The dos and don’ts of laundry handling and processing for care home staff

Laundry processes play a fundamental role in helping reduce the spread of germs and infection within care homes.

Bacteria can be easily spread when handling and washing laundry, which is why it’s essential that staff fully understand the hygiene risks posed by dealing with dirty laundry and how to minimise them.

Ideally, all care home staff whose job it is to deal with the laundry processes should be trained on:

  • Infection control procedures
  • The best way to reduce cross-contamination
  • How to use appliances correctly.

Take a look at these dos and don’ts, they cover some of the fundamental principles that are involved when handling and washing soiled linen:

Handling Soiled Linen

Do – always take care when handling infected or soiled linen and transporting it from the bedroom to the laundry room.

Don’t – remove bed sheets or blankets or touch any other laundry without wearing disposable aprons and gloves.

Do – place linen on the correct trolley, according to the infection control procedures in place.

Don’t – leave dirty linen lying around in public areas. Take it directly to the laundry room and make sure your trolleys and bags remain sealed.

Do – if your uniform becomes soiled with blood or any other bodily fluids, change it immediately and treat it in the same way as soiled or contaminated linen. Do not take it home to wash as domestic machines cannot guarantee the removal of bacteria and you could cause contamination in your home.

 

Washing Soiled Linen

Do – use a disinfection cycle to clean your laundry. This means it will be washed at the right temperature to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Don’t – treat all of your laundry in the same way. Some fabrics aren’t suitable for hot disinfection cycles. In these cases, specialist non- biological detergents can be used that have been scientifically proven to destroy the H1N1 flu virus, MRSA and C. difficile spores from 30°C.

Do – wash dirty linen before infected or soiled linen.

Don’t – overload your machine(s) with laundry. This will only prevent items from circulating and being washed properly.

Do – always wash your hands if you happen to come into contact with any soiled linen whilst not wearing gloves. You should also dispose of aprons or gloves in the appropriate soiled waste bin to prevent cross-contamination.

How many of those dos and don’ts are familiar to you? We hope most, if not all of them are. For more best practice advice, download our free guide, ‘Laundry for Care Homes.’

For more details or to discuss your care home’s laundry requirements with us, get in touch with us today.

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