General Cleanliness and Laundry

Photo by Steve Sara / MCSP

Appropriate Resources:

HCFs should maintain a stock of cleaning and disinfectant supplies. Designated laundry stations should be established with ample detergent and water to clean sheets, towels and other materials.

Note: National policies and standards should be consulted when designing, monitoring or evaluating cleaning and laundry standards.

Appropriate Staff, Process and Management Considerations:

Each HCF should maintain designated cleaners on staff. These staff members should be trained in cleaning and familiar with infection prevention and control protocols, as well as waste management, sanitation and wastewater protocols. Facilities should ensure that laundry and cleaning needs are considered when purchasing and re-stocking cleaning supplies. Clear protocols should be in place for switching bed sheets and pillows as needed and delivering them safely to the laundry facility. Routine cleaning protocols should also be established for all HCF areas.

In addition, overall cleanliness of the HCF grounds should be maintained. Perception of the facility as a clean, model physical space should be a mantra and goal of the facility.

MCSP Rapid Assessment Questions:

To improve general cleanliness and laundry services, each HCF can consider the following questions from MCSP’s HCF rapid assessment tool. The tool was adapted from WHO’s Essential Environmental Standards in Health Care.

Design and construction Operation and maintenance
  • Are the cleaning requirements of different zones of the HCF defined, with blood/bodily fluid considerations?
  • Are laundry facilities properly used and adequately maintained?
  • Are contaminated spills cleaned and disinfected immediately?
  • Do mattresses have waterproof covers?
  • Are mattresses and pillows cleaned between patients and whenever soiled?
  • Are there sufficient laundry facilities (including laundry bins/bags for both clean & soiled linen) at the HCF?
  • Is soiled linen placed immediately in bags and then correctly washed and dried?
  • Is there a dedicated staff person responsible for cleaning? Have they received training? Are they included in facility management meetings?
  • Is there a staff person with cleaning in their job description?

Additional Tools and Resources for General Cleanliness and Laundry in HCF settings:

  • Soap Box Collaborative’s WASH and Clean toolkit, which includes various WASH HCF assessment tools. Tools 1 and 6 include cleaning and laundry considerations: Tool 1: Facility needs assessment Tool, and Tool 6: Interviews with Cleaners.
  • In 2017, WHO & UNICEF published the WASHFit Tool, which includes essential indicator and advanced indicator assessment tools for cleaning and laundry (Tool 2), risk assessment templates (Tool 3), and improvement plan templates (Tool 4).