It’s the most basic requirement when staying at a hotel: a nice, comfy bed to sleep in. The bed may be hard and it may be small, but there’s one thing that is not debatable: the bed must be clean.
Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case. Some hotels have tried to cut corners by enlisting the use of underground, non-certified laundromats to help them wash their linen. CCTV, the state-run broadcaster, went undercover in the dark world of hotel laundry and found these underground laundromats operate in unhygienic conditions and use chemical compounds so harsh they could be dangerous to the unlucky people who use them.
A reporter used a hidden camera to document a visit to one such facility in Dalian. The reporter said there were no signs or identifying features out front that marked the building as home to a laundromat. When he walked inside, he saw piles of laundry strewn all over the floor, with dirty water running throughout parts of the factory.
A closer look at the operations of the underground laundry showed numerous health and safety infractions. There were unmarked vats next to the washing machines containing white powder, later revealed to be strong acids and sodas used to clean the laundry.
These compounds include hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypoclorite, oxalic acid, and caustic soda, according to an industry insider who wanted to remain anonymous. He confirmed use of the dangerous chemicals is common.
An industry insider spoke said the powerful chemicals makes his job a lot easier:
It holds strong acids and bases along with strong bleaches; using these makes for easy washing done fast. In order to clean faster for whiter whites, these compounds are required. It’s awesome using these things; we (the workers) feel as though we’re using a nuclear bomb.
The compounds are not used in conjunction with any neutralizing agent to counteract their potency. Direct contact with skin from some of these compounds can lead to itching, reddening, or even an allergic reaction.
If your skin doesn’t come into contact with harsh chemicals while in a hotel, it could come into contact with dirty laundry instead. The reporter found some items aren’t cleaned at all; if it looks clean and is white, it’s simply ironed and repackaged.
Another practice is to indiscriminately mix laundry taken from a hospital with those taken from a hotel and wash them all together.
Those inside the facility say these practices are to make sure the laundry is as white as it can be, while cleanliness comes second.
Photos: CCTV News