1. What is Water-Soluble Laundry Bag?
Water-soluble laundry bag is specially designed for infection prevention purposes while handling or washing contaminated clothes. It is 100% biodegradable that does not clog the pipes while you are washing the clothes. Hospitals and other care institutions are actively incorporating water-soluble laundry bags as they are a valuable means of preventing cross-contamination. Once filled with contaminated clothes, you put water-soluble bags in the washing machine directly. The bags are made up of polyvinyl alcohol films that completely dissolve in the water while the clothes are washing. It is the most cost-effective and hygienic way of saving yourself and your environment from getting any infectious disease.
2. Is it Harmful to Marine Life, Human Beings, and the Environment?
Although not meant to be consumed or ingested by the human body in any form, water-soluble laundry bags are completely non-toxic. That means they don’t cause either water or any form of environmental pollution because they’re manufactured from a biodegradable material.
3. Why Water-Soluble Laundry Bag is Important?
Bearing the most recent example of COVID-19 in mind, it’s well-known how important the healthcare system’s role has been in this entire pandemic. It’s also a popular fact that COVID-19 can potentially spread through surface contact and not just from someone coughing or sneezing on you.
Imagine for a moment, In the COVID-19 or Infectious ward or where everything is potentially infected. This also includes the clothes and sheets of the patients. These will have to be disinfected before they are used again. So, they are disposed of in a laundry bag which will then head to the laundry for washing and disinfection. But if using a fabric laundry bag or PE laundry bag, the laundryman must open the bag and take out the clothes and sheets before washing. This will increase the risk of infection.
Now imagine, if the person responsible for disinfection, didn’t have to open the laundry bag, to begin with. Instead, they just had to throw the laundry bag containing contaminated clothes directly into the washing machine. This will definitely reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
4. Three Standard Sizes of Water-Soluble Laundry Bag.
The best part is that they are usually produced in 3 standard sizes (660*840mm, 710*990mm, 914*990mm). But, these sizes are flexible along with being customizable. The three different sizes of these water-soluble laundry bags have the following capacities:
|20μm, 25μm, or can be customized
|20μm, 25μm, or can be customized
|20μm, 25μm, or can be customized
5.How Does a Water-Soluble Laundry Bag Work?
The way water-soluble laundry bags work is quite simple.
First, the bag is installed on top of a holder for people to easily dispose of contaminated items without having to touch the outside. Once the bag has reached its capacity, it’s sealed using a water-soluble tie. This will ensure that no contaminated particles escape the inside of the bag.
The rest is easy. Simply toss the bag into a washer. Upon contact with the water, the bag will disintegrate and dissolve, allowing the contents inside to be washed without any human contact.
Water-soluble laundry bags not only minimize the risk of surface contamination but airborne contaminations and infections as well. They’ve been designed with only one goal: to minimize the risk of infection in any environment.
There are two options for water-soluble laundry bags:
The first is hot water-soluble bags that dissolve in water which is more than 65°C in temperature. The second option is cold water-soluble bags that dissolve in water with a temperature of more than 25°C.
The washing protocols for both options differ a little. However, most of the procedure is always the same.
6.Steps to Use Water-Soluble Laundry Bag Properly:
Despite the utility these bags bring to the table, it must be noted that their innovation is meaningless if they aren’t handled with care. Water-soluble laundry bags should always be used following strict SOP’s. If these steps aren’t taken, these bags can do more harm than good.
Listed below are the right ways to properly use water-soluble laundry bags during every phase of their utilization:
- When in Storage:
- Water-soluble laundry bags come packaged in a protective over-wrap. There’s a good reason for that. They protect the bags from any moisture and other elements that can compromise their structural integrity. Bearing this in mind, the best thing to do when taking out a bag from the entire pack is to make sure the rest stay well within the overwrap. Otherwise, you’re risking exposure of the bags to moisture.
- The bags inside the over-wrap will either be folded individually or be manufactured in a single roll with appropriate piercings to allow easy separation. In either case, remove the bags from the packaging carefully.
- The over-wrap the water-soluble bags come packaged in would be rendered useless if they aren’t stored in the right conditions before use. To ensure optimum functionality of the bags, they should always be stored at a room temperature of 45°F – 86°F. Moreover, relative humidity of 20% – 70% will further enhance the shelf life of the bags.
- It’s very important to note that the outer-wrap is made from polyolefin which is prone to producing an electrostatic charge. Do not place this packaging in an operation theatre or any hazardous area for that matter.
- When in Use:
- As already mentioned, water-soluble laundry bags are prone to get compromised due to exposure to moisture. For the very same reason, make sure that these bags are being handled only with dry hands. Carefully dry your hands with a towel before handling these bags. Using talcum powder is an added advantage as well since it eliminates moisture from the skin.
- When it comes to putting items inside the bag, make sure the first item to be disposed of is one made of dry linen. Doing this will cause the dry linen item to land at the bottom. There’s always a chance that moist items could be disposed of by others in that bag. In that case, the dry linen item will give the bag some added protection from any dampness which could compromise its functionality.
- Always try to ensure that no moist items are disposed of in the bag. If you think that isn’t possible or there’s a chance, make sure there are 2 layers. You can do this by placing one bag inside the other and eliminating the space between them as well as you can.
- When at Closure:
- Once the bag has reached its capacity, it’ll be time to close and seal it. At this point, you would want to get rid of as much air inside the bag as possible. However, you must ensure that you don’t get rid of the air at the expense of expelling it on your face. Be sure to do it in a safe and responsible manner. Getting rid of excess air inside the bag at the time of closing will allow easier and safer handling when it’s transported to the laundry.
- Only use the water-soluble tie that came with the bag to close it and nothing else. Do not tie it up in a knot as it could compromise the solubility.
- Once closed, the water-soluble bag should be placed inside another bag for more secure movement and handling. This will reduce the chances of any damage to the water-soluble bag inside.
- When in the Laundry:
- Upon reaching the laundry area, the bag must be carefully put into the washer. Sorting the contents inside isn’t advised because it could put the handler at risk of contamination.
- During the cold water cycle, the water-soluble laundry bag will begin to dissolve and disintegrate. This will allow the contents inside to come into contact with the water as well.
- Be very sure not to overload the washer with too many bags/contents at a single time.
- Ensure that the wash water inside the washer reaches the desired temperature during the wash cycle. This temperature should be as per the water-soluble laundry bag option that you are using.
- The contents should be allowed to wash for at least 40 seconds in the wash water before the addition of any other chemicals or disinfectants. Once the chemicals and disinfectants have been added, the contents should be washed for another 15 minutes at least to ensure optimum disinfection.
7.Advantages of Water-Soluble Laundry Bag for Infection Control:
Water-soluble laundry bags come with quite a few benefits which can add great value to any premises they’re being used in:
- They minimize the likelihood of direct human contact with contaminated items. They also reduce the cross-infection of pathogens. And help to ensure end-to-end laundry delivery in the safest manner possible.
- They reduce medical waste. That’s because the contaminated items can be washed and disinfected as opposed to burying or incineration.
- Water-soluble laundry bags promote hygiene, reduce workload, increase labor protection, and are environmental-friendly.
- They reinforce the concept of safe handling for contaminated laundry.
Water-soluble laundry bags without a doubt are something that should be deployed in every hospital or care home. Being a very hygienic solution along with being environmental-friendly, it can bring a lot of benefits to the table in today’s world.