Improving the Efficiency of On-Site Hospital Laundry Services or Choosing to Outsource

Published: 28th February 2011
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Laundering textiles on-site involves multiple complex processes working together—and often inefficiencies arise due to complexities involved in these processes. Typical examples include hospital laundry not being processed as quickly as it should be, while the washers, dryers and other equipment waste energy waiting for new loads of hospital scrub uniforms and other hospital laundry textiles. These inefficiencies occur when production flow is disturbed or when equipment isn’t up to standard or running as it should. Most importantly, and beyond the actual laundering of textiles, is the healthcare organization’s use of linen management programs to ensure loss prevention measures and usage of goods. Hospital laundry managers should track daily how efficient their on-site laundry equipment is, and benchmark production, water usage, energy usage, and other variables. After monitoring healthcare laundry service procedures, you’ll be able to identify which areas of laundry are most prone to the inefficiencies that this article addresses.





Typical On-site Hospital Laundry Service Inefficiencies





All equipment and healthcare laundry services are susceptible to inefficiencies if not maintained regularly. Check with your equipment manufacturer to ensure that you are following all guidelines. Adhere to your manufacturer’s prescribed PM (preventative maintenance) schedule to ensure equipment is always running at high efficiency.





Energy, Wastewater, and the Laundering Process





The most common inefficiency in the healthcare laundry process (and one that applies to facilities of all sizes) is failure to capture and reintroduce or recycle energy back into the laundering process. Many healthcare laundry facilities are inefficient when it comes to wastewater recovery systems. The same goes for extractors, water reuse systems, boilers, and heat reclaimers.





Energy can also be reduced when implementing chemical reducing solutions.The following are tips and insight on how to increase efficiency for washers in healthcare laundry facilities:



  • Soften water: This reduces energy usage, chemicals, and the amount of water necessary to wash textiles.


  • Extract as much water as possible from laundry before drying.


  • Establish set standards for washer loads—a 5% increase of load size increases water consumption by 5%.






Dryers are the greatest source of energy inefficiency for healthcare laundry facilities. The following advice is meant to improve drying efficiency.





  • Perform preventative dryer maintenance.


  • Use heat exchangers.


  • Ensure dryers have proper airflow and temperature.


  • Reduce moisture retention.






Choosing to outsource your healthcare laundry needs to a facility that specializes in healthcare laundry services is a smart choice, as companies specializing in healthcare laundry have invested significant resources and energy into upgrading equipment to increase water, heat, and chemical efficiency. Industry innovators use environmentally-safe chemicals and properly manage inventory to keep waste energy, water, and chemicals at low levels. Your healthcare laundry service will work with you to ensure that your textile inventory is managed properly and implement practices that ensure items are handled properly and are not subject to abuse or loss.





If you operate an on-site laundry service, there are heavy costs associated with running the facility, including labor, water, energy, and merchandise. Outsourcing and converting to a hospital laundry service or healthcare laundry service company is financially beneficial, and it is a great way to meet financial, operational, and environmental goals. Many administrators are choosing to outsource their textiles; if you’re considering joining them, learn more about efficient, convenient, and environmentally friendly healthcare laundry services and hospital laundry services and how they can affect your organization’s bottom line.



Erica Ronchetti is a freelance writer for Imagefirst.com, the Nationwide Industry Leader and fastest-growing provider of medical linen rental,hospital scrubs uniform, healthcare laundry services and hospital laundry services to the medical market.Learn more about our products and services by visiting us on the web.


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