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Commercial v retail linen - there's a difference!
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Did you know there is a difference between commercial and retail linen?

It’s a common misconception that there isn’t much difference between retail and commercial linen, however, take a closer look and you’ll soon see there are some major disparities. Commercial bed linen is designed specifically for the hospitality industry and is very different from your standard, run of the mill retail bed linen.

What’s the difference?

Commercial sheets will not feel the same as retail sheets. You’ll see right away that commercial linen is crisper, heavier and thicker. This is because the thread/weave is thicker, allowing it to withstand heavier usage and washing.

The major difference between retail and commercial linen is that commercial linen is made specifically for durability. Commercial linen must withstand frequent use and regular washing and needs to endure years of use.

The fabric

In terms of the actual fabric, commercial hotel linen is normally a mix of 50% polyester and 50% cotton, with a ‘percale’ finish. The polyester increases the fabric’s durability and allows it to withstand multiple washes every week, while the cotton gives a softer, smoother finish.

Aren’t cotton sheets better?

Sheets containing a higher cotton content will not stand up to the kind of use associated with hotel and holiday accommodation, and they will fall apart, warp or shrink with such frequent laundering. They also need to be commercially laundered and pressed as cotton creases easily. Adding polyester to the mix reduces the need to for pressing if laundered correctly – click here for more information on how to care for your linen and towelling.

How important is thread count?

Contrary to what some people believe, the higher the thread count does not equate to better quality. By twisting together multiple threads, the thread count can be manipulated and increased without improving the actual quality. Similarly, you can have a lower thread count, but thicker threads, improving the quality of the sheets, yet sustaining a lower thread count. It doesn’t necessarily mean the linen will be more luxurious.

The fibre, size and how it is finished all contribute to the quality of the sheet. Check out our blog post for more information on thread count here.

What should you look for in commercial bed linen?

There’s more to hotel bed linen than thread count, you should look at the weight of the sheets. The weight of a good commercial sheet should be between 160 – 180 grams per square meter or gsm. This will ensure it handles frequent washing and maintains its shape wash after wash.

All the commercial bed linen we stock at National Hotel Supplies is designed especially for the hospitality industry, ensuring it is durable and endures years of washing. A high turnover hotel can expect their linen to last at least 4-5 years before starting to see any wear and tear.

If you have any more questions about commercial bed linen email, we’d love to help!

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