When we talk about washing or disinfecting garments or fabrics, most of us think only about the washing process itself. However, there are a range of factors and circumstances that must be considered for a washing and disinfecting process to be completed successfully. In laundries in hotels, aged care homes and hospitals, this aspect is vital as they are responsible for ensuring that all the linen is properly handled, so guaranteeing proper sterilisation to help create a safe environment.
This is why at Girbau we argue for the importance of good practice in laundries to create a safe environment, above all because the Covid-19 pandemic requires this, for guests, users or patients, and to do this we offer all our know-how to the sector to help them meet today's challenges.
Design is the first essential point to bear in mind
In designing laundries of this kind, where very high volumes of linen are processed, it must always be taken into account that they must be able to cope with these volumes efficiently. It is therefore vital to establish a hygienic flow of linen, but how is this done? To begin with, the work area must be laid out in three main areas: the dirty linen sorting area, the washing area and the clean area, which includes drying, ironing and folding, and have two completely separate doors, one for dirty linen to come in and another for clean linen to go out. These areas must be clearly separated and dirty linen must be sorted in an enclosed space with direct access to the washing area.
Picking up and transporting linen, one of the most delicate points
This process is often not given the importance it deserves, and this is a serious mistake because handling both dirty and clean linen together means there is a risk that clean items can be re-contaminated. Thus, apart from taking basic hygiene measures, special attention must be paid to other factors, such as collecting all the linen from the room before starting to clean it, separating linen depending on the degree or type of dirtiness and using water-soluble bags for linen suspected of being contaminated.
Washing and drying
While the linen emerges from the washing process thoroughly clean and disinfected, it can be re-contaminated by micro-organisms in the air, on surfaces and on employees' hands, and this means some basic hygiene rules must be followed. Drying and ironing are not just the final image of the item, but make the final contribution to the disinfecting cycle which began with the washing process. This is why it is important to set up a work flow that keeps to a minimum the number of times a single item is handled, to load the dryers with full batches and pay attention to the drying and ironing parameters, as incorrect drying favours the subsequent growth of micro-organisms.
The clean linen folding and despatch area, key factors in completing the process successfully.
All the work done in the laundry may be wasted if care is not taken over clean linen. Tidiness in this area is essential, and delivery and distribution systems must be as rapid as possible. Linen must be bagged with micro-perforated bagging systems or transported in closed trolleys which are not the ones used for collecting dirty linen.