Laundry management in hospitals: what is it?

This blog explores the indispensable role of laundry management in healthcare settings, particularly within hospitals, emphasising its crucial connection to infection control, patient safety, and regulatory compliance. The article delves into the intricate processes and challenges involved in maintaining a sterile environment, highlighting the importance of stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) and compliance with regulatory standards. It addresses the significance of effective laundry management in preventing the spread of infections and protecting both patients and healthcare workers. The piece also discusses emerging technologies, such as RFID, and emphasises the commitment to sustainability in hospital laundry operations.

Freya Gutteridge

Business & Insights


There aren't many places that are as important for following strict laundry management healthcare protocols as hospitals. As unwell patients move throughout the hospital and use various fabrics and linens during their stay, those fabrics and linens must be carefully washed to ensure their safe reuse. 

The significance of laundry management in healthcare settings extends far beyond mere cleanliness; it is an integral component of infection control, patient safety, and maintaining a sterile environment. 

In this article, we delve into the crucial aspects of laundry management in hospitals, exploring the processes, challenges, and the pivotal role it plays in upholding healthcare standards.

Infection control and patient safety

Hospitals are hotspots for various pathogens, and the linens and fabrics that come into contact with patients can harbour infectious agents. Effective laundry management in healthcare settings is paramount for preventing the spread of infections and safeguarding the health of both patients and healthcare workers. 

Contaminated linens can act as a vector for bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, posing a significant risk to vulnerable patients. Rigorous washing, disinfection, and drying processes are employed to eliminate these microorganisms, ensuring that linens are returned to circulation in a safe and sanitary condition.

Working to standard operating procedures:

Laundry management healthcare in hospitals operates under stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) to maintain a hygienic and controlled environment. These SOPs encompass every aspect of the laundry process, from the collection of soiled linens to their transportation, sorting, washing, and eventual distribution. 

Automated washing machines equipped with advanced disinfection features, temperature control, and precise detergent dispensing are employed to meet the high standards required in healthcare settings. 

Numerous NHS trusts recommend washing at 60°C or higher, though, we are able to achieve the same high-quality results at lower temperatures using groundbreaking Ozone technology. This allows us to both save energy, and either lower or cut out the use of environmentally harmful detergents.

Compliance with regulatory standards

Given the critical nature of hospital laundry management, healthcare facilities must adhere to a multitude of regulatory standards and guidelines, which come from NHS trusts. 

NHS trusts prescribe specific protocols for laundry processes to ensure compliance with infection control and safety standards. Strict adherence to these regulations not only protects patients but also shields hospitals from legal ramifications. Hospitals invest significantly in training staff, maintaining state-of-the-art laundry facilities, and regularly updating protocols to align with evolving industry standards.

In addition to compliance, we have secured EN 14065 accreditation which proves the quality of our service, and stringency of our own protocols. HTM 01-04, from the Department of Health, also provides guidance for those who process linen used in health and adult social care settings, which we comply with.

Challenges in hospital laundry management

Managing laundry in hospitals is not without its challenges. The sheer volume of linens generated daily in a hospital setting requires efficient logistics and processing capabilities. Additionally, the presence of various types of fabrics, from delicate patient gowns to heavy-duty operating room linens, demands a nuanced approach to laundering. Hospitals must also grapple with the environmental impact of laundry operations, aiming to balance the need for hygiene with sustainable practices.

Emerging technologies in laundry management

To address the challenges posed by the sheer scale and complexity of laundry management in healthcare, at Oxwash, we have developed innovative technologies that have been integrated into our process. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology is also being employed to track individual items, ensuring accountability and transparency in the laundry process.

Utilising user-friendly online platforms can streamline nearly any process, and the same is true for hospital laundry management. Whilst hospitals and healthcare settings themselves may struggle to secure and fund such platforms, we operate on our own bespoke platform which prioritises user-friendliness, efficiency and support.

Laundry management is essential to safe hospital operations

Laundry management in healthcare is a critical component of healthcare operations, playing a pivotal role in infection control, patient safety, and regulatory compliance. The meticulous adherence to standards, the implementation of advanced technologies, and the commitment to sustainability collectively define the modern approach to hospital laundry. 

As hospitals continue to evolve to meet the ever-growing demands of patient care, the significance of maintaining pristine linens through effective laundry management remains an unwavering priority in safeguarding public health.


We work with numerous healthcare partners on their laundry needs, learn more about how we support hospitals and contact our team to find out what we can do for you.
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