Proper Handling and Laundering of Bed Linen Can Help Curb Infection

Fabrics are sometimes overlooked as a potential source of healthcare-acquired infection

August 14, 2020

Improperly disinfected bed linens can increase the risk of healthcare acquired infection (HAI), according  to an article on the Health Europa website.

Healthcare staff, too, can contract and spread infection when stripping beds or treating patients.

The good news is that correct laundering and handling can substantially reduce this COVID-19 contamination of bed linen can be effectively eliminated through standard hospital laundering methods.

Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) guidelines on laundry handling during the COVID-19 pandemic refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations. Common disinfectants and standard hot laundry procedures seems to be effective with the virus.

 According to the CDC:

  • Soiled linen can be transported in the hospital by cart or chute. Bagging linen is indicated if chutes are used since improperly designed chutes can be a means of spreading microorganisms throughout the hospital.
  • Sorting before washing protects both machinery and linen from the effects of objects in the linen and reduces the potential for recontamination of clean linen that sorting after washing requires.
  • A temperature of at least 71 C (160 F) for a minimum of 25 minutes is commonly recommended for hot-water washing. Chlorine bleach provides an extra margin of safety.

Read the full Health Europa article.

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Topic Area: Infection Control

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