Riegel Extending Table Linen Life with colorGUARD Technology
Textile degradation is an ongoing problem in the hospitality industry. Whites don’t stay white . . . stripes fade and bleed . . . and the colors Ivory, Sandalwood and Black and can be unstable. To prevent these problems, Riegel, a division of Mount Vernon Mills, has created Linen Life solutions™, a worry-free textile program that uses colorGUARD™ technology to extend the lifecycle of the textile and ensure a color-rich product from the first wash to the last.
What makes the product special?
"Laundries have been dealing with shade variation since the beginnings of time," said Bob Pestrak, Riegel Linen Supply Sales Director. "When table linen starts to discolor, laundry facilities throw out the faded pieces or sort through similar colors to get bundles of napkins and cloths that match as best they can before delivering them to an account. Sorting isn't cheap, because it's highly labor intensive, and replacing textiles prematurely is costly as well. Sometimes, there is such a high degree of shade variation, that getting a bundle of the same shade is nearly impossible. Whites turn Brown or Yellow; mid-tone colors like Ivory, Grey and Sandalwood can turn a rainbow of shades after washing; and dark stripes on White bistro napkins fade. When the linens are placed on a table, even though they are all from the same color lot, the pieces look nothing alike. This makes for some very unhappy customers."
With more than 180 years of combined fabric-engineering and laundry-processing service, Riegel's Textile Service team tested and analyzed its fabrics in their own government-certified lab to identify the root cause of textile degradation. After significant troubleshooting, the company developed Linen Life Solutions to ensure that:
- Whites Stay White - Riegel developed a proprietary application that makes it impossible for the color to get washed down. Think of a cross section of a carrot where the orange color is seen all the way through. That's Riegel's White!
- Bistros Won't Fade - As linen-less tables continue to become more popular, so has the demand for innovative bistro stripe napery (which Riegel was first to market with the spun-polyester version). These products are engineered with a variety of dark stripes on a White ground fabric so by their nature they are challenging textiles to process. Riegel would never recommend that a laundry wash White table linen with Red or Black, all in chlorine bleach, yet the bistros need to be processed like White table linen. Therefore, Riegel designed its Bistros with the best solutions so the stripes do not fade or bleed, and the White background fabric stays White. In addition, Riegel is first to market with reverse Bistros that are as easy to wash as solid colored table linen.
- Ivory, Sandalwood & Black are colorfast - Ivory is one of the most complex colors to create. There are multiple dye combinations that are used to create this shade. Some dyes are highly sensitive to residual sodium hydroxide and bleach when exposed to heat. Riegel recognizes that Ivory is processed like White with higher concentrations of chemicals to eliminate mold, mildew and stains, so the company created an Ivory that is stable and mitigates shade change.
Likewise, consistency among the Sandalwood shade also has been a challenge; the dye combinations used to create this shade are highly sensitive to residual bleach when ironed. With Riegel's colorGUARD technology, Sandlewood shades, as well as Ivory and 30+ other color options, can withstand multiple washings and ironings and still retain their original color.
Riegel has even solved wash down on Black polyester table linen with innovative dye solutions that only a textile manufacturer could envision.
"Riegel's commitment to service and excellence is like no other," said Chris Gowdy, Riegel VP of Sales. "We developed Linen Life solutions to protect our customer's bottom line, as these textiles look better, longer. Riegel's 100% MJS spun-polyester Premier and RieZerv table linens will last a minimum of 200 industrial washes when recommended laundering procedures are followed. Our Premier Murata Air Jet spun polyester has become the product of choice because it feels so good and lasts longer providing a better return on investment.
"There was a time when poly [polyester] was considered a foul four-letter word," Gowdy said. "I actually had a meeting abruptly end years ago when I showed filament polyester to a customer. But advancements in yarn configuration and dye trends have hoteliers re-thinking this fabric for restaurants and banquet facilities. Spun-poly feels good and it looks great. Today, it makes perfect sense in hotel banquets and restaurants."
Some laundries are not aware that a solution for textile degradation has been developed, and until customers complain, laundry processes will be slow to change. With that in mind, Riegel is offering a few suggestions to help maximize the life of a hotel's table linen program:
- Boost Par Levels - When operating with low par levels, product goes right from the wash to the table. At a minimum a customer should have at least a three-par level; one in use, one in the laundry and one on the shelf.
- Love the Poly - Polyester table linens should last around 200 washings (more if they have colorGUARD); poly/cotton blends last 100-125 washings; long cotton staple lasts 75 to 100 washings. So, if you want linens to last, poly has the best ROI.
- Look for a Supplier with Technical Services Expertise - When choosing a linen supplier, insist on one that supports their product with technical services. Riegel's products, while innovative and built to last, can be damaged in the first wash if the laundry operator is not knowledgeable. Riegel has a team of experts in dyeing, chemicals and laundry processes that are available to all customers at no cost.
When it comes to best practices, Riegel advises hoteliers to purchase table linen from a single source for product consistency. The supplier should engineer its fabrics with the best ingredients, have verified testing data, and provide customer references supporting the use and performance of their table linen.