It's a bit of an unusual blog this week as I'm going to talk about something that in a way isn't anything to do with guests, yet in another way it's a fundamental element they probably never even think about.
Laundry is a necessary evil. In the summer, we can produce up to around twenty hampers (the size of large bin bags) full of washing. When I say washing, I'm talking about bed linen, towels and table napkins. These are sent to a commercial laundry to wash.
In addition to this, our own washing machine is on several times a day washing rags and dusters which we use for cleaning, tea towels, oven cloths, aprons and dishcloths from the kitchen, throws and cushion covers and our own personal clothes washing.
Some smaller B&Bs choose to wash and iron everything themselves. I don't see how we could do this without having the washing machine on 24 hours a day, and the water and electricity involved would mean the bills soon mounted up.
The other huge consideration here is you would need your own laundry stock. By using a commercial laundry, you hire the linen and never actually own it, so anything white - sheets, pillowcases, towels as so on all belong to a laundry company. The benefit of this is you don't have the outlay on stock. Imagine the cost of buying a brand new set of bedding for a super king bed, plus some new towels from somewhere with a decent quality range available like John Lewis. Then remember you need six sets of these for the six bedrooms, but then you will have some in the wash / airing at all times so you also need some in stock for changeover days and spares in the cupboard. This probably means you need at least three times the amount of rooms you have. For us that would be eighteen sets minimum so you can see that the costs soon mount up, not least as some people treat your items so badly. There will always be accidents. Someone may spill a cup of tea or a glass of red wine, but there's no excuse for things like make-up, hair dye or shoe polish. If these are beyond saving, they'll need replacing. We probably wash our linen a lot more than you would at home too which wears the items more through constant washing and drying. This means they wear thin and need replacing quite regularly.
Using a professional laundry company does have its downsides too though. They will be washing and drying on an industrial scale, possibly for several hundred different establishments a day which could also include hospitals, schools, factories and the military.
Items can come back as what we call rejects - ie there's something wrong with it. This could be a small mark made by a dryer or an iron, a hole or rip, or a stain that didn't come out when it was washed. We have to be on the look out for these things when making up the bedrooms.
For me, the benefits outweigh the negatives though. Not only have I not got time to be ironing all evening, or the desire quite frankly, but have you seen our sheets and duvets? To the most part they are beautifully smooth and make the bed look really lovely and professionally made. I could never get that finish myself, even with a small roller iron. Industrial scale laundries use automatic roller irons - a super king duvet cover is fed between rollers on one side, it is then ironed, pressed and even folded and comes out in a neat pile at the side. I could not achieve this and the look of my beds would therefore not be as good.
Using a laundry does come at a cost though, we pay per item and these charges can soon mount. There's also some admin involved in counting items in and out and checking invoices etc but I still feel the benefits outweigh these costs. It's just one hassle I could do without and have a million other things to do doing too,
So next time you snuggle into one of our ultra comfy beds and feel the crisp white sheets next to your body you'll know how we get them so super smooth!