Commercial laundry linens and items in a Senior Living facility need regular cleaning to ensure infection prevention protocols and residents are satisfied. Make sure these proper laundry procedures are part of your laundry process and find the commercial laundry equipment you need.

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Step 1: Collection – Set up collection points and gather soiled laundry

Collect commercial laundry linens and laundry when a bed is changed and place a fresh bag in the resident room. Make collection points visible and accessible in your laundry process, and set them up throughout the building or wing.

Room layouts will dictate how many collection points there are, so communicate where they are and a regular pick-up/drop-off schedule with staff and residents.

In some communities, bedding, bath and personal attire are collected in one container, and then divided back out again in the laundry room. If space exists, use separate receptacles for each line.

Infection Control Tip! Avoid overstuffing during soiled laundry management infection control

Overstuffed laundry bags can cause soiled linen to sit for more than 24 hours. In the case of wet linens, this may contribute to bacteria growth and greater infection risk.

In addition, overstuffed bags can contribute to staff injuries and damaged linens.

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Step 2: Sorting – Separate, weigh and transfer “like” commercial laundry items

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During your laundry process, sort “like” items, including:

  • Similar colors (specifically lights and darks)
  • Similar fabric types
    • Any percent polyester-blended items can be washed together
    • 100% cotton items should be washed with cotton due to temperature needs
    • Microfiber should always be washed separately
  • Overly soiled linens (incontinent pads, cleaning cloths, items soiled with bodily fluids)

Determine the right chemical formulas with a qualified chemical vendor. Each type of item requires a unique chemical formula to ensure infection control, increase the life of the linens and save costs.

Work closely with a qualified chemical vendor to set the formulas for different types of commercial laundry linen. The chemical vendor should check formulas and equipment at least once per month for correct chemical mix and dispenser alarms.

Weigh the laundry before placing it in the washer/extractor. This will help to:

  • Decrease costs – under-filling machines can create inefficiencies and increase costs of labor, chemicals, water and energy
  • Maintain the life of the linen – over-filling can damage linen
  • Maintain the life of the commercial laundry equipment

In general, washing machines work best at about 80% of capacity, depending on the extractor.

Infection Control Tip! Always measure chemicals and weigh laundry

Each type of item requires a unique chemical formula to ensure adequate disinfection. Also, if a machine is over-filled, the item will not have the appropriate amount of space to be cleaned and disinfected.

Commercial Laundry Equipment Used

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Step 3: Laundering – Use washers/extractors and dryers to clean, disinfect and dry the commercial laundry; follow any item laundry instructions

Once laundry is collected, sorted and weighed, the commercial laundry machines will take care of most of the work during this step. Remember to ensure the correct chemical formulas and weights. In general, washing machines work best at about 80% of capacity, depending on the extractor.

More-efficient commercial laundry equipment uses less water and energy. So a higher cost up-front will save you money in the long run during this step.

Do not over-dry the laundry. Over-drying increases energy, labor and linen costs. Finished laundry should have a slight amount of moisture when removed from the dryer. It should not feel hot.

Infection Control Tip! Disinfect laundry machines

Take a disinfectant wipe to the inside of washing machines and dryers in between cycles to remove additional microbes that may not have been eliminated during the laundry process. To avoid ruining certain textiles, do not use a bleach wipe. Hydrogen peroxide wipes offer similar kill claims with fewer harmful aftereffects. Be sure that any disinfecting wipe is an EPA-registered List N disinfectant. This is an important step in soiled laundry management infection control.

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Step 4: Distributing – Restock linen closets

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Fold and place laundry on linen or distribution carts and take to a centralized closet on each wing.

Make linen distribution spots convenient for staff, ideally one per wing. Otherwise, employees tend to horde the linens to save time and effort.

Check and maintain stocking levels on a regular basis. Overstocking will take up unnecessary space and increase upfront linen costs. Understocking will decrease staff efficiency promote employee linen hoarding. It can also decrease the life of the linen due to increased laundering.

Infection Control Tip! Disinfect hampers and carts

Clean and disinfect all clothes and linen hampers and carts after each use using a non-bleach disinfecting wipe.

Commercial Laundry Equipment Used

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Optional Step: Labeling – This step occurs if a facility has a laundry service in place to wash residents’ personal items

Avoid losses and frustrated residents by correctly labeling personal items. Labels can also speed up the distribution process and increase on-time laundry deliveries. Discover labeling systems and accessories.

Direct Supply can support all your commercial laundry needs.

Follow these steps to do laundry and our laundry process flow chart. You’ll be on your way to better soiled laundry management infection control, more efficient processes and cost savings. 

Find everything you need to ensure to help reduce disease transmission and cross-contamination with Direct Supply’s full lineup of laundry essentials. Or, call 800-634-7328 anytime to discuss your needs.

For more commercial laundry infection control tips, find the 4 most common infection control mistakes made during the process.