The Effect of Low Temperature Laundering and Detergents on the Survival of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus on Textiles Used in Healthcare Uniforms

Abstract

Aims: To determine the survival of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus on cotton and polyester and the effectiveness of low temperature laundering and detergents on the removal of microorganism from healthcare laundry. Methods and Results: Survival of E. coli and S. aureus on polyester or cotton was assessed over 3 weeks and the efficacy of a domestic wash (40°C and 60°C) and a range of detergents was also determined. Both bacteria were able to survive on cotton (5 log(10)) and polyester (0.28 log(10)) for up to 3 weeks. Laundering at 40°C resulted in a 3.5 log(10) removal of the initial 7.7 log(10) inoculum and some cross contamination to sterile fabrics (3 log(10). Increasing the temperature to 60°C resulted in the complete removal of the initial inoculum. Conclusions: This study shows that most of the microorganisms are removed at 40°C however, those cells still remaining may have the potential for further contamination to the clinical environment and patients Significance and Impact of Study: National Health Service (NHS) nurses are required to domestically launder their uniforms at 60°C to ensure safe removal of microorganisms, 33% of NHS staff questioned said they launder their uniforms at 40°C, which could potentially result in transmission of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

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Citation

Riley, K., Williams, J., Owen, L., Davis, A., Shen, J. and Laird K. (2017) The Effect of Low Temperature Laundering and Detergents on the Survival of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus on Textiles Used in Healthcare Uniforms. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 123 (1), pp. 280-286

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Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)
Institute of Art and Design