In the UK, those offering paid sleeping accommodation like hotels and B&Bs must take extra care when buying soft furnishings. This also includes pillows. This article takes a brief look at what’s available on the market for supplying such accommodation with pillows. Fire safety is, of course, the main restricting factor in what you can buy for hotel use, but there is still more choice than you might expect and this article will help guide you through these choices.
To reduce the risk of fire and the speed at which it can spread the new regulations around fire risk assessment (introduced in 2006) demand that only fire-retardant pillows should be considered for those offering paid sleeping accommodation. Although regulations differ somewhat across the UK, if non-fire retardant pillows are found to be used this will be flagged as a problem in any official risk assessment. For this reason, it’s best to use a reputable specialist supplier so that you can be sure that you will not fall foul of the law. There are also cost benefits to using such suppliers, because they can supply in bulk at cheaper prices. A specialist supplier is also more likely to understand the particular needs of the hospitality industry clearly marking which products are flame retardant and to what standard.
Filling Types for Pillows:
Polyester is a man-made fibre that has ‘inherent’ flame retardant qualities. This means that the polyester itself is resistant to fire, though not complete polyester products marked as flame retardant to ‘British Standard 7175’ have been confirmed in testing as safer than others that do not carry this mark.
This brings us to the basic difference between the various types of flame retardant pillows whether they are ‘inherently’ resistant to fire or whether they are ‘treated’ with a flame retardant substance to add this quality. The obvious advantage to a product being inherently retardant is that it will definitely not lose this quality after multiple washes.
Polyester has also moved on from the days when it had the harsh feel of a low-quality product, although it is still worth asking for samples from the supplier as products will still differ in terms of feel and quality.
The other terms you will come across in flame retardant pillow fillings are ‘hollofibre’ and ‘Quallofil’. These are man-made fibres with quite different qualities. Unlike hollofibre, quallofil has multiple holes inside each fibre rather than just one. It helps make the pillows more resistant to flattening and they are said to have a longer lifespan.
For treated pillows the most common term you will find is ‘Proban’. This is a chemical treatment applied to cotton and cotton-blended fabrics to give them a flame retardant quality. Some manufactures state that this quality will last the lifetime of the product, but certain suppliers dispute this. To meet the British safety standards, however, products that are treated to make them flame retardant must retain this quality for a set amount of laundry cycles. If in doubt ask advice from a specialist supplier that sells both treated and inherently flame retardant products.
Pillows obviously range in size, but for hotel use they are generally between 45x68cm and 48x75cm.