- Written by Rich Fitzmorris
Question: We have an ongoing problem with lint in the sterilizing department of our operating theatre. The laundering is outsourced to a commercial facility.
A theatre textbook used by our students (Atkinson, LJ & Fortunat, N. 1996 Berry & Kohn's Operating theatre technique. 8th edition. Mosby: St. Louis) states "textile lubricants added to the final rinse during laundering minimize lint (p.197)." Could you provide examples of these lubricants? Are they the same as fabric softeners?
- Sylvia Growdon
Answer: As long as the linting is not caused from some sort of tensile damage or goods manufactured with short staple cotton fibers, the best way to reduce linting is to use an anti-static compound added to the last rinse. The anti-static material will allow the loose fibers clinging to the linen to be freed. The loose lint will then be collected in the lint filtering of the dryer.
Some fabric softeners have anti-static properties because they are cationic, but none will work as well as a specific anti-static compound. The problem is more difficult should the items now be fully dried after washing, rather than ironed. A decision needs to be made on how dry the items can be before ironing them. If this cannot be accomplished, then only tape rolling the linen will remove the loose fibers before sterilization for a lint free product.
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