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Standard of Washing NHS Uniforms at Home

Over the past 12 months we’ve seen a shift in how employees launder their healthcare uniforms. Whilst onsite laundries have closed down during the pandemic, NHS staff are now required to launder their uniforms within the domestic setting. It’s therefore essential all staff understand the importance of transporting their worn scrubs home in a safe manner, as well as ensuring uniforms are washed appropriately to safeguard patients and colleagues. 

Effective hygiene and preventing infection transmissions are paramount in all healthcare settings. Uniforms and workwear should be washed after every wear and should not come into contact with patients or passerbys outside of care activities. 

 

Washing your clothes at the correct temperature is imperative

As highlighted in the NHS Uniforms and Workwear: Guidance for NHS Employers: “All elements of the washing process contribute to the removal of micro-organisms on fabric. Detergents (washing powder or liquid) and agitation release any soiling from the clothes, which is then removed by sheer volume of water during rinsing. Temperature also plays a part.” To remove almost all micro-organisms, the NHS infection control guidelines states to combine a duo of washing detergent and a minimum temperature of 60°C. All our healthcare workwear garments are suitable for industrial laundry and can withstand washing temperatures of up to 85°C. 

Keeping this in mind, it’s important to remember to follow individual wash care instructions to keep the garment at its highest quality, yet free from infection. A spokesperson for Meltemi has clarified that “All Meltemi garments are designed in line with the latest NHS infection control guidelines to ensure our products exceed the expectations. We recommend all clinical garments are washed at a minimum of 60 degrees individually or in a uniform set. We encourage wearers to separate the light and dark garments to avoid unnecessary colour staining and follow the care instructions on drying.”

 

How do I control infection transmission between finishing my shift and getting home? 

By keeping the risk of contamination down by actioning a careful laundry routine, we are able to help combat the spread of disease from person to person. Whilst correct  laundering is essential, it’s also important to consider how staff transport uniforms from work to home. It is advisable for staff members to change out of their clothing at their healthcare institution and transfer soiled clothing home within a sealed bag, the clothes should then be transferred to the washing machine as soon as possible and washed. Actioning this method will prevent the spread of bacteria carried on the fabric . 

 

What can I do to limit contamination on clothing? 

There are also several measures healthcare staff can take to limit the spread of bacteria from person to person whilst at work:

  • Always carry a spare uniform into work should you need to change where you can visibly see your uniform has been contaminated or soiled. Staff should always start each new day with a clean uniform.

  • Clean your washing machine and tumble dryer regularly.

  • Do not overload the washing machine when washing soiled clothes, overloading the machine will reduce the efficiency of the wash. Any items that are heavily soiled should be washed separately to the rest of your uniforms.

  • Avoid wearing neckties or lanyards during patient care activities as these can easily come into contact with infected areas and patients.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.

 

A healthcare provider's uniform is vital for both reassuring patients as well as protecting the wearer from contaminants. With Meltemi healthcare uniforms you can rest assured that you're invested in quality garments that won’t deteriorate quickly. All our garments are made with NHS staff needs at the forefront, from lightweight materials that guarantee maximum comfort during long hot shifts to being able to wash clothes regularly at high temperatures without risking the appearance of the garments and increasing infection control. 

From scrubs to tunics, outerwear and accessories we’re always here for you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our friendly team today on 01603 731330 or browse our healthcare range.