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Hospital Linen Replacement

Question: We are presently laundering hospital owned linen for a particular hospital. For the last twenty years they had been renting linen. Do you have any idea of what they can expect to have to purchase as replacement linen (based on a percentage of the soiled weight)? Also, what is a national percentage of linen in a hospital setting that will have stains that cannot be removed (again, based on soiled weight)?
- Cherie D. Frey, Frey Laundry Services, Eunice, LA.


Answer: The cost for replacement of patient care linen is typically determined on a clean pound basis, as the soil to clean ration can vary from 8% to 13%, depending on the mix of the linen. The cost per clean pound, for a standard product mix, ranges from 8 to 12 cents per clean pound, as determined by the mix of linen. For example, if the pounds include a heavy mix of incontinent products, blankets and sheets, the replacement cost would be higher than if the mix includes a high percentage of lighter weight items such as pediatric and baby linens. Likewise, if the linen products are of a higher grade or quality, the purchase price would inflate the cost per pound. An average cost of 10 cents per clean pound processed, is an acceptable benchmark in the health care industry.


The use of clean weight results in a more consistent comparison. For example, a facility that generates soiled linen consisting of a heavy mix of incontinent care products, trash and disposable products that are co-mingled with the linen, would realize a greater variance than a facility that does not generate the same type of soiled mix.

The determining factor for "unacceptable linen" is subjective to the individual facility's quality standards. However, in an acceptable setting, an industry standard for permanently stained patient care linen, that is unacceptable for patient use, averages approximately .005% after rewash. As an example, every 100,000 pounds of processed linen could result in a range of 400-500 pounds of linen that is stained or damaged beyond use.

Robin Holmes
President/Sr. Consultant
Integrated Linen Systems

(Robin Holmes is an independent consultant with 18 years of experience in the health care industry. She specializes in Linen Utilization Management Systems and Cost Reduction Measures.)

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.

“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”

“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”

Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.

“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”