Lab coat Q&A: Will it all come out in the wash?

By: November 18th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The answer to the following is adapted from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Q: I am a dentist and currently use a lab coat laundry service.  The cost (for about 8 coats per week), however, is quite high. I would like to consider doing it myself at home.   Assuming that I am washing them separately, using hot water, bleach, etc., is there an OSHA guideline that prohibits this?

A: OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard does NOT allow laundering of any PPE exposed to blood and body fluids at home.  You must either use an outside service or install an washer and dryer on the premises that ensures a water temperature of 160 degrees for the wash cycle and 120 degrees for the rinse cycle for proper sanitation.

Instruct staff to remove contaminated lab coats and other reusable items as soon as possible after leaving the work area, and place them in appropriate laundry bags that prevent leakage.

Comments

By John Law, MD on September 19th, 2013 at 8:52 am

What temperature does the dryer need to reach to saitize? I have noticed that new washers have a build in heater to boast the water temp and a sanitize setting on the dryer. If both high temp for water at 160 for wash and 120 for rinse and sanize dryer setting for drying; would that meet all requirements?

 

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