How Hotel Laundry Services Have Changed The Industry

How Hotel Laundry Services Have Changed The Industry

Hotel laundry services have changed the industry for the better. London Linen has put together this guide on laundry services and the industry in general.

Hotels have transformed the way we work, travel and enjoy our leisure time, where they allow us to find a home from home wherever we are in the world. These places of lodging can vary in size from a single room bed and breakfast to a huge multi-story hotel chain which can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of guests.

The hotel industry is always developing in an effort to create the most comfortable and facilitating environment for the public. As part of this, hotels offer a wide range of services, where they are typically designed to provide food, beverages and a comfortable place to sleep and shower.

These facilities require a lot of behind the scenes effort and organisation to create a sense of readily available services. A big part of this is hotel laundry management, where every room creates large quantities of laundry that has to be cleaned, dried and reinstalled between stays. This imposing task can be handled within the hotel, or laundry can be outsourced to a commercial laundry service, which can help to reduce the burden on staff and internal budgets.

Read on to learn more about commercial laundry services and how they have helped to evolve the hotel industry, with an overview of hotel and laundry history, and a look towards the future of sustainable hospitality.

Laundry & Hotel Management: A Brief History

Since ancient times, civilisations have relied on temporary housing and shelters to facilitate a range of activities. Inns are an early form of hotel, first constructed to shelter those  travelling for government or business purposes in ancient Rome, where they were typically built along popular travel routes. Throughout the Middle Ages, inns provided shelter along potentially dangerous roads for merchants, letter-carriers and traders, where these were often run by monastic orders.

The mid-18th century saw a growth in popularity of inns for a wealthy clientele, leading to the building of bigger and more luxurious structures. Then the advent of a nationwide rail network in the 1800s led to a travel and holidaying boom, where new hotels along railway routes began to replace old coach inns.  Today, there’s a hotel for every budget in most locations, where tourism and global travel has increased the demand for safe and comfortable accommodation across the world.

Alongside these developments in the hotel industry, there was simultaneous progress being made in terms of laundry practices. Traditionally laundry was done in rivers, streams and other natural bodies of water, where practices of twisting or beating the fabric helped with the removal of dirt. Increasingly throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, washhouses were constructed in affluent villages to facilitate a more organised laundry system. These channelled natural water supplies into waist-high basins, where residents could come together to wash their clothes in a social setting.

It was during the Industrial Revolution that laundry was transformed, with the invention of the first drum-based washing machine in 1851. The invention of the mangle alongside hand operated washing devices throughout the 19th century helped to dramatically improve the laundry process. Today, most homes are fitted with electric washing machines, where the invention of mechanised dryers also helped to revolutionise this household chore.

Whilst the upper class homes of the 19th century had in-house servants to manage their laundry needs, middle income families had the option to send out their laundry to an external service. Known as a “wet wash” or “bagwash” service, this continued into the early 20th century, until the rise in home washing machines and laundrettes replaced this for the most part. But on a commercial scale, the tendency to outsource laundry endured, where the ever increasing size of hotels and inns often necessitated assistance in handling large loads of washing.

Benefits Of Using A Commercial Laundry Service

Since its invention, the outsourcing of laundry to an external service has been a great option for a wide range of businesses, where there are numerous benefits to be gained from delegating this essential task. These include:

Time Saver

One of the main benefits of opting for a commercial laundry service is that it allows a business to reduce the time it takes to clean and prepare a room. This is because a commercial service can conduct larger loads, whilst also collecting and returning the laundry directly to the hotel.

Hotel Priorities

If hotel laundry is being taken care of by an external service provider, then this allows staff to shift their priorities to other areas of hotel management and customer service. This means that smaller hotels in particular can focus their energies on engaging with guests and ensuring that customer experience is a priority.

Reduced Costs

As a commercial laundry service tends to wash and dry in bulk, money can be saved overall compared to conducting smaller loads within the hotel. This also helps to keep down internal energy costs and water consumption, which can assist hotels in managing their environmental impact.

Quality Control

An external laundry service will have specific quality standards that they will endeavour to meet with every wash. This means that you can ensure all your hotel linen is cleaned professionally and with attention to detail. External services will also prioritise using the best machinery and cleaning products for the job, to ensure that all your laundry is taken care of properly.

Space Saver

Commercial laundry facilities can take up lots of room in a hotel, where they need to be of an adequate scale to handle the demands of the whole building. This can include space for washers, dryers, detergents and for the ironing and folding of linens. If laundry is outsourced to an external company then all of this space can be utilised for a range of other purposes.

Noise Management

Internal laundry systems can disrupt the ambience of your hotel, where lots of machines can create vibrations and noise that are notable throughout the building. Instead of investing in soundproofing or a separate laundry unit, it is much easier to simply take your laundry processes off site and avoid the noise problem entirely.


Choosing a commercial laundry service typically has environmental benefits compared to completing your laundry tasks onsite. This is because a laundry service will carry out bigger loads, using less water and energy overall. You can also choose a laundry service that has committed to sustainable goals, meaning they are likely to invest in energy efficient and low carbon processes.

The Future Of Commercial Laundry

As commercial laundry services adapt to our changing world, there is an increased demand for sustainability and energy conservation. Laundry typically demands high levels of water and energy usage, meaning there is lots of room for energy efficient reform in this sector. As such, many laundry services are now rethinking their everyday processes with the environment in mind.

Environmentally friendly laundry practices can be embraced in a number of ways, where top strategies include:

Upgrading machinery - investing in energy efficient washing machines is a great way to reduce costs and the consumption of resources

Using environmentally friendly detergents - lots of laundry companies have made moves towards the use of biodegradable and water-safe detergents that don’t harm aquatic life

Adapting packaging - using reusable packaging rather than single-use plastic for laundry collections and deliveries can help to lower the overall carbon footprint of the business

London Linen: Hotel Linen Hire, Laundry & Dry Cleaning Services

At London Linen, we can provide your hotel or restaurant with a comprehensive laundry service, where we can collect and drop off your linen according to your requirements. In addition to this, we provide linen hire throughout our London area, where you can choose from our selection of high quality chefs wear and table linen.

Across the Johnson Service Group, we’re committed to our sustainability goals, where we endeavour to promote a circular business model focussed on waste reduction. We’re also aiming to reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain and processes in order to safeguard the future of our planet.

Contact us today to find out more about our complete range of linen products and services.


Quote Enquiry

Contact us today to make an enquiry about kitchen linen hire in London or restaurant and table linens services. As the most reliable dry cleaning services in London, we can help you achieve your best.

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