Why is the Laundry Process a Vital Part of Infection Control

Why is the Laundry Process a Vital Part of Infection Control

When one thinks of laundry, a dry cleaner might come to mind, coin laundry, or accidentally shrinking a favorite sweater. But did you know that commercial laundry is actually an important part of infection control in dental offices, hospitals, labs, and long-term care?  We teamed up with Dental Office Compliance of New England, LLC to put together the essential differentiators that commercial laundries have to handle PPE, linens, and other healthcare apparel properly and safely.

 

<You can read the full version of this topic here at Dental Office Compliance’s blog.>

 

What dental offices and healthcare facilities need that commercial laundries like Crown provide:

 

Training is a must for anyone handling laundry. At the end of the day, it’s likely that your clothes are contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious material (“OPIM”) so it’s important that workers know how to handle it, which PPE you should be wearing, and what to do in case of contamination.  This means untrained, front-desk personnel should not handle laundry.

 

Storage is also for controlling the spread of infection. It’s important that contaminated laundry is not mixed with non-contaminated laundry.  Always put contaminated, dirty or used garments in a container or bag that is:

  • Leak-proof, if the laundry is wet
  • Marked with a hazard warning (e.g., CAUTION: Clothing contaminated with lead)
  • Stored in a work area, with a handwashing facility nearby, not in an area with food or drink.

 

If using a commercial laundry to clean contaminated or potentially contaminated work clothes, remember to always inform your laundry service team – in writing – of the potentially harmful effects of exposure to lead.  This is an OSHA requirement. 

 

According to Dental Office Compliance and the CDC it is unsafe to handle your office’s dirty laundry without taking the necessary precautions.  Your employees and patients will be much better off if you do.

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