- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
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.
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