IN-HOUSE LAUNDRY SERVICES
Basic steps of the laundry operation:
1.0 Collecting soiled linens from wards
Nurses will be provided with plastic polythene bags in three different colors for proper categorization of linen as follows:-
1.1 Used Linen
Non Fouled-Linen used but not fouled by body fluids. The linen must be placed in a white linen bag for laundering.
Soiled and fouled Linen soiled by vomit, feaces, blood and pus and any bodily secretions must be first sluiced, then placed in a water soluble bag and then into a red linen bag for laundering. If insufficient red bags are available then soiled or fouled linen should be placed in a hot water soluble bag then into a white linen bag.
Theatre Linen- must be placed in green outer bags, if soiled, should be sluiced and placed in alginate bags.
1.2 Infected Linen
Linen used by patients already subject to infectious precautions (isolation) must be placed into a red water soluble bag and then into a red linen bag. Linen contaminated with cytotoxic waste must be placed into a water soluble bag and then into a red linen bag to go to the laundry.
1.3 Infested Linen
Linen must be placed into a water soluble bag and then into a red linen bag.
1.4 Patients own Laundry (OPTIONAL DEPENDING ON INSTITUITION)
When dealing with patients’ own ‘soiled ‘clothing i.e., covered in urine, vomit or feaces, linen should be placed in a water soluble alginate bag and then a green patient property bag. Hand the bag of clothing to the patients’ relative or career with clear instructions to put the red water soluble bag and contents in their domestic washing machine. Relatives/careers should be advised to set the washing machine at the temperature required to dissolve the bag (60 degrees) and that failure to do so could damage the machine.
Staff may also consider disposing of heavily soiled linen after discussion with the patient and their relative/ career to gain their consent. This must be documented by staff.
1.5 Frequency of linen change
Hospital linen must be changed and laundered between patients and when visibly soiled. The frequency of change will depend on the individual case e.g. daily for patient’s isolation or immediately if fouled.
1.6 Rejected Linen (NOT PROPERLY CLEANED)
Linen which is (or thought to be) contaminated must not be used and must be returned to the laundry for re-processing as rejected linen. All rejected linen must be placed in a pink plastic ‘rejected linen’ bag. With details of the Ward Number, bed number, etc.
2. Transporting soiled linens to the laundry
• Once the linens have been categorized and sluiced if necessary, they are kept in the provided bags and properly secured.
• The Heavily soiled and infectious linen are put together in one trolley and transported to the laundry.
• The other linens are also properly secured in the relevant bags and arranged in the trolleys & transported to the laundry.
• No linen should be kept on the floors or on the trolley wheels. NOTE:
Soiled damp linens should be washed promptly and not allowed to sit in trolleys, carts or chutes for long periods (to avoid mold and mildew growth).
Wear gloves when handling soiled linen. All linens should be opened up fully to look for stains and to shake out any loose items/soils wrapped up in the linen. Sort linens by load type and by degree of soiling.
4. Washer Loading
If you have a scale in the laundry (this is preferred), weigh out each load to within 90 to 100% of the recommended load. Do not overfill a machine or the quality of wash will suffer. Under -filled loads waste money and time.
• Select the appropriate washing machine program for the type of load in the washer and select the appropriate dispenser program number.
• Stagger the starting times of the washers at least 3 to 5 minutes apart (If you have many washing machines)
• The pre-wash should include disinfecting, followed by the main wash
Linens should be only slightly damp after the wash cycle is completed. If there is water dripping from the linens, contact the maintenance department to reset the extractor time
Lint filters should be cleaned at least once per day or as specified by the manufacturer. Dry linens as soon as the washer is finished. Do not mix load types in the dryer.
Do not over-dry linens; use a cool down tumbling period to minimize wrinkles. Do not leave linens in the dryer overnight.
Only feed linens at the proper moisture level through flatwork ironers. Keep the ironer clean and do not iron dirty linens.
Linens should be folded immediately after drying or ironing to minimize wrinkles. The person doing the folding should look for stains, excessive wear or tears and sort out these linens for additional treatment. Do not send an unacceptable piece of linen to a ward before repair or repeating the wash.
Let the linens rest for a day before using. This will increase linen life and decrease wrinkles. Arrange them well in the laundry store shelves after folding nicely, properly according to ward names or number. 11. Transferring linens to use area.
Keep the clean and folded linens off the floor. Do not jam a stack of linens into the ward attendant carts or onto shelves (may tear or wrinkle them).
Inventory – try to keep 1 to 2 pairs of linen on hand. Having to strip wards to collect soiled linens to begin washing is a waste of labor and prevents the linens from resting. Take inventory every couple months and replace linens as needed for maintenance.
Use spring loaded cart inserts to keep the linens within reach of the workers. Keep the inserts and the carts cleaned regularly (especially the bottoms). If possible, have carts designated for dirty linens and separate carts for clean linen.
Keep an adequate supply of rags in the laundry and on the room attendant carts, so workers will not be tempted to use good linens where they may be ruined.
Keep the floor of the laundry swept to discourage ants from being attracted to pieces of food dropped from the linens during sorting. The laundry floor should be cleaned & disinfected regularly.
13. Linen Care
Torn linens are repaired in one of the laundry rooms to avoid the increase on the torn area.
BASIC LAUNDRY DETERGENTS & DISINFECTANTS