Many industries depend on laundries to clean their dirty linen. That’s pretty straightforward. But what is less obvious is whether the batch of laundry is cleaned properly. In certain sectors, such as the food industry, laundries need to verify whether they have cleaned according to industry standards. In other words, the client may ask the laundry, “Did you get rid of all bacteria?” That’s when the question arises: How do I show that I have cleaned according to the guidelines to my client?
We hear that question often from the laundries we work with. Fortunately, the answer is not that complicated. We tell them: “You already have all the answers that your client needs.” Because the core of their quest is simple. Washers and dryers are programmed according to certain guidelines to achieve specific goals. Subsequently, the machines need to perform as programmed.
But do they really clean and dry as the soap supplier has programmed? Does your washer really hit a temperature of 60 degrees? Well, not always; in practice, we have seen cases where washers and dryers cleaned and dried below programmed temperatures.
That is dangerous. Especially in vulnerable and sensitive industries such as healthcare and food. Last year, the cleaning and health industry were shaken up by a study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal. It turns out that in the period between 2012-2013 in a German hospital 13 newborns and one child were infected with Klebsiella oxytoca, a multidrug-resistant pathogen.
The K. oxytoca bacterium never left the washer on premise, which allowed it to re-infect the children. Isolates of the K. oxytoca strains were detected in the detergent drawer and on the rubber door seal of a domestic washer-extractor machine, used in the same ward to wash laundry of the newborns as well as in two sinks.
The researchers advise the following: “Furthermore, the use of professional washing machines and the routine check with a temperature logger is an urgent requirement.”
A routine check of the temperature is indeed interesting; especially for medical washers, checking the temperature constantly is crucial. Indeed, the temperature determines the habitat for bacterial growth and their lifespan. And software is the right tool to monitor the live temperature.
Accidents such as the detection of K. oxytoca in a children’s hospital are an important reason why we created Smart Control and Laundry Intelligence. In Laundry Intelligence, our dashboard that displays management information, one can view the progress of the washers and dryers in real time. This means that you can see the amount of water that is being used, the temperature at which is being cleaned, and how much energy the machine uses. And afterwards, you can print a report that shows the exact performance of the machine in question.
What’s more, one can compare the programmed parameters with the real usage. In other words, you can check, in real-time, whether you are washing at the right temperature that eliminates bacteria or not. This is crucial for medical spheres.
This is just one example of the use of data to track hygiene. We need to get rid of the old mentality of “just run the machine and trust that it does what it was told to do.” An accident is always hiding in a corner. Why wouldn’t you minimize the risks with a rather small investment in reliable software?
More information on Laundry Intelligence here.