How Separating Restaurant Laundry Helps Linen Providers

The Modern Restaurant Management website recently published a list of things that need to be done to clean the restaurant kitchen at the end of the day. Author Matt Gentile wrote the piece on the premise that running a successful commercial kitchen relies on keeping it clean. A clean kitchen keeps the health department out of your hair, and that’s just for starters.

Among a list of 12 bulleted points referring to the steps staff members can take during their shifts were two points emphasizing separating laundry. Gentile wrote that kitchen staff should keep dirty kitchen rags and table linens separate from uniforms. Likewise, uniform should be kept separate from dirty aprons.

Gentile then went on to explain end-of-the-day cleaning procedures that included running two loads of laundry. One load would be the dirty rags and table linens while the other would be aprons. Uniforms are laundered separately.

Are you curious as to why this is? Furthermore, does it also apply to rented linens too? The answers to both questions make a lot of sense when you think about them. If you rent your table linens and uniforms, your provider may not require you to separate the laundry on site. But rest assured they separate it at the plant.

Kitchen Rags and Table Linens

Linen providers tend to refer to rags as kitchen towels. Restaurants can rent bar mops – which are a specific kind of towel meant to be used at the bar, and more traditional towels used for everything else in the kitchen. They should definitely be kept separate from aprons and uniforms for a couple of reasons.

First, different kinds of restaurant linens are processed different ways. As a result, the grime and grease kitchen towels often soak up would make aprons and uniforms harder to process. Your provider can get those aprons and uniforms clean, but it requires more work.

Secondly, towels and linens can be laundered as-is. No special preparation is required before they are put into a washing machine and run through the wash cycle. When they come out of the washing machine, they go right to a commercial iron without any further processing needed.

Aprons and Uniforms

Restaurant aprons and uniforms are laundered in an entirely different way. Let’s start with the uniforms. Linen providers don’t simply throw them in a huge washing machine. Uniforms are processed using a specialized line of equipment built specifically for them. So if you throw towels and table linens in with the uniforms, those uniforms have to be pulled out before laundering can begin anyway.

As for aprons, they are often separated by color before being washed. Some providers throw them in a washing machine while others use specialized equipment similar to that used for uniforms. In either case, the aprons also have to be separated from other linens before they can be processed.

Reduced Work and Increased Efficiency

Alsco, the company that pioneered linen rentals in the U.S. back in the late 19th century, says keeping laundry separate is all about efficiency. Restaurants that handle their own laundry on-site typically wash their aprons and uniforms separate from table linens and kitchen towels. So as long as they have to be washed separately, there’s no point in throwing them all into the same laundry basket in the kitchen.

The same is true with commercial linen providers, even when a provider may not require you to separate linens because they handle it at the plant. If your linen provider does require you to separate linens, know that it’s to reduce their work and increase their efficiency.

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