in other departments should be exposed to the work in laundry so that they understand the effort which goes into the processing of linen. This will make the employees themselves responsible for the proper use of linen. The next time he/she is caught doing the same mistake issue a written memo. The members can be changed every month. If possible then the article itself can be put on display with the price tag on it. This would go a long way in providing high quality service to the guest and in maintaining high standards. The misuse of linen takes place in every hotel as housekeepers our aim should be to reduce and stop the misuse. Linen committee The hotels can form linen committee comprising of the members from different departments which would monitor the use of linen in different areas and stop anyone from misusing it. Punishments This should be the last thing one should be doing to the employees. The misuse of linen can be stopped or reduced by providing proper training to the staff and inculcating a sense of belongingness and ownership for the property. From the next time charge the cost of the linen item to the staff. When they experience for themselves then they would understand how bad/good it feels when someone uses the linen. They would know what all has been done with the linen. The most important thing is to implement procedures and enforce the rules rather than keeping them to the books.prominent place where everyone can see it. This would stop from its misuse the next time they are going to misuse the linen.

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