Surgical attire laundering is one of AORN’s new recommendations practices

By: October 26th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The Association for Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) released its position on home laundering of scrubs. The position is part of AORN’s surgical attire recommendations.

That final version of the recommend practices is now scheduled for release this month and includes, according to an article in AORN Connections:

  • New recommendation on quality assurance monitoring of laundering processes
  • New information on characteristics of safe surgical attire fabrics, including recommendations that fabrics should be tightly woven, stain resistant and durable, and that 100% cotton fleece should not be worn
  • Safe footwear
  • More information on wearing of jewelry, including how, where and when jewelry can be worn
  • New information on regular and appropriate cleaning of stethoscopes and ID badges
  • A new recommendation that fanny packs, brief cases and backpacks should not be taken into semi-restricted or restricted areas
  • Updated information on disposable and reusable head coverings

The biggest adjustment in the recommendations is where surgical attire should be laundered. The recommendation says that surgical attire should be laundered in the healthcare setting, rather than at home, to avoid the risk of an infectious disease.

Special considerations must be taken in order for a healthcare facility to launder surgical attire safely and correctly. Laundry must be sorted correctly, washed with appropriate chemicals, packed away and pressed, and then transported and stored appropriately, according to the AORN recommendations.

AORN is offering the Webinar, “Surgical Attire: Professional Accountability,” free to members.

How do you feel about the AORN recommendation to launder surgical attire in the healthcare facility? Are you able to achieve the  same type of cleaning with your home washer? Let us know in the comment section below.


I am in agreement with AORN on this. As an infection preventionist, it is not only in the best interest of the patient, but in the healthcare worker who may not know what “bugs” they are transporting into the home. No way to monitor how personnel are laundering, storing or transporting scrub attire into the facility!

By Nyla Skee Japp, RN, PhD on October 27th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Hooray for the stand AORN has taken on the laundering of scrubs! The recommendations make sense and should be enforced by all infection preventionist in every healthcare facility in the country. I don’t believe laundering scrubs at home should have ever been done in the first place. Isn’t it time to start thinking about what is best for our patients and how we can decrease nosocomial infections. If people think laundering scrubs at home is OK why not just wear street clothes?

If this is such a good idea, what does AORN suggest be done about the many physcians and nursing staff who wear them in and out of the hospital on a daily basis and always have and always will? This item is one of the most out of control expenses a facility incurs. Wouldn’t these, of all people know of these dangers that have stated?

AORN is 100% correct. Unfortunatly the cost will be prohibitive and probably will not be allow the change to take place.

AORN stand on scrub washing is right on! Unfortunately it is extremely hard to implement if the surgeons don’t listen and continue to wear scrubs from facility to facility. I know of several physicians who stop by Cedars for morning cases and then show at OMC for afternoon cases… Talk about cross contamination. Then they get offended when it is brought to thier attention.

By Dave Roberson on November 1st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I see medical professionals at airports going to work in scrubs. Think about it: Home, car to airport, check-in, flight, rental car or taxi to hospital, work at facility, trip to next work site. Standards need to be set.

I am also in agreement with the AORN and thank them for making a call on this issue. I worked at one institution that was part of a big chain. The entire chain eliminated laundering of any scrubs including in invasive areas such as OR, cath lab. I am no longer there- it was one of the “cost cutting” measures that made me leave. Hopefully, JC will get on the band wagon and facilites will need to again provide scrubs in certain areas. I saw a doctor getting dropped off once- in scrubs- with 2 sheepdogs in the car. I imagine any hair went right into the OR with her!!!!

Nyla- the IP can’t enforce this- there are too few of us- we can require it but it is the OR managers and nurses and peer physicians who must enforce it. I get sOOOOOO tired of being expected to enfore things when there is only 1 of me for 200 beds and several clinics!!!! We can write the recommendations but it takes administration to make the policies work!

By Ralph Jones on November 6th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Great beginning, when are we going to see cubicle curtains and mops laundered at a healthcare laundry.


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