Laundering to kill Germs: Microbiological Decontamination of Textiles

Dr Katie Laird | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Why is intervention required

With rises in Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) and antibiotic resistance, understanding possible transmissions routes of bacteria is paramount. One such route could be through textiles. It is well reported that microorganisms are able to survive on both inanimate and textile surfaces for extended periods of time (Burden et al., 2013, Fijan and Turk, 2012).  In recent years the focus on textiles as a possible route of infection has increased (Mitchell et al. 2015). In a healthcare environment, this could lead to domestically laundered nurse’s uniforms (as per UK Department of Health policy) being a source of contamination to the environment or patients if they have not been laundered correctly to ensure decontamination of bacteria.

In the school or nursery environment items such as hand towels shared by children or textiles found in the kitchen environment should also be decontaminated thoroughly as a standard infection control procedure.