Two new certifications recently became available for laundry services.
Hygienically Clean Certification
The first certification is designed specifically for healthcare linen service providers working with hospital garments for the medical profession. This certification will soon be extended to launderers working within the food service industry as well.
In order for providers to qualify for the certification, they need to implement minimum standards of hygiene used in hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices and surgical centers. Facilities must also undergo and pass regular bacteriological testing and inspections. Based on the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) 61 Protocol, testing permits only trace levels of bacteria to remain present after laundering, ironing and packing is complete. The pass/fail criteria are a maximum of 20 colony forming units on samples of laundered hospital linen.
Processes and Further Testing
TRSA does not specify any particular laundry process in order to meet the requirements for certification. Instead, the Hygienically Clean program is results-based alone. Provided launderers meet a minimum standard of hygiene to meet the USP 61 Protocol, they can use any cleaning process they wish. The only additional regulation is that launderers document their procedures in a written manual.
On applying for the new certification, a facility will undergo an initial inspection followed by further inspection every three years. Bacteriological testing will be performed once a month for the first three months, and then once every six months on an ongoing basis after that.
The Hygienically Clean program will help launderers meet minimum standards of hygiene to prevent the spread of disease both within the healthcare facilities for which they work and within their own facilities, breaking the cycle of re-infection that plagues many medical practices.
Clean Green Certification
The second new certification concerns laundry facilities that focus their effort on environmentally friendly laundry processes. Certification is available to facilities that meet minimum standards of water and energy conservation and deploy best practices for water reclamation, recycling and reuse of materials.
Facilities must document their water management and energy use efficiency and deploy best practices in the following areas:
- Heat recovery and reuse of drained hot water, as well as removal of solid and liquid waste from used water
- Use of environmentally sound detergents
- Recycling of materials
- Energy use, including solar power and energy-efficient lighting
- Preventative maintenance
- Environmentally efficient use of vehicles
Processes and Further Testing
To qualify for the Clean Green certification, laundry facilities must undergo an audit to verify their processes, water use and energy use. Facilities are inspected once every three years to maintain their certification, though if they fail on any point of the criteria, they may be able to earn points toward certification by deploying additional environmentally friendly best practices.
With environmental concerns weighing heavily on both businesses and the public, the Clean Green certification offers laundry facilities an excellent opportunity to prove their excellent environmental records, leading to a boost in brand reputation and the possibility of winning new customers.