ALM offers valuable Covid-19 guidance for laundries, lodgings and healthcare professionals

7 May 2020

The Association for Linen Management (ALM), the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed a significant weakness in the US healthcare system that has captured the spotlight:  namely, the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically protective gowns. Despite efforts to resolve this situation, healthcare facilities continue to face PPE shortages to the point where some healthcare professionals (HCP) report there are no gowns available to them for use.

ALM has collaborated with three of its vendor members, Medline Industries, Inc.; UNX, Inc.; and Environmental Infection Prevention, LLC, to examine and test the feasibility of reprocessing disposable PPE gowns as a possible solution to the temporary nationwide shortage.

The Interim Guidance for Processing Single-Use Gowns in Response to Product Shortages during COVID-19 is a stop-gap measure designed to supplement the provision of gowns to provides an alternative to the absence of any cover apparel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The wash formula and process is basic guidance for laundries to provide their customers with a clean product of previously worn, single-use gowns manufactured initially as ANSI/AAMI Level 1, 2, 3, and/or 4 gowns.

The guidance does not produce a gown that meets the required barrier standards for which it was initially manufactured and may be labelled for, and no gown provided under the guidance should be used in a surgical procedure, per recommendation from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Any laundry intending to use this interim guidance is strongly encouraged to review the Considerations for Laundries Implementing document prior to undertaking ay such venture.

Home laundering healthcare uniforms
ALM is also casting its guidance net beyond large commercial laundries to include the wider community, in particular healthcare workers who launder their own uniforms at home.

ALM said: “While the commercial laundry process following CDC guidelines has been tested and proven to provide clean, safe textiles for patients within the hospital environment, the home laundry process deals with myriad differences in fabrics, detergents, wash temperatures, and more.

Available research shows the virus only lives on fabrics for a short period of time, but, out of an abundance of caution, ALM has chosen to compile instructions to best ensure the home wash process is effective for washing personal apparel after being in a setting possibly exposing the wearer to Covid-19.

The association stresses that the guidance is not to be used for laundering any textile provided by employers as personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against a hazard. General work clothes, e.g., uniforms, pants, shirts, or blouses, not intended to function as protection against a hazard are not considered to be PPE.

‘Interim Guidance for Healthcare Personnel Home Washing Personal Uniform/Scrub Apparel During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ is available on ALM's website, under COVID-19 Resources.

Hotels and lodgings
ALM has also turned its attention to hotels lodging healthcare professionals and other persons potentially exposed to Covid-19. It says there is a distinct possibility that healthcare providers, emergency personnel, and other public service personnel will seek alternative lodging arrangements to self-isolate from their families, when not working. State and federal governments have considered the option of encouraging hotel management to make guest rooms available to meet this need.

To help hotel laundries that are not familiar with procedures for large quantities of possibly exposed textiles, ALM has compiled interim guidance to assist the industry, addressing two major points:

1.       The management and laundering of bedding/sheeting and bathroom/terry products used in the care of Covid-19-exposed healthcare personnel and other potentially exposed persons, as needed.

2.       Maintaining a safe workplace. 

This guidance may be subject to updates when additional information becomes available and at no time should it supersede any state or local regulations that may be more stringent in regards to laundry and linen processing and handling.

Included with the guidance are printable signs and handouts for the hotels to post in their laundry area, a template for notifying guests of amended procedures at the hotel for textiles, and a link to a free online training from ALM about Universal Precautions for hotel staff.

If any laundry or hotel has any questions of best practices for their situation, ALM welcomes their inquiries, regardless of their laundry size or current ALM membership status. If you know of a hotel that may be called on to assist in caring for healthcare staff or others exposed to Covid-19, please share this information with them. ALM said: “We are all in this together and we will get through it.”

The guidance documents, as well as other Covid-19 textile information, are available at


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