We are all very grateful that the hospitality industry is gradually re-opening. 

The question is: How are we going to deal with the Covid pandemic in our laundries in the
hospitality industry and what should we be doing now in preparation?

While your establishment is in the gradual process of re-opening there are a number of
activities that should take place:

  • Sort through your linen stocks and take the time to inspect and evaluate:
    • Linen that is clean and in perfect condition should be neatly stored in the
      categories that are sensible for your establishment.
    • Linen that is stained or is not in a perfect condition should be separated and
      treated in an attempt to render the linen usable. In our experience an
      effective hot wash at 70°C with a good quality detergent will help to
      remove most stains. Clients have reported that up to 80% of unsuitable
      linen has been recovered using this process. For more stubborn stains we
      can assist and guide you - contact us at
    • Take stock of the resultant linen that is in perfect condition and compare
      with your ideal par levels.
  • Ensure that you have suitable Personal Protective Equipment for your laundry and
    housekeeping staff and if the PPE is reusable (such as overalls) ensure they are
    washed daily in a process that disinfects the PPE.
  • Take the time now to ensure that your staff are trained on the use of the PPE as
    well as the health and safety aspects of the machines and chemicals used in your
  • During normal operations the following very important aspects must be considered
    especially with regards to disinfection of linen from the rooms. Many of these points
    are clearly stipulated in the latest SABS Laundry Process Management Standard
    SANS 10146-1:2020 Edition 1:
    • Sorting:
      • Linen that has been contaminated with blood or body fluids should be
        separated from normal soiled linen and placed in a water soluble bag -
        in a pink plastic bag. The water soluble bag must be placed directly into
        the washing machine to avoid unnecessary handling and must be kept
        separate from the soiled linen. This linen should be washed
        immediately. Alternatively a yellow disposable bag can be used and,
        wearing the correct PPE, the contents can be safely transferred into
        the washing machine. 
      • Normal uncontaminated soiled linen should be placed in a white bag
        and this can be sorted as normal.
    • Working surfaces and finished linen:
      • All working surfaces and containers that come in contact with the
        soiled linen should be washed and disinfected after use and at the
        end of the day.
      • Care must be taken to avoid contamination of the finished,
        laundered linen from the soiled and contaminated linen.
    • Chemicals:
      • All chemicals used, including disinfectants, must be suitable for laundry
        use and must comply with the applicable standards and national
    • Machines:
      • All washing machines must comply with national legislation and must
        be chemically disinfected before use and at the start of every day.
      • Washing machines must be calibrated annually especially with regards
        to thermometers and timers.
      • All machines must be maintained in accordance with the
        manufacturer’s instructions
      • The use of top loading washing machines is no longer permitted.
      • All finishing (drying and ironing) machines must comply with SANS
        10472 specifications.
    • Disinfection:
      • Thermal disinfection in washing machines is recommended as follows:
        • 80°C for at least 10 minutes or 
      • Chemical disinfection in the first rinse cycle:
        • Sodium hypochlorite (max 60C in a dedicated bleach step) or
        peracetic acid (71C for at least 5 minutes in the main wash).
        • Contact us for detailed recommendations – 
      • Drying and ironing processes cannot be used as a means to disinfect laundered linen
    • Outsourcing:
      • If you are outsourcing the laundry process ensure that the commercial
        laundry complies with all the requirements as stated in the SABS
        standard specified below.

Many of the recommendations stated above are extracted from the latest SABS Laundry
Process Management Standard SANS 10146-1:2020 Edition 1 - issued in March 2020.
The Standard is currently being reviewed by the NRCS to be brought into regulation. 

We are obviously not able to cover all aspects of the new regulations in this short article.
For more information contact us at and purchase and download
the document from the South African Bureau of Standards website

Your laundry will be pivotal in your success in keeping your guests and staff safe
going forward.

Jimmy Ferendinos                                                                                Dr Rowen van Eeden

Linen Drawer                                                                                        Orlichem