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18/03/2020
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COVID-19 and your laundry practices

By now, we are all well aware of the new novel  coronavirus (2019-nCoV  / COVID-19) and the steps we must all be taking to protect ourselves and those around us, but what about your laundry?

Very little is still known about the COVID-19 virus so we have put together a few pointers below working from industry best practice and current hygiene guidelines, but please consult and listen to your relevant local government authorizes on how to handle this situation as it unfolds.

Now more than ever it can not be overstated how important it is for us all to ensure we are keeping on top of our hygiene practices including:

  • covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • disposing of tissues properly
  • washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • using alcohol-based hand sanitizes
  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
  • if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 meters away from people
  • cleaning and sanitizing frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets

Check out the World Health Organisation guidelines for more information here – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

So now we are all taking our own hygiene seriously and following all government health guidelines, read on below for what you can do in your laundry room:

 

Health Care Laundries: 

 

Health & Age care facilities may be on the front line of this pandemic but have many years of dealing with the possibility of contaminated linens, so now is the time to make sure all your policies and guidelines that are in places are being followed by all staff.

 

 

 

  • Ensure your laundry is set up, operating and all staff are trained in accordance with policies as listed in AS/NZS 4146:2600
  • Ensure anybody collecting and handling linens are equipped with essential PPE and are disinfecting all surfaces regularly – Check your state government health department for any updates to this procedure for the handling & management of COVID-19 Linens.
    • QLD Health Fact Sheet can be seen HERE.
    • WA Health Fact Sheet can be seen HERE.
  • Keep soiled & clean linens well separated from each other – 2 meter separation to prevent any cross contamination.
  • Double check that your industrial washing machines cycles are programmed correctly and internal heating element is operating perfectly to meet thermal disinfection requirements.
  • Speak with your chemical supply company to make sure you are using the best mix of laundry detergents & chemicals for your sites individual needs.
  • Add extra time to your Dry Cycle – ensuring all linens are coming out the dryer completely dried to prevent any moisture borne nasties to be spread.
  • Frequently sanitizing all surfaces in the laundry room including the washers, dryers, folding tables and linen trolleys etc.

 

Laundromats and Launderettes: 

 

Laundromats and launderettes in the USA are being classified as an essential service and have thus far have remained operating during the full lock down situations currently occurring in the states. With laundromats being the only way many people have the opportunity to wash and dry their clothing and linens we would expect the Australian government to follow this example and keep laundromats running no matter what other services are limited.

 

  • Always wear appropriate PPE when working with customers or in store.
  • Frequently wipe down machines with disinfectant, including handles, control panels, coin drops etc
  • Frequently wipe down all surfaces in your laundry with disinfectant including entry/exit doors, folding tables, laundry carts, coin changers etc
  • Put up signage encouraging physical distancing, customers to wait in their cars rather than in store while cycle is being done. Ban folding etc from being done in store, customers to wash, dry and leave immediately to fold and process dry laundry at home – check out the American Coin Op example poster HERE 
  • Encourage Tap-N-Go payments to prevent having to handle dirty coins
  • Increase settings on washers to ensure all cycles are being completed with a “Hot” wash (ideally above 60 degrees) the hotter the water, the better the chance of disinfection.
  • Double check your hot water system to ensure it is providing adequate hot water to all machines on site for thermal disinfection.
  • Recommend all customers use the dryer – again, heat kills most things so a load from a hot wash into a hot dry cycle will provide the greatest chance of disinfection.
  • If you are using automatic chemical injection on your washers, speak with your chemical company to ensure you are using the best detergents for these current needs.
  • Consider running washers through a frequent HOT clean cycle and/or bleach only clean cycles to keep your washing machines insides as clean as possible.

 

Tourism Guest Laundry: 

 

We stand in solidarity with all our customers in the Tourism Industry. Travel restrictions will certainly be having an effect on the tourism industry for a while including Hotels, Motels, Caravan Parks, Backpackers etc but there is still a large number of people in accommodation and which will have to utilize that service for a while yet.

 

 

 

  • Ensure your guest laundry is frequently disinfected – including the machines and all surfaces within the laundry room.
  • Put signage in the room to ensure guests are using best hygiene practices, physical distancing from one another and not staying in the laundry room but rather loading up the machines before leaving the room and only coming back to remove laundry from the machine.
  • Many accommodation facilities have previously connected the guest laundry to cold water only to keep running costs down, but now is not the time to do that. Thermal disinfection is the best disinfection you can get in your guest laundry so please ensure all washers are connected to a running reliable hot water system and providing a true hot wash for all.
  • Recommend all guests use the dryer – again, heat kills most things so a load from a hot wash into a hot dry cycle will provide the greatest chance of disinfection.
  • Consider running washing machines through a frequent HOT clean cycle and/or bleach only clean cycles to keep your washing machines insides as clean as possible.
  • Check your local health department for any other policies to follow when dealing with Accommodation and Coronavirus – check out the WA Department of health guide lines for Accommodation providers who have guests who are self-isolating as confirmed COVID-19 cases HERE

Check out our guide for guest laundry during a shutdown HERE

Mine Camp Laundry: 

Miners move a lot of dirt, and so do our Maytag Machines. There is light at the end of this COVID-19 Tunnel, and we’re sure most mine camps will continue running to provide the resources our economy will need to grow once we’re out the other side of this.

So how best to look after your mine camp laundry room Dongas?

 

 

  • Ensure the laundry room is frequently disinfected, all surfaces including washing machines, dryers, benches and doors etc.
  • Notify all staff on site to maintain good physical distancing and ensure no congregating in laundry room.
  • Direct staff to only be in the laundry room while processing laundry, do not stay in the laundry while waiting for your cycle to finish.
  • Check that hot water is being supplied to all machines and ensure all staff know to use “Hot Wash” Cycles for best chance of disinfection.
  • Ensure all staff use a Full Dry Cycle in the dryer following a hot wash cycle to help kill us much as possible.
  • Educate staff on using the right amount of soap. Too much soap creates excess suds that enable dirt and grime to remain trapped inside the fabric. The right amount of soap will properly clean and then be rinsed from the clothing.
  • Consider running washing machines through a frequent HOT clean cycle and/or bleach only clean cycles to keep your washing machines insides as clean as possible.

 

Please ensure all decisions you make for your laundry business adhere to local & government regulations as they are released. The above list are helpful hints that we believe should help in your laundry room and while we are experts in laundry equipment, not enough is known about COVID-19 to be able to offer anything more than suggestions on what may help.
Hygiene, distance and disinfection are your strongest weapons to get through this, and we are here to help any way we can.