Laundry Infection Control – Important Steps To Take
If you run or work in a commercial on-premise laundry, it’s more important than ever to follow laundry infection control best practice and reduce the daily (and nightly) occupational hazards that come with washing linen and personal items in large volumes. Here are the most important things to remember – and implement in your laundry process if you haven't already – to protect everyone in your business.
Expert laundry infection control advice to ensure cross-contamination is limited in your OPL
- Limit commercial laundry access to authorised staff only – do not use the laundry as a thoroughfare.
- Keep dirty laundry segregated from clean linen – avoid storing residents’ clothing in the laundry and certainly keep it away from the dirty area.
- Maintain good hygiene precautions – handwashing facilities, including soap and water should be provided, as well as alcohol gel where appropriate. Hands should be regularly washed for at least 20 seconds.
- Wipe down all surfaces daily – in particular washing machine and tumble dryer door handles, fascias and control buttons.
- Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – disposable aprons and gloves should be used as a minimum when handling dirty laundry.
- Check laundry chemicals daily – keep lids/caps on products to reduce any contamination (auto-dosing is the preferred method of chemical delivery to the washer).
New blog: Read our 7 Infection Control Tips >>
Special advice for care and healthcare laundries
- Domestic washers are not suitable for healthcare laundry providers – they do not maintain their temperature correctly and in many cases will contravene the UK water regulations*.
Browse commercial washers here >>
- Chemical disinfection cycle warning – DO NOT use the chemical disinfection cycle (this may be given as warm sluice on older machines) on your machine unless you have a chemical disinfectant additive which is proven to be effective with your machine. If unsure, speak to your supplier.
- Process foul and infected linen properly – health and care items such as kylies or incontinence sheets soiled with body fluid/spillages including blood and urine must be red-bagged and processed either by an ozone laundry disinfection system or traditional thermal disinfection cycle.
- Do NOT open red bags – these are for your protection against contaminated linens.
- Wash delicate items at highest temperature possible for the garment – alternatively, use an ozone laundry disinfection system.
- Sluice items and soiled linens to remove solids and pads before they reach the laundry. This SHOULD NOT be done within the laundry room. You may also consider alternatives to manual sluicing to mitigate the risks of handling contaminated items.
- Do not overload the machines – ¾ full is the recommended load.