reusable and disposable textiles Reusable and disposable textiles have their pros and cons. From cost and effectiveness to environmental concerns, textiles impact more than you might think. It’s important to find linens that check as many boxes as possible. Picking the right linens and garments for your business depends on a variety of factors. Here are the pros and cons of reusable and disposable textiles:


Disposable textiles have long been touted as the most pocket-friendly method of textile supply. Without laundering costs to maintain reusable textiles, disposables are marketed as more cost-effective. Add onto the argument the sterility of one-time-use textiles, and you have a strong case for disposables.    However, the long-term costs of constantly purchasing new, disposable textiles adds up drastically. In surgery, for example, the average cost of disposable linen use per operation is around $41.97, including disposal and transportation costs. Reusable linens, by contrast, average $40.49 per operation, including laundering and transportation costs.  It doesn’t take much math to put the facts together. That extra $1.48, multiplied by every surgery performed, amounts to a substantial number. In 2010, 51.4 million inpatient procedures were performed in the U.S.. If they’d all been done with disposable linens, they would have cost $76,072,000 dollars more than their reusable counterparts.   

The Hidden Costs Of Disposable Linens

There are also some unforeseen variables with disposable linens that increase their costs. For example, because of their low-quality, multiple sheets must be used to create a thick barrier between patients and the surfaces they lay on. You have to use more sheets to get the job done and more time to set them up.  Disposable garments are also more difficult to attach to patients, and securing them takes more time than it would with reusable linens. 


Though disposable drapes and surgical gowns are here to stay thanks to their microbe-barring abilities, there are some substantial downsides to their uses.  Disposable linens do not absorb liquids nearly as well as reusables. As a result, procedures that involve fluids coming into contact with linens aren’t absorbed and contained. Instead, they pool or trickle onto the floor, increasing clean-up time, costs, and sanitary concerns.  Disposable linens also have a tendency to crack and tear, particularly if the materials aren’t high quality. They shed more particles than reusables as well, further increasing operational costs.   


By far, disposables outweigh reusable linens in terms of environmental damage. From manufacturing materials and requirements, washing, transport, and end-life, reusable linens vastly outperform disposable.  A study performed by PE International and commissioned by the TRSA found the following: 
  • Reusable isolation gowns greatly outperformed disposables in environmental impact.
  • Reusable wipes scored better than disposables in all but one category.
  • Transportation is a negligible factor of environmental impact relative to the sourcing and production of textiles.

Reusable Textiles Have the Advantage

When all is said and done, reusable textiles save time and money long term while creating less damage on the environment. However, running an in-house laundry or laundering linens yourself is time consuming and expensive. That’s why a reliable linen provider is a great option.  

Tipton Linen is Here for You

If you want a hassle and worry-free linen rental experience from a time-tested and proven provider of quality materials, Tipton Linen is the right fit. Our reusable linens are just as convenient as disposables. They are environmentally friendly, easy to manage, and they won’t break your budget. As a family-owned business, Tipton Linen is dedicated to serving you and getting the materials your business needs. We only succeed if your business succeeds, and we’ll do everything in our power to see that happen. Call us today at 1(800) 533-5670, or contact us here.