Management of Infectious Laundry

Managing Infectious Laundry

Infectious laundry includes laundry that has been used by someone who is known or suspected to be infectious and/or linen that is contaminated with body fluids

All dirty linen should be handled with care, and attention paid to the potential spread of infection.

Key Principles for safely handing infectious laundry
  • Wash hands between handling different categories of laundry
  • Prevent cross contamination between clean, used or infectious laundry
  • Use a separate laundry receptacle for infectious laundry
  • Place laundry receptacle as close as possible to point of use for immediate deposit
  • Avoid shaking or sorting infectious laundry
  • Do not place infectious laundry on the floor or on surfaces
  • Wear a single use apron to protect worker clothing from infectious laundry
  • Seal infectious laundry in a water -soluble bag immediately on removal from bed then place within an impermeable bag
  • Avoid overfilling receptacle (not more than two third full)

Consider having a dirty to clean flow system in laundry rooms so clean and used laundry are physically separated and ensure hand washing facilities are available where possible

Laundering Infectious linen
  • Do not wash by hand
  • Use appropriate pre- wash cycle
  • Launder separately from other items
  • Launder at the appropriate temperature

If you need further support in this area please email


Best Practice for Uniforms/Workwear

Practice Infection control risk
Workers should wear clean clothes at the start of each shift and change immediately if clothes become visibly soiled or contaminated.

To enable this, workers may wish to consider storing spare, clean clothing at the workplace or in their vehicle

Visible soiling may present an infection risk.
When providing direct, hands – on care, workers should be bare below the elbows.

This means, having short sleeves, or sleeves securely rolled up above the elbow, removing hand and wrist jewellery.

Lanyards and neckties should not be worn during personal care.

-Cuffs at the wrist become heavily contaminated and are likely to come into close contact with people you support.

This ensures effective hand hygiene.

Fingernails should be clean, short and free from nail products including artificial nails. Long nails are harder to keep clean and are a potential hazard for harbouring organisms which can be transferred to the people you support who are vulnerable.
Long hair should be tied up and off the collar. Keeping hair off the collar reduces the incidence of bacterial growth around the collar areas.
Footwear must be visibly clean, non -slip and well maintained, and support and cover the entire foot. To avoid contamination with blood or other body fluids or potential injury from sharps.
If wearing a headscarf, it should be unadorned and tied neatly.

Headwear worn for religious reasons such as turban, kippot veil, headscarf are permitted providing patient care and safety is not compromised.

These must be washed and/or changed daily or immediately if contaminated.


Uniforms and workwear should be laundered as follows: 

  • At the hottest temperature, the fabric can tolerate.
  • Heavily soiled items should be washed separately to eliminate the risk of cross contamination.


We recommend that all organisations/providers:

  • Have a local uniform policy in place and monitor compliance.
  • Provide enough uniforms/workwear for staff to have clean clothes for each shift.
  • Provide changing and storage facilities for staff and ensure these are cleaned regularly.


Click here for further guidance
Click here for the National infection prevention and control manual for England

If you cannot wear a uniform, we would recommend that all staff change clothes upon arrival to the site and at the end of the day as this will reduce risk of transmission in the home setting. The clothing should be transported home in a disposable plastic bag and washed separately as above, if unable to wash on site.

This does not need to apply to underclothes unless contamination from the resident’s body fluid (e.g. vomit, or fluids soaked through external items).