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Soiled weight versus Clean weight

Question: What is a good industry standard for soiled weight vs. clean weight in terms of percentage of poundage higher as soiled. I've been told as low as 6% and as high as 10 - 11%  I work in a health care setting so what would be the situations that might make this be off 3 - 4 % from one hospital to the next? Thanks,
- David L Lindsay, Regional Director of Environmental Services/Linen Services Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, WA

Answer: David, Thank you for your excellent question. Comparisons' relating to soil vs. clean linen weight has always been a controversial issue. Many factors should be taken into account when determining an appropriate soil / clean analysis:


  • Amount of garbage in your soil linen (disposable chucks, paper, etc.)
  • Types of patients (high elderly incontinent patient population).
  • Teaching facility performing heaving surgical procedures such as open heart, hip replacement, OB, utilizing reusable surgical linens?
  • Community Hospital with few surgical procedures?
  • Surgical procedures using a majority of disposables?
  • Use of resuable adult underpads and/or diapers vs. disposables

Soil weight factors range from 5% to 12% depending on your type of facility. If you start with 5% as an average, add ½ % for heavy garbage, ½ % for heavy mix of elderly patients, 2% for a teaching facility utilizing reusable O.R. linens, and 2% for use of adult underpads. Of course these calculations are "rule of thumb". Why not take 5 carts of soiled linen (with an average hospital mix), and then weigh the contents; remove garbage, launder goods, and finally re-weigh to achieve an average for your institution.

Ron Weinstein

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Mission Linen's Two Healthcare Accreditations

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Mission Linen Supply has received two healthcare accreditations from Healthcare Laundry Accreditation (HLAC) for their Chino, California and Phoenix, Arizona plants. The first was received in 2009 and the Arizona accreditation was received this year. HLAC inspects and accredits laundries that process healthcare textiles for hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.