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Hospital Linen - How should it be handled?

Question: Our facility stores clean linen in our linen exchange room. Linen is transported through the hospital on covered carts and transferred to the linen carts in each area. These carts are covered, but if they are in a dedicated linen room we do not enforce keeping the cover down at all times. Is this correct or not?

Our linen exchange room has open shelving. Curtains have been installed to cover the shelving. Since it is a dedicated linen room, do the shelves have to be covered (We do not have positive air flow in this room)?

Our housekeeping department mops the floors and dusts the shelves weekly. Is this adequate? Should the shelves be disinfected on a regular basis? What would be considered standard practice in this area?


Answer: I would recommend researching concerns regarding the regulation for laundering and storage of linens from the Hospital Joint Commission, or JCAHO. Their website,, should help to answer most of your questions. There is also a JCAHO book that I would recommend, which can be use for future references as well as an educational support.  The practice of keeping linens covered at all times is good protocol. Shelving should be sanitized as linens are removed and replaced. As for floors and other surfaces, the use of a disinfectant cleaner should also be a standard practice. Specific details on the “how to” and “when” is available from JCAHO.



Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

G&K Fined By U.S. Attorney’s Office

MINNETONKA, Minn. — G&K Services, Inc., was recently fined $450,000 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, G&K discharged too much oil and grease into wastewater at one of their facilities. G&K is headquartered in Minnesota and the facility that was fined is located in Iowa.