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Industrial Laundries Are Dangerously Disgusting


05.14.15 Liam Mathews

Your worst suspicions about hotel, hospital, and restaurant linens are probably true, according to a report compiled by City Councilman Ritchie Torres and advocacy group CLEAN NYC and reported on by the Daily News. The report states that of the 50 industrial laundries in the metro area, only 5 are certified by industry groups to meet sanitary standards. The laundries are not obligated to be certified, but lawmakers are pushing to require the laundries to get licenses from the city to ensure standards of safety and cleanliness.

Otherwise, they say, there’s no way to make sure linens aren’t being sent back still contaminated with blood and shit and pubic hairs and hazardous chemicals and any other disgusting thing you can imagine.

Stuff like this happens at the uncertified laundries, according to the Daily News:

“Workers interviewed for the report said they’d seen some skin-crawling practices. Jose Umana said the same bins were used to haul clean and dirty linens. ‘When dirty linen bins arrived . . . with excrement or blood, they were wiped out with a towel, that’s all,’ he said.

Another worker, Maritza Cordoba, said on one occasion when a washing machine broke, sheets were sent back to a client without being laundered. ‘They didn’t wash the sheets. They went out like that, ironed, nothing more,’ she said.

So next time you’re staying in a fancy hotel or visiting a loved one in the hospital, think about that. You won’t be able not to. Can we get some kind of federal subsidy for industrial laundries to pay people enough to give them an incentive to not leave linens disgusting? Or send the owners to prison for a million years if their businesses don’t meet minimum standards of cleanliness? Those are my suggestions, and I don’t care if they’re not feasible. I don’t want to get hepatitis from a hotel towel.

(Photo: Sam Verhaert)