Panel of Experts

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Talking Textile Trends and Operations (Conclusion)

“It seems like I’m always hearing about a new, high-tech textile trend. What textile trends should I be aware of? What trends could impact my operation? How can I stay on top of this?”

Other Institution Laundry: Todd B. Jenson, Ramsey County Correctional Facility, Maplewood, Minn.

Call me “Captain Obvious,” but when purchasing anything for my laundry operation, whether new machines, chemicals or textiles, a good, knowledgeable, trusted vendor is a very valuable asset to have. 

You can have an industry friend that you’ve known for years, or now you can “surf the web” and with the touch of a button look at or read about any vendor and what’s new in the market. 

Textiles, as in all other areas of the industry, are constantly making improvements and changes, some of which will profit your business and some of which will not. That’s where a knowledgeable, trusted vendor is a great advantage.

A good vendor should:

  • Have a working knowledge of your business. 
  • Know what laundry items your business processes and provides.
  • Have a knowledge of the new textile products that are being offered or tested in his company or any other company.
  • Be in contact with you on a regular basis whether just to check up on you or to inform you of some new trending textile products that may help your laundering process or those you serve. 
  • If you outsource, your vendor should meet with you and your laundry representative and discuss questions, concerns and the laundering of any new textile products that he/she is recommending.
  • Be able to provide samples of new textile products that you can use for testing purposes.

A good vendor usually goes unnoticed but can be invaluable when making major decisions for your company and the ones you serve.

I know the capabilities of the internet and what a valuable tool it is, but being “old school,” a meeting, an understanding and a handshake go a long way for me. 

When possible, I like to meet with someone and talk things out. Being able to put my hands on the textile and feel the difference and see how it stands up to testing speaks volumes to me. 

Consulting Services: Michael Dodge, Gotli Labs (GLOBE), Minneapolis, Minn.

There always new products trying to make an impact in our textile rental industry. Some will find a niche market and be a good addition to the array of products offered by laundries. Others will just be a passing fad.

The three newest textile trends that I am hearing about are microfiber products, 100% polyester apparel and sheeting with higher thread counts.

Microfiber came onto the textile rental scene with bar mops and floor mops. Now, it is progressing to towels and sheets. When Amazon is starting to sell microfiber towels, then you know it is a product to be aware of.  

The primary benefits of microfiber are that it absorbs water four times faster than a regular towel and needs less heat in the drying cycle. The life expectancy of the microfiber towel, as compared to regular towels, is also greater.

The benefits of microfiber sheets are similar to the towels, along with the feel of the bedding. The diameter of the microfiber fabric is 1 denier. Fine silk measures out to 1.25 deniers. The smaller the denier, the higher the quality of feel. Customers are enjoying the silky-smooth feel of microfiber sheets. Microfiber sheets are thin; however, they are strong, smooth and comfortable.

Healthcare apparel companies are now marketing 100% polyester scrub lines. The old notion of a 100% polyester garment being hot and scratchy is being converted. As the singer once said, “The times they are a-changing.”   

The material is soft and is wrinkle resistant. The line of scrubs retains its color after repeated washings, last longer than blended garments and dry in half the time.    

Sheeting with higher thread counts: Normally, the higher the thread count, the higher the quality of the sheets. Normal thread counts are around 150, and good quality, for sheets, start at 180. Good sheets range anywhere from 200 to 800. With a higher thread count, the sheet is softer and will last longer through multiple washings, which is better for hotel usage.

All three of these product innovations (microfiber, 100% polyester garments and sheets with higher thread counts) are being used to lessen production and textile costs. Just as important, these new products also feel good to the touch. The smoothness of this feel is a strong selling point for our textile rental operators.  

Miss Part 1? Click here to read what healthcare laundry and textile experts have to say.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].