- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: Is there any information available concerning dimensional stability, i.e. shrinkage, of towels in repeated commercial laundering? Also, what is the average number of wash cycles that a towel goes through before it is discarded?
- Clay Tingle, Technical Manager
Answer: The manufacturer should be able to provide this information for the specific towels that you are using or purchasing. There are, in my opinion, differences in domestic and imported textiles. Generally I have found that domestic products quality is better than most imports. The blend of the towel will make a difference in the amount of shrinkage, as will the temperatures of the washing and drying process. For instance a 100% cotton towel may shrink more than a blend of 86/14 cotton to polyester. Depending upon the manufacturer, towels washed in very hot water may cause them to shrink some. Most often the drying process can cause shrinkage by high temperatures and over drying of the fabric materials. Much of the shrinkage has to do with the manufacturing - how tight the product was woven. It is not unusual to see 10-15% shrinkage in most towels these days, and if enough bad conditions exist in the processing, 20% or more is possible.
The number of washings you might receive from a towel will depend on a number of circumstances.
• Quality of manufactured towel (most important)
• Purpose or use of the towel
• The severity of wash process (harshness of chemistry)
• Handling, drying and finishing
There in no ‘average’ number of wash cycles one can determine for any textile without information on use, or a tracking of historical use. I would recommend an evaluation of the items I mentioned, and testing different manufactures and qualities in a control process can often be extremely valuable.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Sodexo Laundry Services Technology Recognized By CIO Magazine
GAITHERSBURG, Md. — An innovative use of computer technology that increases operational efficiency by providing key metrics for its commercial laundry operations and has saved more than $100,000 since its implementation has earned Sodexo, Inc. IDG’s CIO magazine’s 2010 CIO 100 Award. The award recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology (IT). Sodexo’s Laundries Dashboard is a central decision-support tool that combines information from multiple systems to monitor core processes in Laundry and Linen Services businesses.
The dashboard presents Sodexo leadership and field management with key metrics in a customized, easy to use presentation. The dashboard uses Pureshare® Active-Metrics® software to gather and display appropriate information in the form of metrics for each level of management; the metrics are used to make business decisions. Because the dashboard is web-based, it can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. It also sends realtime email alerts that enable management to resolve operational issues immediately. Sodexo’s Laundries Dashboard allows for the effective management of critical areas as well as providing detailed analysis and comparisons.