Salt Lake City’s Alsco is a nationwide uniform rental and linen service provider that focuses heavily on the food service, healthcare, and industrial sectors. They provide everything from heavy-duty workwear uniforms to the finest restaurant table linens. They have many competitors, some of which offer a different variety of linen services.
The one thing they all have in common is that they do the laundry better than companies that choose to handle things in-house. Why is that? Generally speaking, it is because commercial laundries specialize in doing the laundry. That is all they do, and they do it well.
It really is no different than a hotel specializing in hosting guests overnight. Hotels are the best at offering that service because overnight hospitality is the core of what they do. Alsco would be no better at hospitality than a hotel is at doing the laundry.
If that general understanding is not enough for you, there are some more specific reasons to consider. Commercial laundries are better at doing the laundry because:
1. They Know How to Sort
When dirty laundry comes into a commercial plant, the first task is to sort it. Commercial laundries sort pieces just like you do at home. However, they are a lot more specific about their sorting. They are not just worried about colors running together; they have to sort according to how each type of piece is laundered.
As an example, tablecloths and napkins are laundered differently than aprons and kitchen towels. So restaurant linens are sorted in at least two ways, sometimes more. Sorting makes an enormous difference in outcome.
2. They Run Specialized Equipment
Next, commercial laundries are not merely big warehouses running dozens of stock washing machines and dryers. No, they run specialized equipment purpose-built for the commercial laundry industry. Consider the tunnel washer, for example. A tall washer is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment that cleans laundry as it moves through the machine’s main body, which is shaped like a tunnel.
In the finishing room, you will find a range of equipment including flat irons and steamers. Different pieces of linen are finished in different ways.
3. They Have Special Cleaning Solutions
Along with specialized equipment, commercial laundries also make use of specialized cleaning solutions. They might use a mild detergent on fine table linens and a more aggressive detergent on bar mops and aprons. Over in the healthcare area, carefully selected detergents are mixed with enzymes and other substances to produce hygienically clean bed linens and hospital uniforms. Needless to say that commercial laundries have access to cleaning solutions you will never find on grocery store shelves.
4. They Have Specialized Procedures for Uniforms
One of the most pronounced differences between commercial laundries and in-house laundry operations is observed in how uniforms are cleaned. The modern commercial laundry is unlikely to throw uniforms into a standard washing machine followed by a tumble dry. Instead, they use specially designed machines that operate on a conveyor system.
Uniforms are hung on hangers and then loaded onto the conveyor. The conveyor pulls each uniform through a specialized steamer that applies heat, moisture, and cleaning solutions to loosen and remove dirt. Clean steam on the other end removes the wrinkles so that uniforms come out looking like new.
Companies utilizing a variety of linens may choose to keep their laundry in-house for whatever reason. Whether it is to save money or maintain better control, companies have their reasons. But the reality is that commercial laundries are just better at doing the laundry. It is what they do.