Many medical laundry services make the claim that their products are “hygienically clean.” By taking this claim at face value, you might assume that it refers to a precise standard of cleanliness. Unfortunately, this advertising is not as clear as you would think.
By claiming that their laundry is “hygienically clean,” these companies give healthcare professionals and patients a sense of protection that is incomplete. There is no universal standard for an item being hygienically clean. Many cite the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, which is “free of pathogens in sufficient numbers to cause human illness.”
That sounds great, but there is no clear-cut definition that states explicitly what “sufficient numbers” means. When companies make the claim of having hygienically clean products, they mean that most pathogens were removed from the product, but couldn’t give a precise definition of exactly how clean their linens are.
Ensuring Patient Safety
So what’s problematic about this definition?
Patients are surrounded by healthcare textiles during their hospital stay, from the gowns they are given, to the sheets they sleep on, to the scrubs that nurses and doctors wear. These textiles can serve as reservoirs for the transmission of infectious pathogens. In a study, it was shown that bacteria such as VRE and MRSA can survive up to 90 days on textiles. If healthcare textiles aren’t fully cleaned, patients and healthcare staff who interact with them run a higher risk of infection.
We recommend that healthcare professionals take these steps to ensure their patients’ safety:
- Ask their laundry provider how they come up with their definitions of cleanliness
- Check for industry certifications
- Learn about the entire laundry process
We understand that it is important to go beyond a nebulous “hygienically clean” definition. We sanitize our medical scrub uniforms in the St. Louis, MO area through our Triple BioShield Protection® process, which kills up to 99.999% of pathogens and bacteria. We use EPA-registered sanitizers and bacteriostatic products into our laundry cycles, and our products such as scrub uniforms in Litchfield, IL and beyond undergo rigorous and routine quality assurance testing. Their sanitary status is backed up by independent lab evaluations.
Our goal is to be a true partner in your infection prevention efforts. To learn more about our commitment to our customers and their patients’ greater satisfaction, call us at 1-800-932-7472 or visit our website.