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How Does a Uniform Rental Company Clean Its Clothes?

We have been hearing a lot lately about company uniforms in relation to the ongoing coronavirus issue. Health and safety advocates encourage renting uniforms rather than taking work clothes home and putting them in the wash. This is especially true in healthcare. But such discussions engender an important question: how does a uniform rental company clean its clothes?

First and foremost, there is a difference between visibly clean and hygienically clean. A visibly clean uniform is one that looks clean to the naked eye. But according to Alsco, a Salt Lake City based uniform service provider that is certified hygienically clean, a hygienically clean uniform is one that is delivered free from bacteria and other pathogens.

In this day and age, going hygienically clean isn’t even an option. It makes no sense to rent uniforms from a company that cannot guarantee they are not contaminated upon delivery. With that said, uniform rental companies have multiple means of cleaning at their disposal.

Tunnel Washing Systems

Certain types of uniforms can be put through tunnel washing systems. A tunnel washer is exactly what its name implies: a washing system built in the shape of a tunnel and operated by conveyor. Soiled uniforms are sorted before being placed on a conveyor. They then go through a series of washes and rinses as they work their way through the system.

Tunnel washing is ideal for things like hospital scrubs and casual pants and shirts that are not exposed to excessive soiling. It is fast, efficient, and cost-effective.

Conventional Washing and Drying

Another method is to use a conventional washer and dryer similar to what you would use at home. We say ‘similar’ because commercial-grade machines are much larger. They also utilize higher temperatures and cleaning agents you wouldn’t be able to use at home.

Conventional systems are ideal for certain types of workwear uniforms subject to heavy soiling. A car mechanic’s uniform is a good example. Another example would be the heavy-duty pants and shirts worn by CNC machine operators.

Steam Cleaning Systems

Still other types of uniforms are better served by running them through a steam cleaning system. This type of cleaning begins with spot treating uniforms with a chemical cleaner. Garments are then hung on hangers and run through a high temperature steam cleaner. Upon exit, they are run through a high heat dryer. They come out ready to be bagged for delivery.

Steam cleaning is ideal for sensitive garments that would otherwise need pressing if washed with one of the other two methods. Lab coats, chef coats, and chef pans are almost always run through steam cleaners. Basically, any lightly sold uniform the uniform provider doesn’t want to have to press later on can go through a steam cleaning system.

Ensuring Garments Are Hygienically Clean

Alsco says that achieving the hygienically clean standard relies on a combination of things. In terms of cleaning uniforms, it is all about the combination of high temperature and the right cleaning solutions. Therein lies the reason so many experts warn against taking soiled uniforms home for laundering.

Home washing machines do not typically get hot enough to kill pathogens. That is not an issue in commercial laundry facilities. Commercial machines utilize extremely hot water along with a combination of detergents, enzymes, and other cleaning agents.

There are definite benefits to renting uniforms rather than buying them. Chief among them is the fact that rental companies handle the laundry for you. If you want your staff to have access to quality uniforms that are hygienically clean, consider renting them from a reputable service provider.

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