Domestic laundering of nurses’ uniforms: what are the risks?

Article published in Nursing Times.

With rises in healthcare-acquired infections (HCAIs) and antibiotic resistance, understanding transmission routes of bacteria is paramount. One possible route is nurses’ uniforms, which they wash at home. A study found that trusts’ policies on home laundering were inconsistent and that staff did not always follow guidance. Another study showed that, when contaminated and sterile fabric samples were washed at 40°C, a small number of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria survived and cross-contamination occurred. This article details the two studies, describes the regulatory environment and discusses how to ensure adequate decontamination of uniforms.

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