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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

Textile Services Industry Gets National Spotlight

WILIMGTON, Mass. — Textile service executive Ronald Croatti recently appeared on the CBS-TV show “Undercover Boss.” Croatti is CEO of UniFirst Corp., in Wilmington, Mass. For most Americans watching “Undercover Boss” it was their first view inside a commercial laundry, which typically process between 10 million and 25 million pounds of uniforms, table linens, bed sheets, towels and more every year “The reusable textile services business is the original green industry,” said Ricci. “Commercial laundries reuse linen instead of filing landfills with disposable alternatives and continually discover new, innovative means to reduce energy consumption and recycle water. Our huge economies of scale allow laundries to use about two-thirds less water, energy and detergent than alternatives, such as washing at home, while hygienically cleaning textile products, improving disease control and reducing contamination.”