Professional textile care

The Professional Textile Care Industry is a sector offering textile cleaning and textile management services to the general public (Retail) and various b2b sectors.

Textile Care Sectors

Professional Textile Care includes the Textile Cleaning Industry (TC) and the Textile Services / Industrial Laundry (TS) sector. Sometimes professional textile care is also referred to as commercial laundry. As individual companies within the sector tend to mix and match their product & customer portfolio this is somewhat confusing from time to time, however in this article a definition is provided.

Textile Cleaning predominantly focuses on consumers, with a variety of different business models such as traditional laundry & dry cleaning shops in city centers, centralized plants with more automation and pick-up points in the area, coin-op laundries and more recently laundry on demand services (through apps).

The Textile Services / Industrial Laundry sector focuses on customers in the business sectors such as HORECA (hotels, restaurants & catering), Health Care (hospitals, nursing homes, home care) and Trade & Industry (wide variety of industries in need of work wear, mats, hygiene, etc.). Within the Textile Service sector laundries can either offer a laundry service where the customer owns the textiles or a textile rental service where the customer rents the textiles. Textile Rental is meanwhile quite common (especially in mature markets).

Operational scale

The operational scale in the TS industry is generally much bigger compared to the TC industry, able to process hundreds of tons of laundry every week (more standardized items) with increased levels of automation. The TC industry focuses more on high quality services for a variety of textiles, resulting in more manual labor and so higher cost prices.

An overlap between the activities of the two industries is not uncommon. Especially in developing countries the two sectors are sometimes indistinguishable, as companies offer services to both consumers and companies.

Cleaning methods

Additionally, the cleaning method is different; textile service companies use an industrialized cleaning process with water and detergents whilst textile cleaners mostly use a solvent cleaning process apart from a water cleaning processes depending on the type of garment to be cleaned. More comprehensive information on cleaning methods and best practices can be found in the e-learning program of CINET.