The Textile Services Association (TSA) and De Montfort University Leicester U.K. (DMU) is proposing a new hygiene protocol for laundries that clean textiles for hospitals test based on a collaborative a research project. The study, run by DMU microbiologist Professor Katie Laird, included developing a hygiene protocol test for laundries that would help guarantee textiles are hygienically clean.
The primary focus of this research was to create a test method to determine the ability of any laundry process to disinfect textile items. In the wake of Covid, the research project switched to determine whether Coronavirus could survive on and be transmitted by textiles before the project team could get back to the main research objectives.
Professor Laird and her team were able to determine that human models of SARS-CoV-2 could survive on textiles for up to 48 hours. The research also inferred that if the laundry was washed at 40°C and above in a typical wash program, no trace of the virus was being found in the resultant laundry load. Furthermore it also prevented a pointless increase in the industry’s carbon footprint, by making initial demands for 90°C washes unnecessary.
Following this, the focus of the research returned to developing test protocols for all laundry processes over 60°C, to ensure that bacteria and viruses are killed during the wash process. The resulting protocol is now being proposed for adoption by laundries that clean textiles for hospitals. Meanwhile, TSA and DMU will be continuing their collaboration to understand the needs of other healthcare-related sectors, such as long-term care homes to help improve standards.
“As many members of the TSA provide laundry services for the healthcare sector it is vital that we support them to ensure they are attaining the highest possible standards,” said David Stevens, TSA CEO. The TSA represents commercial laundry and textile rental businesses. Membership ranges from family-run operations through to large, multi-national companies. Visit www.tsa-uk.org for more information.