When hospitals and other healthcare facilities review linen, uniform and facility services options, every laundry under consideration should be Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified. The certification reflects laundries’ commitment to best management practices (BMPs) in laundering as verified by third-party inspection and their capability to produce hygienically clean textiles as quantified by ongoing microbial testing. A laundry’s dedication to compliance and processing healthcare linens and garments using BMPs as described in its quality assurance documentation (QA) is confirmed. QA is the focus of inspectors’ evaluation of critical control points to minimize risk.
The independent, third-party inspection confirms essential evidence that:
- Employees are properly trained and protected
- Managers understand legal requirements
- Physical plant operates effectively
Laundries pass three rounds of outcome-based microbial testing, indicating that their processes are producing Hygienically Clean Healthcare linens and garments and negligible presence of harmful bacteria. To maintain certification, laundry plants must pass quarterly testing to ensure that as laundry conditions change, such as water quality, textile fabric composition and wash chemistry, laundered product quality is consistently maintained.
This process eliminates subjectivity by focusing on outcomes and results that verify textiles cleaned in these facilities meet appropriate hygienically clean standards and BMPs for hospitals, surgery centers, medical offices, nursing homes and other medical facilities.
Hygienically Clean Healthcare certification acknowledges laundries’ effectiveness in protecting healthcare operations through testing and inspections that scrutinize quality control procedures in textile services operations related to the handling of textiles containing blood and other potentially infectious materials.
Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified laundries use processes, chemicals and BMPs acknowledged by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, American National Standards Institute and others. Introduced in 2012, Hygienically Clean Healthcare brought to North America the international cleanliness standards for healthcare linens and garments used worldwide by the Certification Association for Professional Textile Services and the European Committee for Standardization.
Objective experts in epidemiology, infection control, nursing and other healthcare professions work with launderers to ensure the certification continues to enforce the highest standards for producing clean healthcare textiles.
Processes, chemicals or procedures to achieve BMPs are not stipulated - only that whatever protocols the laundry deems appropriate are documented and practiced. Hygienically Clean Healthcare certified laundries are free to practice whatever tactics are needed to meet Minimum Performance Specifications for bacteriological testing. But they must document their tactics including written quality control procedures.
Hygienically Clean is an established threshold that guides the reduction of pathogens on textile products to levels that pose no threat of human illness. The following research provides scientific, quantitative definitions that explicitly establish and validate levels that define hygienically clean; and documents the emerging importance to the U.S. healthcare industry of quantifying and verifying textile hygiene.