Killing of fabric-associated bacteria in hospital laundry by low temperature washing

Martin Blaser, Paul F. Smith, Henry J. Cody, Wen Lan L. Wang, F. Marc LaForce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hospitals using 71.1 C water for laundering consume vast amounts of energy. We studied whether washing at 22 C would result in fabric-associated between bacterial counts significantly different from those remaining after the high-temperature wash procedure in general use. Using a standard method to enumerate fabric-associated bacteria, we found that soiled sheets and terry cloth items were contaminated, respectively, with 106 and 108 cfu/100 cm2 of fabric area, predominantly gram-negative rods (especially Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonadaceae). Staphylococcus species were the most common gram-positive organisms. A standard low-temperature washing cycle without laundry chemicals removed 3 log10 of bacteria by agitation, dilution, and drainage. When low-temperature laundry chemicals were used, 3 log10 of bacteria were killed after the bleach was added, and sheets and terry cloth items had postwash colony of 101-102 cfu/100 cm2. Drying removed an additional 1-2 log10 organisms. Bacterial counts and species from low and high-temperature washed fabrics were comparable. Low-temperature washing is therefore as effective as high-temperature washing for eliminating pathogenic bacteria from hospital laundry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume149
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

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Bacteria
Temperature
Bacterial Load
Pseudomonadaceae
Laundering
Enterobacteriaceae
Staphylococcus
Drainage
Water

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy

Cite this

Blaser, Martin ; Smith, Paul F. ; Cody, Henry J. ; Wang, Wen Lan L. ; LaForce, F. Marc. / Killing of fabric-associated bacteria in hospital laundry by low temperature washing. In: Journal of Infectious Diseases. 1984 ; Vol. 149, No. 1. pp. 48-57.
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Killing of fabric-associated bacteria in hospital laundry by low temperature washing. / Blaser, Martin; Smith, Paul F.; Cody, Henry J.; Wang, Wen Lan L.; LaForce, F. Marc.

In: Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 149, No. 1, 01.01.1984, p. 48-57.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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