Not in my laundry room, if you please, says John Middleton, managing director of commercial laundry company JTM Service, who offers these top tips to an effective laundry service
Clean and dirty areas: Have clearly-defined clean and dirty areas, with hand washing facilities and hygiene stations in the latter. Freshly washed linen and clothing in clean areas should be stored in the clear area, preferably in off-the-ground storage with doors or in trays.
Entry and exit: Implement a one-way system, so dirty laundry enters through one door and clean linen leaves via another.
Training: Ensure all staff involved in the laundry process have received appropriate training in how to handle infected linen and clothing.
Access: Restrict access to laundry room staff
Employee clothing: Ensure all staff wear gloves and aprons, when removing and handling infected linen and clothing.
Trolleys: Colour-code laundry trolleys, so those for infected clothing can be distinguished easily from those for dirty and clean linen. Ideally, infected clothing should be placed in securely-tied red alginate bags and dirty linen in white bags. Implement regular checks to ensure trolleys for infected, dirty and clean linen do not come into contact.
Laundering: Wash infected linen separately from dirty clothing, preferably in those red alginate bags.
Disinfecting: Disinfect all affected linen at the appropriate temperatures, to kill bacteria and remove contamination, for the specified periods (current recommendations are hot washes of 65 degrees centigrade for 10 minutes or 71 degrees for three minutes, within wash cycles). Disinfect any relevant linen or clothing that cannot be washed at high temperatures using detergents suitable for use with cooler water.
Cleaning the rooms: Implement a documented cleaning routine for laundry room surfaces, floors and trolleys, ensuring they are treated daily with appropriate antibacterial agents.
WRAS compliance: Check with your supplier or with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) that your laundry equipment is WRAS-compliant. Care homes must take care not to introduce category 5 fluids (which present a serious health hazard because of their concentrations of radioactive or other highly toxic substances, including faecal material and other human waste) into the general water supply. The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 can impose heavy fines on care homes for non-compliance.