Print this article
- 11/28/2016

NSF International Launches Hygienic Laundering Certification Program for Healthcare Textiles

H&PC Today

Alsco, Inc. first to earn certification that ensures laundering process effectively removes pathogens from healthcare textiles

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Global public health organization NSF International has launched a certification program for commercial laundering operations to verify their effectiveness in disinfecting and cleaning bedding, towels, hospital gowns and other textiles used in healthcare operations to ensure removal of pathogens and other bacterial organisms. Alsco, the first company to introduce linen and rental services to the world in 1889, is the first to be certified to NSF P467: Hygienically Clean Healthcare Textiles.

NSF P467 is the second consensus-based protocol developed under the NSF Commercial Laundering Certification Program. The first, NSF P413: Hygienically Clean Napery in Commercial Laundering Operations, was launched in 2015. Both protocols verify that laundering facilities have quality control measures in place to ensure that textiles are laundered by a commercial laundering process that is capable of consistently removing potential pathogens or other unacceptable bacterial organisms. However, because NSF P467 was developed for higher sanitation needs in healthcare settings, it has more stringent testing limits for textiles and requires facilities to complete a risk assessment of their process.

“NSF International is the first independent, non-industry governed organization to offer a certification for healthcare textiles, continuing its mission to protect and improve public health and safety,” said Ashlee Breitner, Program Manager of NSF International’s Commercial Laundering and Nonfood Compounds Certification Programs. “Healthcare facilities are focused on quality and safety for effective patient care and NSF International’s Commercial Laundering Certification Program provides assurance that an effective cleaning process has been implemented at certified facilities by auditing the laundering facility and testing textile samples to ensure harmful bacteria and other pathogens are effectively removed on a consistent basis.”

Alsco, Inc., with headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT, is a linen and uniform rental services company. Alsco’s Grand Junction, CO location is the first to be certified to NSF P467: Hygienically Clean Healthcare Textiles for HealthAssure® by Alsco Sheets and Towels used in the healthcare industry.

“Through NSF International certification, healthcare facilities using Alsco’s laundering services can be assured that their towels and sheets not only provide their patients with the comforts of home, but also that they are hygienically clean,” said Jim Divers, Director of Sales and Marketing for Alsco.

To earn certification, Alsco successfully completed a rigorous certification process, which included:

  • Complete risk assessment of their commercial laundering process: Commercial laundering facilities are required to complete and submit a detailed risk assessment of their laundering process to evaluate potential risks that could have an impact on the hygienic cleanliness of healthcare textiles and document what they are doing to mitigate those risks.
  • Onsite audit and sample collection: NSF auditors visit facilities to ensure compliance with the certification program. The inspection includes an onsite review of the risk assessment to confirm that all control points are addressed and the proper control mechanisms are in place to ensure a hygienically clean outcome for textiles has been identified for the laundering process. This includes all areas of the laundering process from receiving soiled textiles to final delivery of the hygienically clean textiles.
  • Sample testing at NSF International labs: Microbiological testing is conducted on samples of laundered textiles to confirm the repeatability and validity of the laundering facility’s effectiveness in removing specified bacterial and fungal organisms.

Product testing and audits will be conducted at the facility annually to ensure ongoing compliance with program requirements. For earning certification, Alsco is able to use the globally recognized NSF Commercial Laundering mark on marketing and other promotional materials.