It’s that time of year when the weather’s starting to get colder and the cold and flu season is starting to kick in. It’s also that time of year when vulnerable groups, such as older people and babies, are more susceptible to picking up the illnesses that are doing the rounds.
Keeping cold and flu at bay, as well as other seasonal bugs, can be a real challenge for care home managers, as it just takes one resident to become poorly and for their germs to be passed to everyone else.
Residents’ visitors, your suppliers and your members of staff can all contribute to the spread of infection without even realising it as they come and go and go about their daily business.
Of course, keeping poorly residents away from others as much as possible and communal areas clean and disinfected at all times can help reduce the risk of infection. However, what many care home managers don’t realise, is that their laundry plays a huge part in this picture too.
Your laundry habits could be spreading germs
Believe it or not, your laundry routine could actually be hampering your efforts to keep bugs at bay. You see, according to research carried out by waste charity, Wrap, your laundry could be what makes you, your staff and your residents ill this winter.
They’ve published a set of figures that show that four in ten washes are done on settings that are too cold to kill bacteria. While running washes at 30°C is far more energy efficient, it’s not hot enough to eliminate germs on fabrics.
Underwear, bedsheets and kitchen and bathroom linen should all be washed at much higher temperatures, such as 60°C or 90°C, which are high enough temperatures to kill off any potentially harmful pathogens that may be lurking around.
Have your laundry appliances been given a clean bill of health?
Laundry routines aside, when was the last time you reviewed the condition of your appliances? First things first, you should ideally be using commercial and not domestic equipment to ensure that your laundry is:
- Cleaned to the right standard (CFPP 01/04 and NHS HSG (95) 18 standards).
Having commercial systems in place will also ensure that your machines are fit for purpose and will continue to produce the right results, day in, day out, year after year.
Washing machine drums can also harbour all sorts of germs and hidden nasties, so while you’re reviewing the temperature of your cycles, it’s also worth you checking the condition of your machines too. Regular, comprehensive services will help you get on top of and stay on top of this issue and are carried out by most industry-leading commercial laundry specialists. (For more information about our services, visit http://www.jtmservice.co.uk/service-repairs/).
When you’re stocking up on extra antibacterial products and tissues in preparation for winter, be sure to focus on your laundry routines and appliances too. Will they be helping you to fight infection or spread it this year?