What is the appropriate amount of bed linen I need for my guest house?

Posted By esther | 23rd March 2018

Every guest house owner and manager knows that one of your major expenses is bed linen replacement. However, an adequate stock of bed linen is crucial to ensure smooth operations in housekeeping and it is critical to develop control procedures for the storage, issuing, use, and replacement of bed linen stock.


There are many problems you can encounter if you do not have the appropriate amount of bed linen include increased labour costs as more time and people are needed for laundry, greater wear and tear of bed linen making you have to buy bed linen more frequently, irritated guests who have to wait for cleaned rooms and worst of all, running out of clean bed linen. On the other hand, you do not want an oversupply either. This practice is inefficient and uses up funds which are now tied up in an overstock of bed linen supplies. This is where a skilled manager can establish the correct par level for your guest houses bed linen requirements.


A par level refers to the number of bed linen sets a guest house currently has on hand. If a guest house only had one complete set of bed linen for every bed, that would equate to one par. For most guest houses in South Africa, you should ideally have three sets of bed linen on hand at all times, or three par. One on the bed, one in the cupboard and one in the laundry. 3 is a magic number but sometimes the par levels do not need to be full sets. If your guest house is not at capacity for a prolonged period of time, you may want to invest in a 2 1/2-par system.


The guest house owners and managers must think through the laundry cycle in terms of the guest house’s busiest day. When the guest house is at full occupancy for several days in a row. A new guest house also has to consider whether the laundry is done in house or contracted out. If contracted out, you might need another par as it could take longer to replenish the bed linen cupboard. If your laundry room staff is in house and efficient, you can get away with less, but your bed linen is going to wear out faster.


The replacement of damaged, worn or lost bed linen should also be considered. Each guest house bed linen losses are different and you will need to determine a reasonable par level based on a your history. Also consider emergency situations which we have become accustom to in South Africa such as a power failures and load shedding which may effect you and interrupt the continuous movement of bed linen through the laundry cycle. Washing and drying machine breakages should also be a consideration. In Cape Town the drought crises effects the way laundries operate by only washing full loads of bed linen. You may decide to hold one full par of bed linen in reserve so that housekeeping operations can continue to run smoothly during any of these emergency situations. However, whichever way you look at it, investing time into working out your guest house’s correct par level for bed linen stock is essential for labour costs, bed linen care and especially your guest experience. Each guest house is unique and has its own secrets of success, but by using best practices for setting par levels for bed linen can ensure your guest house’s operations run smoothly under any situation. A properly stocked and managed bed linen stock holding saves time, money and resources. Happy Planning!

Ask The Experts

The Linon collection of hospitality linen has be specifically tailored for the hospitality industry and has been developed by our team based on over 120 years of combined experience. If you would like to ask any of our experts about your establishments correct par level for bed linon or any other linen query, please give us a call on +27 87 550 0202 or email info@linon.co.za.


4 Thoughts on "What is the appropriate amount of bed linen I need for my guest house?"

  1. Thanks for another great article, learning a lot from your expert advice.

  2. Very interesting – I would like to know what is the best way to ensure that the white bedding and towels stay white? I am new at this and I really and battling with this aspect.

  3. Benice

    Very educational. I will make a Linen Care Guiders pack for easy access.

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