Created a decade ago only for launderers serving healthcare providers, laundry certification now applies to facilities serving every industry, thanks to TRSA’s independent Hygienically Clean program. In addition to healthcare and generic designations, specialty certifications cover:
Launderers who certify receive the benefits of increased efficiency, better-trained staffs and elevated consumer confidence that results from third-party verification. Implementation of Best Practices is critical to achieving certification. With these in place, a laundry is prepared to prove cleanliness, as the facility’s staff and physical plant are ready to face inspection.
However, demands of outsourced laundering truly diverge. Food Service (restaurants, institutions, catering) differs from Food Safety (animal processing, dairies, produce packaging, et al). Petrochemical soils from uniforms and textiles found in the Industrial/Manufacturing segments of business pose challenges and hazards completely different than the human pathogens found in linens and textiles utilized in Healthcare facilities.
Across the board, one thing is certain: TRSA’s Hygienically Clean, third-party, quantitative biological testing and certification of cleanliness not only ensures better health and human safety, it promotes higher standards throughout the laundry industry, effecting greater efficiency, better-trained personnel, and a boost in consumer/client confidence—all of which promotes increased successful trade.
While no U.S. government agency, regulatory board or agency has set an “acceptable bacterial level” for textiles, Hygienically Clean ascribes to the total microbial content standards for finished textile product hygiene established 30 years ago by the Certification Association for Professional Textile Services and used worldwide. For healthcare and hospitality, this level is 20 colony forming units (CFU) or less per square decimeter as determined by the RODAC plate test. Some bioindicators may not be present in any quantity; in the United States, their absence is determined using the USP 62 procedure.
Tunnel washers boost laundry productivity dramatically and conserve chemicals, heat and especially water. In some cases, extensive water reuse, coupled with limited infusions of fresh water, has led to bacterial growth in tunnel reuse tanks. This was uncovered via textile testing for Hygienically Clean certification, prompting laundry technicians to adjust wash chemistry to eliminate the problem. On at least three occasions, plants that were already accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) had these problems.