Study: Residential Washers May Not Kill MRSA, Acinetobacter on Uniforms

A new study published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology shows residential washing machines may not always use water hot enough to kill MRSA and Acinetobacter, a Gram-negative bacteria, from hospital uniforms, according to a news release from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, publisher of the journal.


Researchers from University College in London conducted experiments, which showed washing uniforms in residential machines with detergent and water temperature of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) was enough to kill both MRSA and Acinetobacter. However, at wash cycles of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), the temperature U.K. energy-saving washers often operate near, while MRSA was eliminated, substantial amounts of Acinetobacter remained.


The researchers found the use of a hot iron on the uniforms after the 40 degree Celsius wash eliminated the Acinetobacter.


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"The results stress the importance of ironing hospital uniforms after washing them in a domestic washing machine that operates at less than 60 degrees Celsius," said Dr. John Holton, one of the study's authors, in the release. "We show that laundry and ironing in a domestic setting is effective in producing a uniform free of accumulated hospital bacteria safe to wear to work,"


Related Articles on MRSA:

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Study Suggests Facility Size and Discharge Rate Can Influence MRSA Prevalence

Treating Patients With MRSA in a Surgery Center: Q&A With Regina Dolsen of Blue Chip Surgical Partners


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