OSHA defines contaminated laundry as “laundry which has been soiled with blood or OPIM" and includes towels, personal clothing, uniforms, scrub suits, gowns, and drapes for surgical procedures. Although contaminated textiles and fabrics in healthcare facilities can be a source of substantial numbers of pathogenic organisms, reports of HAIs linked to contaminated fabrics are so few in number that the overall risk of disease transmission during the laundry process is negligible.1
OSHA regulations prohibit home laundering of items considered PPE; however, experts disagree whether this regulation extends to uniforms and scrub suits that are not contaminated with blood or OPIM. Such items presumably do not differ appreciably from street clothes in the degree of bioburden and home laundering would remove the level of soil adequately. Clearly, employers must launder workers’ personal protective garments or uniforms contaminated with blood or OPIM (Table 4).1
Table 4. Recommendations for Contaminated Laundry.1
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