Nurses and healthcare workers across the UK have concerns about washing their uniforms at home, and scientific observations are beginning to show that these concerns have merit. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, attention is being paid to how germs can spread on clothing. The findings indicate that uniforms must be washed properly, and the domestic washing machine is often not up to the job.
When it comes to viruses, bacteria, and micro-organisms, domestic washing machines may not reach the required temperatures to eradicate these pathogens. The issue is confounded over time because washing machines may no longer reach the wash cycle temperatures they advertise, once they have been in operation for some time.
This diminishing performance poses a real risk in increasing the chances of cross-contamination. Nurses and healthcare workers might follow government guidelines, but their washing machine’s performance may fail their good intentions.
Domestic washing machine design focuses on clothing appearance after washing and economical washing. Industrial washers focus on eradicating traces of viruses and bacteria, through high-temperature wash cycles.
To achieve the best hygiene standards, nurses’ uniforms and scrubs should not be taken home for washing. Additionally, taking laundry back in disposable bags can have a psychological effect on nurses, healthcare workers, and their families.
Infectious disease research on domestic washing machines
The Infectious Disease Research Group at De Montfort University in Leicester is raising its concerns with the government. They highlight that scientific observations and tests have found that domestic washing is not a sufficient route to uniform decontamination.
Nurses run a real risk of contaminating their home environment if they take their uniforms home. When there is no segregation between laundry, viruses can transfer onto other items in that wash load. If nurses wash uniforms in a separate load, there is still a risk that the uniform will transport the virus back into healthcare environments, the next time it is worn.
Industrial washing of uniforms or uniform rental services are set up for dealing with healthcare uniforms, Stringent standards and hygienic processes are followed to ensure workwear is sterilised.
Contact Lindstrom today to find out how our workwear rental service can keep nurses, patients, and families safe from the risks of transmitting COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.