Validation of laundry processes

The "Recommendations concerning the treatment of rest home linen" of the Belgian Health Council of 2005 apply to all rest homes nursing patients, elderly people, young children and disabled people.

The recommendations apply to all textiles used in these types of institutions: linen, OR linen or similar linen, professional clothing, the so-called 'delicate linen', residential patients' clothing, household linen, curtains, partition sheets, and bedding (mattresses, pillows, eiderdowns, blankets).

Whether the linen is the property of the institution or not (rented linen), the quality criteria for their treatment are identical.

laundry_0.pngBy treatment we understand the global approach of the linen from its use to its recuperation for a subsequent use (see figure). The treatment of the linen shall be the object of procedures and of evaluations concerning the respect of these procedures.
In order to supply quality linen (clean, soft hand, comfortable...) to patients as well as to the nursing home staff , the 2005 recommendations determine both the physical, chemical and microbiological objectives and quality criteria.

The also include a guide of good practices for linen treatment with the different treatment phases, also for special linen (contaminated linen, OR linen, 'delicate linen', linen for vulnerable patients, bedding...).

The laundries treating linen of nursing homes shall, besides the general recommendations, comply with the specific prescriptions concerning the installations, staff, collection, transportation and storage of dirty and clean linen, including the laundry and finishing procedures.

In addition to the usual quality standars, these laundries have to comply with :

  • physical objectives: comfort, aspect, visual cleanliness, odour, and certain physical properties (light, transpiration, detergents, bleaching agents, and disinfectants), resistance to mechanical and chemical wear up to 100 washing cycles, resistance to pilling, shrinking, yellowing/greying... even, in certain cases, absorption, hydrophobicity, permeation to air, burning behaviour or barrier properties against micro-organisms (e.g. linen and clothing uses in operation theatres)
  • chemical objectives: linen without chemical residues and skin-neutral pH value to avoid rash, irritation, and allergies
  • microbiological objectives: linen without pathogenic micro-organisms and/or micro-organisms causing hospital-related infections and with only a limited number of non-pathogenic micro-organisms. This is obtained by an appropriate laundry process and quality post treatments and presupposes a microbiological expertise in laundry processes and even in confectioned clothing.

The microbiological evaluation of the laundry process consists in the artificial contamination of sample cloths with representative test germs (usually Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli) and to submit them to a routine washing cycle. At the end of the washing cycle the sample cloths are analysed (count of surviving germs) to determine the washing efficiency in terms of disinfection. Simultaneously, the final rinse water is also subjected to a bacteriological analyses (count of surviving germs).

An effective laundry procedure must comply with the following criteria:

  • decrease of the number of test germs on the sample cloths with at least a factor 1/10000
  • maximum 10 other germs than the test germs /cm²
  • less than 100 germs per ml rinse liquid

Centexbel performs microbiological analyses and assesses the disinfection degree of your laundry processes and helps you to meet the microbiological quality criteria. Moreover, Centexbel assists you in meeting the chemical and physical quality criteria.