Industrial laundries were developed in the Middle Ages, when large convents and monasteries used their own facilities. Hospitals and boarding schools followed this example. Today, there are several types of industrial laundries. Hospitals often use laundry chutes to collect used linens. These are transported to an industrial laundry, where they are sorted into three categories: regularly soiled, infected, or staff uniforms. They are laundered as appropriate, usually at high temperatures, to ensure that viruses, bacteria, and soil are cleaned and that the linens are hygienic before being returned to the hospital.
In India, Dhobi ghats provide laundry service to both institutions and households. Household linens and clothing are both collected on a fixed day of the week by the Dhobi , who washes the laundry at a ghat, which is often in a large Dhobi ghat zone where many Dhobis work at their own stall. Each stall is approximately four square metres. Laundry is washed in large tubs, rinsed, cleaned by beating on a stone made for the purpose, and then the linens are hung on lines to dry. Industrial linens are treated in steamers for several hours for hygienic reasons. Dhobis also iron linens.