How soft-surface fabrics spread infection

November 25, 2014

Studies have found that fabrics harbor bacteria after coming into contact with patients, according to an article on the Becker's Infection Control and Clinical Quality. Soft-surface fabrics in the patient environment include scrubs, lab/white coats, privacy curtains and linens.

"These studies show that the strongest and deadliest of bacteria can live for a long time on fabrics," said Peg Luebbert, founder of Healthcare Interventions. "So it is up to healthcare workers to keep their scrubs and uniforms clean and hygienic. Laundering alone is not the solution because we know the risk of cross-contamination exists."

Surveys have shown that healthcare workers launder their hospital garments infrequently. A survey of 160 healthcare providers revealed their white coats were washed every 12 to 13 days and scrubs every 1.7 days. 

One of the issues surrounding the contamination of soft-surface fabrics is the lack of standard protocols, the article said.

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