Types of linen used in housekeeping

Linens used in housekeeping include everything from kitchen tablecloths at home to surgical masks in a hospital to bedding at a hotel. Linens are made from various plant fibres and materials, each with distinctive properties. "Linen" can be used to refer to pieces such as towels and blankets, or to the linen fabric itself.

Hospital and Hotel

Linens are part of housekeeping responsibilities in both hospitals and hotels. The types of linens found in these places of business include bedding (sheets, pillowcases and mattress pads), cleaning linens (protective gowns, caps and cleaning rags or cloths), surgical linens (masks, scrubs, drapes, wrappers, caps and gowns), bath towels, hand towels, fabric mats, washcloths, napkins, tablecloths, banquet linens and speciality towels.


Linens can be made of hemp, a plant fibre obtained from the stem of the hemp plant. Once the fibre is processed and the pectin is removed, it is woven to make yarn and fabrics. The best hemp linens are made in Italy. Hemp is a durable choice for kitchen linens and is used most often as a sturdy backing for table mats and coasters.


The most popular fabric for linens is cotton, which has been used in cloth form dating back to 3,000 B.C. Cotton is most commonly used to make industrial cloth, garments, home furnishings, and kitchen and table linens. Cotton fabrics can be divided into subcategories with different weave types, as well as mixed with other materials to create varying feels and styles.


Though linens can be made from other fibres, the true linens are made from the fabric called linen. Linen is created from the vegetable fibres of the flax plant and is noted for its incredible comfort and natural lustre. Linen is commonly used to make decorative and functional pieces. Linen is strong and lint free, making it a versatile fabric for home and business use.

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About the Author

Heather Martens writes for business and individuals. She is passionate about human health and has accumulated more than seven years of experience in the health field working with children and adults. Martens is pursuing a Bachelor of Science as a pre-med major with a minor in chemistry.