Everyone loves a soft towel. But what goes in maintaining it?
Hotel guests appreciate clean linen. But it doesn’t end there. When it comes to towels, guests prefer a good appearance in terms of fluffiness which is identified and defined by pile height. They need to see nice, fluffy and thick towels which will look as white as possible and feel as soft as a feather.
What contributes to a soft towel?
There are many factors that contribute to maintaining the sftness of a towel, such as:
One of these factors is the use of fabric softeners. But contrary to what most people think, a fabric softener doesn’t play the biggest role in making the towel soft. What plays the major role is the towel itself. We’ll refer back to the height of the pile. According to International Textile Standards, the pile height of a towel should be more than 4 millimeters. To be more specific, the ideal pile height should range between 4 mm to 6 mm. As we get closer to 6 mm, the towels will get softer.
Here I will have to tell you that in many laundries in Central and Northern Europe, there is no fabric softener used to wash towels, yet the towels feel very soft. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, the towels have a thick pile. Secondly, the water hardness in Northern and Central Europe is close to 18 ppm – 1 German degree*. The softer the water, the softer the towel will be.
The outgoing air temperature while drying should be retained between 80 to 110 degrees Celsius. It should always be followed by a proper cool-down process.
How do fabric softeners work?
The biggest reason for using fabric softeners is not to make the towel softer. Fabric softeners are cationic in nature. All detergents, on the other hand, use anionic surfactants. In reality, when we use fabric softeners, we are neutralizing the static electricity which is generated by the use of anionic surfactants during wash.
During the wash process, we are “bombarding” the textile with a negative charge. Cationic surfactants in the fabric softeners use positive charge to neutralize the negative charge of detergents. This is the main property and main reason why we use fabric softeners.
Fabric softeners also contain some lubricants that contribute to the softness of the towels.
Lastly, fabric softeners contain fragrance. Diversey’s Clax softeners uses the most advanced fragrance encapsulation technology to serve three purposes – keep the towels soft, neutralise their static charge and provide a long-lasting fragrance, even after drying.
About the Author
Nikos Pastras, Application Expertise Leader, Emerging Markets, Diversey has a Major in Chemistry from the University of Athens. He has 18 years of experience in the industry, offering solutions and training to hospitality, healthcare and commercial laundry customers. Nikos is also a member of Diversey’s Centre of Excellence.
*A KLINETE addition regarding the water hardness. It is important to mention the comparison beween the water hardness in Northen and Central Europe and Cyprus where in many cases is over 200 – 300 ppm. In these cases it is necessary to add descaling equipment and softener which of course increase the wash cost.