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Activities of the Linen Room

The linen room is the centre stage for the supporting role that the Housekeeping Department plays in the hotel. Most linen rooms are centralized and act as a storage point and distribution centre for clean linen. Usually, a par stock is maintained on each floor or at each unit to suffice immediate requirements. Although the term ‘linen’ originally referred to those fabrics made from the fibre derived from the stem of the flax plant, linen in this context means all launderable articles and often includes pillows, mattresses, shower curtains, fabric lampshades and upholstery that are also handled by the linen room.

Collection and Transportation

This is facilitated by chutes, canvas bags, trolleys, collapsible wire carts, skips. It is an essential activity when laundry services are on contract. Guest laundry may also be collected, and billing and marking are undertaken, should the laundry be off-premises.

Sorting and Counting

Sorting is carried out primarily to make counting possible as well as for streamlining laundry procedures. Linen is counted in order to make a record so that issuing to departments may be accurate and it is possible to tally the exchange of linen between the linen room and the laundry and a basis for billing exists.

Packaging

Linen is packed in canvas bags to prevent damage to the linen articles. Those articles that need mending and those, which are heavily stained, may be segregated and put into separate canvas bags. The use of colour coding in this respect is useful.

Despatch

This obviously refers to the off-premises laundry. The time for despatch is usually anytime between 1300 hrs and 1600 hrs so that servicing of rooms is over by then and guest laundry will have been collected. It is possible that soiled linen from the F&B outlets will also have been collected.

Deliveries

Clean linen is delivered in the morning hours and evening deliveries are usually for guest laundry.

Checking and Inspection

Checking the quantity to ensure that the amount of laundered linen tallies with the number of soiled linen articles sent. Inspection of the quality of wash i.e. stains and dirt removed, no damages, no loss of shape or colour, no blue streaks or patches from the optical brightener, properly ironed. It is also possible that articles belonging to other hotels have been inadvertently delivered, so checking for this is essential.

Storage

The amount of space to be allocated for storage depends on the size and type of operation and the linen coverage

When designing the storage space for linen it is necessary to consider the type of shelves required, the method of storage as well as hygiene and safety factors.

Distribution to units

This is generally done on a clean-for-dirty basis. Some hotels use other systems of exchange such as topping up or a fixed issue based on expected occupancy. Still, others may use a package system. Linen may be colour-coded for convenience. Whatever the system, it must be practical and serve the purpose of control. In some hotels, specific timings are fixed for the issue of linen.

Monogramming

The name or logo of the establishment is put onto the linen item for identification. The supplier may do this or the establishment, by embroidering, printing or embossing either directly on the fabric or on labels that are attached to the linen article. In special cases, the logo/name may actually be incorporated in the weave by the manufacturer. To judge the life span of an article, the date that it was first put into circulation may also be indicated on the article.

Repairs and Alteration

Damaged items are mended by stitching or darning. Alteration of uniforms is usual and condemned linen is converted into useful items called cut-downs/ makeovers. It is important to maintain a record of the condemned articles and the makeovers so that they can be adjusted in the stock records.

Stock-taking and Records

Many records are entered on a day-to-day basis for the exchange of linen between the linen room, laundry and floors/departments. Purchase records are essential and records of condemned linen and makeovers are usually maintained. Periodical stocktaking is carried out and the annual stocktaking is recorded in the stock register, thereby providing the value of linen as an asset.

Security

It is important that access to the linen room is restricted so as to prevent misuse and pilferage. Also, linen is prone to fire breakouts so precautionary measures are taken to prevent this and the linen room is strictly a non-smoking area.

Hours of Operations

This varies from one organization to another but is usually from 7 AM to 7 PM or at least for 10 hours in the day. When locked, the keys are kept with the Security or the Resident Manager or the Housekeeper. In the event of an urgent requirement of linen during the night, the Duty Manager or the Night Houseperson may remove items from an emergency store or from the main Linen Room and leave a note with details of what has been removed.

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