4 Reasons Why Your Veterinary Practice’s Laundry is Not Clean - Vet Relief Staffing | Veterinary System Services
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4 Reasons Why Your Veterinary Practice’s Laundry is Not Clean

Do you come home from a busy day at the hospital, and toss your scrubs in your washing machine already filled with your bath towels? You may think your typical washing machine is tough enough to handle various body fluids, such as anal gland fluid and hydromorphone-induced vomit, but your machine may not be appropriately sanitizing your scrubs. Without medical-grade washing machines and detergents, along with proper handling procedures, your bath towels may now be contaminated with the calicivirus-laden respiratory secretions of a sick kitten, and the parvo particles from the bloody diarrhea that poor pup leaked as you placed an IV catheter. Your next shower may strip pathogens from your skin, but those contaminated bath towels aren’t doing your hygiene any favors.

Now that you’re sufficiently disgusted, consider investing in a medical-grade laundry service to ensure your hospital’s linens and your team’s scrubs are clean and disease-free. Let’s look deeper at why your practice’s linens may not reach the CDC and OSHA’s standards regarding medical laundry.

#1: Your practice does not have the correct laundry equipment

Have you ever tossed your dog’s stinky bed into your washing machine at home, hoping to remove that thick layer of fur and natural eau de canine? The sopping-wet bed you pull out likely smells like a wet dog, and a pile of fur has been left behind. Your at-home washer cannot tackle such tough jobs, no matter how high-end. Most private veterinary practices use the same home washers and dryers, which means your linens do not get clean enough to reach medical grade. In addition to lacking the extra qualities needed for ensuring the hygienic properties of medical laundry, typical hot-water heaters do not get the water hot enough to destroy all pathogens. Without medical-grade equipment, medical-grade clean laundry is impossible to achieve.

#2: Your practice is not using appropriate laundry detergents

As a veterinary professional, you understand that using the appropriate disinfectant to battle pathogens is critical in your hospital. For example, you know better than to use a quaternary ammonium compound on your isolation ward that housed a litter of parvo puppies. The same concept applies to your hospital’s linens. While name-brand laundry detergents work well for stains and spills on your clothes at home, they can’t tackle the tough messes from a veterinary hospital. Not only are they unable to remove challenging stains of suspicious origin, they also fail to appropriately sanitize your surgical linens, oncology patients’ bedding, or your kennel laundry. At Veterinary System Services, you can rest assured we use detergent that will banish any pathogens from your linens, and ensure your patients’ safety.

#3: Your practice’s linens trap pathogens

Your community is filled with wonderful people who think of the animals at shelters and veterinary hospitals when spring-cleaning their homes, and you receive a load of donated, perhaps worn and outdated, linens and towels to line your patients’ kennels or cushion pets recovering from surgery. While that’s a kind gesture, these donated items likely come packed with pathogens. Remember—at-home washing machines and dryers simply cannot remove germs, because the water does not reach the hot temperatures necessary for destroying pathogens, plus the items likely weren’t washed in the appropriate detergent. In addition, linens from kind pet lovers, although clean, are unsanitized, and may be one of many textiles notorious for their germ-protection skills. Removing pathogens from certain fabrics during the washing process can be extremely difficult, especially without the aid of medical-grade laundry equipment. 

#4: Your practice is performing incorrect laundry procedures 

Strict procedures are in place to correctly launder medical linens to avoid contamination. Human laundry services use a “barrier system” to prevent contaminating clean laundry by separating dirty laundry from clean, and washing hands in between handling loads. While your team may wear gloves to toss dirty laundry in the washer, do they remove those gloves before removing and folding the clean laundry from the dryer? Or, does your team react to the pile of vomit on a blanket by tossing it straight into the washer, without removing the solid waste? If your team has not been educated on correct laundry handling to avoid contamination, they may be inadvertently creating more dirty laundry than they wash. 

Disgusted at the thought of what may be lurking in your practice’s laundry? When you let Veterinary System Services handle your dirty laundry, you can be confident that we return clean, sanitized linens for your furry patients. Contact us for a free consultation, and get started on our veterinary laundry services.

Brad Patton

Brad’s love for animals and exposure to working with them has come in many forms, and spanned decades. From volunteer work, that includes 5 years with the Denver Dumb Friends League, to countless hours being a victim for Search and Rescue dogs, or a chew toy for police dogs, he has a passion for working with animals. In college, Brad worked for a small, three-doctor practice cleaning kennels. Before starting VSS, he spent almost 10 years as an inventory manager for one of the state’s largest animal hospitals. He has seen this industry from many angles.