TRSA has launched its Hygienically Clean certification program to recognize textile services companies' commitment to cleanliness through third-party, quantified biological testing and inspection. The certification process eliminates subjectivity by verifying that textiles cleaned in these facilities meet hygiene standards appropriate for any type of business that uses garments, linens, towels, floor mats, mops and other professionally laundered items.
A specific designation for laundries with medical work (Hygienically Clean – Healthcare) is available and another will soon be offered for those who serve restaurants and other businesses where food safety is paramount (Hygienically Clean – Food Service).
To attain a Hygienically Clean certification, a laundry must deploy best management practices (BMPs) and pass bacteriological testing and facility inspections. Tests use the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) 61 protocol:
- Allows a minimal amount of bacteria to remain after textiles are laundered
- Pass/fail criteria of less than or equal to 20 colony forming units (cfu)
A laundry is not required to use particular processes, chemicals or BMPs to achieve certification—whatever tactics management feels are necessary can be used to achieve TRSA’s Minimum Performance Specifications as measured by bacteriological testing. But BMPs must be documented in a written quality control manual.
“Managers in many types of workplaces are becoming more conscientious about the sanitation of their processes. They want to be more confident that they are taking every step possible to prevent human illness in their facilities and their customers’. TRSA’s Hygienically Clean certifications help achieve this objective by ensuring textile products laundered for businesses meet key disinfection criteria,” explains TRSA president and CEO Joseph Ricci.
To approve laundries for Hygienically Clean certification, TRSA inspects them to review their documentation and observe their BMP deployment. After this initial on-site inspection, facilities are examined on a three-year basis. Bacteriological testing begins with one evaluation in each of the first three months the laundry is certified, then one every six months.
Hygienically Clean certification is the second such TRSA program to be unveiled in recent months, following the February launch of the Clean Green designation. It recognizes companies that meet TRSA requirements for achieving efficiencies in water and energy conservation and adopting best management practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources. Dozens of commercial laundry operations are expected to apply for the certifications in the next 60 days.
Based in Alexandria, Va., TRSA represents the $16 billion textile services industry that employs nearly 200,000 people at more than 2,000 facilities nationwide.