Let’s talk about massage laundry. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a reality for massage therapists and bodyworkers everywhere.
Sheets, towels, blankets - we spend a lot of time with linens and they can be a big expense for a small massage business. The quality and cleanliness of linens are part of our business’ reputation and personality.
Many of us made these same mistakes early in our careers
- Laundered massage linens wrong
- Used a low-quality linens
- Used cheap massage oils made from canola or soybean oils
Over time you’ve probably learned, or are learning now, the best way to wash your massage linens. Maybe you’ve figured out that 100% cotton releases massage products much more easily. If you’re here on the Pure Pro site you already know that the quality of your products will impact your work and your equipment.
But even the best oils, lotions, and creams can end up stuck in your linens and smelling funky. I’ve got some tips to keep your linens fresh and some ideas for rescuing linens that have seen better days.
Keeping Linens Clean
First, check out our Pure Pro Orange Linen Degreaser for Sheets™. It’s a full-on detergent and degreaser in one, there’s no need for additional products. It’s ultra-concentrated, so you use just 2 ounces in a high-efficiency washer and 4 ounces in a standard top loader.
Use 100% cotton linens. These release oil completely, unlike polyester-cotton blends or microfiber. Polyester tends to attract and hold oil. This doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks on 500-count Egyptian cotton massage table linens. Keep your eyes open for annual sales at popular department stores, Twin or Twin XL sheet sets will fit most massage tables and are typically available in 100% cotton, and in solids or fun prints. There’s plenty of variety out there, you’ll find something to suit your style and business. Flannel linens are particularly nice in the winter months and they are great for elderly clients with fragile skin.
PRO TIP: As you finish working on each area, clean your clients off by wrapping your hand in a small hand towel and wiping any residue off the client before you re-drape. It’s so much easier and cost-effective to replace towels more frequently, and you can wash a load of these “wipe off” towels separately from your sheets to preserve your sheets. Look for ivory colored hand towels, as these wipe off towels tend to yellow over time.
Ideally, you’ll wash your linens within one day of use. If you must wait to wash linens, store them in black plastic bags. Tie the bags shut to keep out air and light - the two things that turn oil rancid.
Once you hit the laundry room, use a warm water cycle. Hot water will cook the oil into linens instead of washing them clean.
Avoid over-drying linens, this cooks the oil in further. Use a medium dryness level setting and remove them as soon as they are dry.
Rescuing Stained Linens
If you’ve got some older or super-skunky linens, add Pure Pro Orange Linen Degreaser™ and use your washing machine’s soak cycle and let them soak for a few hours, then launder for 2 complete cycles to remove residue. Do not dry in between the two cycles.
For super stubborn stains (you know, from that time you got a gallon of cheap canola oil-based cream that wrecked your favorite sheets?) add bleach to the second wash so the bleach can penetrate after some of the oily build-up is gone.
Sometimes you do have to retire old linens that just can’t be fully cleaned. (Look for a local animal shelter accepting donations!) Let go and start again with new linens and all this knowledge to keep them clean and fresh for years to come.