Hospitals, clinics, care homes, GP surgeries, dentists and health centres are all increasingly realising the benefits to be had from operating their own in-house healthcare laundry and disinfection facilities.

By taking control of their own destiny in terms of meeting key compliance guidelines – rather than relying on a costly outside facility to meet criteria on their behalf – such sites can better protect staff, patients and residents against the risk of HAIs, general outbreaks and seasonal microbial cross-contamination.

Thermal or ozone disinfection?

While traditional thermal disinfection has a role to play in maintaining the hygiene of commercial sites, low temperature innovations such as OTEX ozone washer system offer a higher level of performance. 99.999% of bacteria such as MRSA, C.Diff, Norovirus and the like are all powerless to survive its natural disinfection qualities, and ‘green’ benefits of reduced water and energy usage are also a benefit.

Whether you need your in-house medical laundry to process bed sheets, hspital linen, cubicle curtains, personal items of clothing or the microfibre you use to clean floors & surfaces, ozone disinfection is superior to more widespread methods and has received Department of Health recognition to that effect, having been acknowledged by the Rapid Review Panel (Recommendation 1*).

Jackie Hook, JLA’s in-house Chemist has been working with OTEX for over a decade and explains:

OTEX ticks all the boxes for a healthcare organisation. It disinfects at low temperatures on every cycle saving energy, with simple procedures reducing user operator errors; it can be used in both our free-standing washers and barrier washers with a range of machine sizes up to 90Kg; and whilst naturally powerful as a disinfectant it will not damage the fibres of the laundry – ozone washing actually increases the lifespan of many fabrics. Other laundry methods have their place, but no other solution offers the all-round peace of mind that OTEX does. As the Rapid Review Panel acknowledged in 2009, ozone is more effective in decontamination than traditional methods.*

JLA’S 5 MUST-HAVES FOR ON-PREMISE HEALTHCARE LAUNDRY:

1. Robust, reliable laundry equipment

It’s vital to have commercial (or even industrial) grade washing machines and dryers that offer a means of thermal disinfection at least – but ideally ozone disinfection. Make sure the equipment you choose is right for your operational needs, and will help you meet compliance responsibilities such as those set out in DoH guidelines for disinfection verification.

2. A clear understanding of the laundry needs in your organisation

How much laundry do you need to process, and which regulations will you need to uphold? Ask your laundry supplier for a laundry audit survey, which will allow them to advise on the machine capacities and features you will need for the most cost-effective and easy-to-use laundry facility. The best advice will also include planning and design assistance to make sure you get the most out of the space you have available.

3. Well-designed laundry layout

Clear segregation of dirty and clean areas is paramount to good infection control procedures. Making most of the laundry area will ensure the process flows more effectively from dirty to clean, provide a good working environment and reduce the risk of cross contamination.

4. Sufficiently trained staff

Often overlooked, or simply not available from laundry companies who prefer to sell products instead of solutions, staff training is vital to maintaining an efficient, hygienic workflow in your on-premise laundry. Only take equipment from a supplier if they can demonstrate how to use it, and also talk you through key safeguarding processes such as red bag sorting and general handling – which will protect your staff, patients and residents.

5. Service backup, 7 days a week

This not only means downtime will be kept to a minimum if a fault occurs, but also guards In an all-inclusive package like our own Total Care solution, service backup comes with an 8-working hour guarantee and 24/7 freephone support, so any staff member can contact us directly if a problem arises.

Our laundry safety inspection checklist is a great way to document and follow a robust infection control process in your laundry. You can use it in preparation for upcoming visits, but it’s also useful to keep as a reminder for best practices between inspections too.

laundry safety inspection checklist

At JLA we can support your infection control efforts and practices with expert adive, guidance on meeting CQC and other standards, and a range of equipment designed to combat the spread of bacteria and viruses in your onsite laundry. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

Get laundry support

Starting up and running a launderette can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re a coin-operated laundry novice. But by following a few simple steps – as well as advice from the experts at JLA – the process can be made much more simple than you might have thought.

To one of our customers, Peter Marks, washing was once an alien concept, but with JLA’s professional help, setting up his self service laundry was easy. Read on to discover hs secrets to success.​

How to manage a laundry business

From having a clear offering to ensuring you have the right equipment for the job, there’s lots to think about when working out how to manage a laundry business. Here are Peter’s top tips for starting and running a launderette business:

1. Only work with the best suppliers

I spoke to two laundry machine providers who were unhelpful to say the least and only wanted to ‘shift boxes’ – one even admitted that they ‘didn’t care’ where I got my service support from! Luckily, JLA came along and took care of everything for me.

My consultant Andrew Scott even has his own shop, which he took me to and literally walked me through the whole set-up needed for a successful launderette. I had lots of questions, but he had all the answers, and once I made the decision to work with JLA he made sure the layout planning, delivery and installation was completely hassle-free.

Even now, I think of him as my ‘Laundry Doctor’ and just pick up the phone to him if I ever have a problem or need advice on how to run my launderette. Training was also provided, so all my staff can offer great customer service too.

Looking after your kit

Even the highest-quality, most well-maintained washer can break down, so knowing the expiry dates for any warranties can come in handy. To make sure you have peace of mind, look out for services that help if something breaks.

For example, by signing up for Total Care for Laundry, our pay-per-month scheme, you can make sure your laundry business continues to run smoothly even when your washers need a repair.

2. Think big

My JLA washers enable me to get through large loads quickly, which means I can take more revenue over the course of a day. And my stacked dryers give me up to triple the capacity that would be possible from single machine units, without taking up any extra floor space.

It all adds up capacity-wise, and means we can take on contract work as well as seasonal ‘bulk’ work for sports teams and so on. During the All Blacks’ European tour, they stayed and trained here in Aylesbury… and chose us to do their kit washes!

On one occasion, we took on 42 black sacks of laundry, which we were able to turn around in 24 hours. We also did service washes for the Saudi Arabian team during the London Paralympics.

Selling Your Vision

Whenever you improve your offering, think about how to pitch your services to your target market. If you’re selling commercial laundry solutions to a hotel chain, for example, make sure you know what hotels require and explain how you can meet demand. Showing you know how they operate and what they need can only work in your favour.

3. Become a part of the community

We sponsor a local football team, and so we’re involved in the social aspect of the local area which has a population of 70,000. It helps get our name out there, and of course we have a little extra business every weekend when the muddy kits come in.

4. Don’t underestimate publicity

Advertise online and put your business into as many web directories as possible, and make sure you offer a one-stop laundry solution. I had flyers made up to advertise the fact that we do duvets, and we’re now washing 30-40 a week!

5. Always go the extra mile

We could quite easily have installed a vending machine in the shop, but I prefer to make my customers a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat while their loads are in. I get to know people which is the main benefit, but it also means people want to come back again and again… and tell their friends about The Lost Sock too. Providing free parking is also a must, to attract more busy customers, and you should never have a minimum order – if it needs washing, wash it!

6. Become a member of NALI

JLA advised me to go to an event put on by The National Association for the Launderette Industry, which I did. I got a real feel for what I needed to look out for, which coupled with JLA’s advice ensured I had everything in place before I opened my shop.

7. Visit other launderettes

My visit to Andrew’s shop was invaluable, and I’d recommend doing the same to other prospective shop owners. My doors are always open too, for anyone who wants to see JLA’s first-class equipment.

Before you start a laundry business or make any changes to an established one, always ask an expert who can advise on equipment, layouts, workflows, regulations and maintenance. Our team can help you make informed choices, and find the best kit for your specific needs.