In the range of small to large hotels, the guest room linen, guest bathroom linen, staff uniforms, all continue to accumulate in a large amount. It is essential for the housekeeping staff to launder the linen and make it readily available at all times so that the staff can receive their well-laundered uniforms before work, and the guests are provided with good quality linen.
It is definitely required to purchase good quality linen; but the life, appearance, and the quality of linen largely depends upon the treatment it receives at the laundry by the laundry staff. Small hotels can contract with the commercial laundry services located outside the hotel. Large hotel establishments prefer to install their private on-premises laundry. Let us understand on-premises laundry operated by housekeeping −
Advantages of On-Premise Laundry
The following advantages are seen if housekeeping staff works at on-premise laundry −
On-premise laundry provides more use in comparatively less investment.
The time, energy, and effort to take the clothes outside at a commercial laundry service is eliminated hence the staff can work better.
The housekeeping staff can easily access the On-premise laundry.
Pilferage is reduced.
The staff can have complete control over the wash cycles, and wear and tear of the linen. Thus, life of the fabric can be prolonged by using specific washing for the linen depending upon degree of their soiling.
Here are few major pieces of equipment and machines found in a Laundry
It consists of a large perforated drum of stainless steel that holds the laundry encased in an external stationary shell that holds the wash water of varying capacities ranging from 7-350 kg. Soiled linens are fed into the drum and suitable temperatures, detergent and water are introduced at appropriate times. The inner drum washes and rinses by rotating backwards & forwards agitating the water & articles inside. The alternating of the rotating direction ensures prevents the roping of the items in the drum. To extract water, the drum spins at a high speed using the principle of centrifugal force. The spin will whirl out 70-80% water which is suitable for ironing. Machines may be programmed to give a specific number of different wash, rinse or extract cycles. Water temperature is generally kept between 30-95 ̊C.
The compact mass of hydro-extracted clothes is referred to as ‘cheese’ and the water level is referred to as ‘dip’ Washing machines may be top or Front-loaded, semi-automated or fully automated. Some machines have automatic sensors to monitor, overloading, wash or excess detergent and give alerts. These sensors are known as Fuzzy Logic.
Laundromats are self-service laundries where washer-extractors and tumble dryers are available for the individual user, operated with the help of a coin, card or token. They may be found in public areas like hostels, apartment blocks etc.
Hydro extractors/ Spin Dryer Separate spin dryers of a small capacity may also be installed. They, too, have a dual drum like the washer-extractors but are designed solely for hydro-extraction at high speed using centrifugal force.
Tumble Dryer Dryers are machines that dry laundry by tumbling it slowly in a perforated drum exposed to hot air ranging from 40oC to 60oC in low capacity dryers and going right up to 85°C in an industrial dryer. There are programmes for delicate articles with low or no heat. For speedy drying and less wrinkling, the volume of the dryer should be 25% more than the washer-extractor. Most dryers have a microprocessor computer control system. Although suitable drying times are usually recommended for specific fabrics, some dryers have sensors hooked onto their microprocessors so that they can gauge the moisture in the load and cut the dryer off automatically the moment the laundry is dry. This is a major preventive factor against spontaneous combustion, as hot air blowing on ‘bone dry’ fabrics can easily set it on fire. Furthermore, the dryer may have a post-drying cooldown cycle that also reduces the fire hazard as well as prevents the formation of wrinkles in no-iron fabrics. The process creates a great deal of wear and tear on the fabric as particles of lint come off in the drying process. A lint screen traps the lint particles and must be cleaned regularly. Lint build-up restricts airflow and reduces the rate of moisture removal, thereby increasing energy consumption and costs. The length of the cycle is dependent on the absorbency of the fabric, the residue of moisture and whether the fabric is to be completely dried (approximately 40 mins.)
Calendar/Roller Press/Flatwork Ironers It consists of pairs of heated, padded rollers which rotate and iron flat items of linen such as tablecloths, bed sheets etc. These are fed in from one end, pass between the rollers and are retrieved ironed from the other end. Only large and flat linen items like bed sheets, napkins, tablecloths can be pressed and ironed. It is not suitable for napped items such as blankets
Tunnel Washers/Batch Washers It has many separate compartments to process the linens. Linen is loaded from one end and removed from another end. These machines take linens in large capacities example 500- 2000KG hence installed only in commercial laundries Machines are fully automatic They are time saving and efficient.
Folding Machines Machines may be semi-automated which do not exactly fold the linens but holds the ends of the linen from the other end. Fully automated machines may fold the linens automatically immediately after being calendered.
Spotting Unit This is a machine which aids in cleaning and removing stains from fabrics. It consists of a spotting board, spotting gun, vacuum and a steam nozzle. The fabric is laid onto the board, spotted with a gun, steam is applied and the stain is removed by vacuum.
Cabinet Dryer or Drying Room This is a chamber where low-crease garments are suspended on hangers and steam or hot air is circulated through the cabinet.
Tunnel Dryer Clothes are hung on conveyor belts that pass through a tunnel. Hot air blowing in the tunnel renders the articles completely dry by the time they exit. It is a fully automated process that also transfers the linen to the next area of activity.
Puffer or Suzie This is used for coats and articles that do not crease heavily. The articles are put onto a dummy that is inflated with steam to remove creases and then with hot air to remove the moisture created by the steam. It is ideal for ironing gowns, coats.
Shirt Press Unit This consists of several units designed for pressing different parts of the shirt which are padded and shaped appropriately. These units are: i) Cuff, collar and yoke unit ii) Body and bosom unit iii) Sleeves
Hot Head/Trouser Legger Press/Flatbed Press This consists of a flat padded base on which to lay the fabric along with an attached hot head which is controlled with the help of foot pedals to lower and raise it in a scissor-like fashion to iron the garments. The application of heat, pressure and steam helps to iron the article.