Kitchen cloths are an essential part of the equipment necessary for a hygienic and well managed dining establishment. Unlike table linen your guests do not come into direct contact with these fabrics, but much of what is used to prepare what they eat and drink will come into contact with these cloths and this is why care should be taken in their purchase and laundering.
This article offers a check list for the basic items you will need and advice on quality and colour-coding so that you can place your order with confidence. Being able to easily identify the purpose of each cloth is useful for hygiene reasons. Certain cloths demand different laundering and, this is because they come in to contact with bacteria and should not be misused in other areas of the kitchen or dining area. Easily identifiable cloths help with the laundering and avoid potentially serious mistakes.
Cotton tea towels: these are the most obvious items for the check list. By buying a range of colours, tea towels can be identified for specific purposes and areas of use. Coloured borders can also be used to identify those used for lunch/dinner or by days of the week to help specify when they should be laundered. Sizes usually range from 45 x 75cm up to around 60 x 85cm.
Glass cloths: these are typically around 50 x 75cm and of a higher quality, or weight, than tea towels. A minimum of 225 gsm (grams per square metre) is considered acceptable for use with glass. Buying cloths with specific coloured borders labelled ‘Glass’, can again help avoid mistakes in their use and in laundering.
Waiter cloths: white cotton waiter’s cloths are often overlooked in purchasing for smaller establishments, but they provide a signal of quality and hygiene to guests. For this reason, these should be of a better quality with a minimum of 215 gsm.
Stockinette Dishcloths: typically, these are 75% Cotton and are more durable for repeated laundering.
Oven cleaning cloths: these are typically 55 x 90cm in size and usually of a lattice fabric to provide strength in their more heavy-duty use, and make them easily identifiable to avoid cross-use between areas of raw and cooked food.
Napkins: it is important that your choice of napkin matches the quality and design of your table linen. It is also useful to make the napkins clearly distinguishable from your other kitchen linen, to avoid mistakes. The waiters cloths, in particular, should have a differently coloured border as these they can sometimes be mistaken for napkins.
Specialist suppliers will be able to provide all your items under a single quote, so that you can compare costs and make savings, as well speed up re-ordering.