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Laundry Management and Decontamination

Laundry management and decontamination of linen used in care homes and nursing homes

50 CPD Points


1. Module Overview

To identify the key stages and criteria to control quality and hygiene in the laundering of bed linen and residents clothing in the care home environment.

There are Department of Health guidance documents and the detergent suppliers and machinery manufacturers can provide technical advice, but the care home staff and management team must possess the required knowledge and competence. This will require to be demonstrated by staff training records, laundry process specifications, process parameter check logs and quality control records, all of which may be requested at CQC audits.

The trade association for the industrial laundry sector, the Textile Services Association (TSA), works in close harmony with the healthcare sector and many of its members provide laundry services to hospitals, clinics and care homes. This very often includes the supply of bed linen, towels, uniforms and workwear as well as specialist surgical (OR) drapes and protective gowns.

The TSA has a specialist team of expert consultants and members who liaise closely with the  scientific departments who advise the healthcare sector, as well as international, european and national standards bodies and the many fabric, chemical and machinery manufacturers.

TSA has played a major role in developing laundry technologies over the years and none more so than in the last two years of the pandemic experience, when the antiviral qualities of laundry processing (and indeed hand washing) as well as ‘Covid-19 compliant’ factory procedures were required to be designed and practised. 

With all this experience, the TSA produced a technical bulletin ‘Laundry Matters – How laundry hygiene can help you and your care home’. This learning module develops some of the key stages involved in operating your on-site laundry to achieve hygienic quality. TSA can provide consultative services to guide and assist your compliance with a wide range of laundry, engineering, technical and energy requirements.

2. Learning Outcomes

  • Do you have a copy of the Department of Health HTM01-04 (4 part suite) guidance on ‘decontamination of linen for health and social care’. Are you aware of the principles of this document and able to make reference to and demonstrate how your laundry procedures comply. 
  • Do you have a flow chart or written description of the key stages of the laundry service procedures which apply to bed linen and towels, residents clothing and staff uniforms.
  • Can you demonstrate and reference the special procedures which you would implement for the laundry process in the event of any bacterial or viral outbreak and how to procure, use and launder/dispose of PPE.
  • Does your laundry have the facilities and equipment to ensure clean and safe separation of soiled work and clean work at all stages of the service.
  • Are you familiar with the basic procedures for recognising fabric types, understanding the care label symbols, separating fabric and colour types and selecting the correct programme (especially temperature) for washing and drying.
  • Do you understand the basic principles of the detergent properties and do you know how to pre-treat any stains before washing.
  • Do you know of the danger of folding and stacking tumble dried items which may be warm and humid and how this may lead to spontaneous combustion and a fire.
  • Do you interrogate the laundry machine service engineer during/after the visit to fully vet the service report. Do you ask if he is aware of the key stages of HTM01-04 which apply to engineering equipment and validation.
  • How do you control the laundering or disposal of any personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff or residents, especially if it may have become infected.
  • Do you ensure that staff training is adequate, that they are trained and certificated in the use of all laundry equipment and records are kept up to date. This should include specific safety training in all activities which they undertake and result in a Risk Assessment which is signed by the staff member and manager.

3. Module Topics

  • DoH guidance HTM01-04 documents awareness
  • The laundry service; flow chart key stages and equipment used
  • Viral or bacterial outbreak and procedures to adopt for Norovirus, Covid-19, Salmonella
  • Basic fabric care technology, fabric separation and soil types, care label symbols
  • Treatment of stains
  • Wash process selection; temperature, dip levels, mechanical action, extract speed
  • Tumble drying; temperature, time, cool-down control for synthetics and poly/cotton
  • Ironing temperatures and techniques
  • Laundry equipment; basic awareness of manufacturers’ instruction manual training and certification of safe and correct use in accordance with risk assessment

Laundry management and decontamination of linen used in care homes and nursing homes
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