Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA)s recently introduced Hygienically Clean certification program has passed two milestones in its rapid expansion: more than 10 textile services facilities have earned the international distinction and an entire multi-location operation has been certified.
The fully certified chain, Ecotex Healthcare Linen Services, headquartered in Seattle, has laundries in Abbotsford, BC, Canada; Tacoma, Wash., Albuquerque and Oklahoma City.
Rounding out the initial designees are four other companies:
- Ameripride Services, Minnetonka, Minn.: plants certified in Minneapolis; Springfield, Mo.; Twin Falls, Idaho (operates across United States, Canada)
- Faultless Healthcare Linen, Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan. (also serves Illinois)
- Medicleanse Medical Linen Service, Seattle (also serves Oregon)
- Northwest Health Care Linen, Bellingham, Wash.
Hygienically Clean is the fastest-growing laundry certification, quickly gaining acceptance because it takes the bold step of defining clean and quantifying that a certified laundrys practices successfully produce hygienic products, says TRSA president and CEO Joseph Ricci. The program is attracting participation in large part because it enables a certified location to generate a cleanliness record proving its consistent performance exceeding the standard and improvement.
To receive the designation, laundered textiles must be tested by an independent lab to verify these goods are hygienically clean, rather than relying on facility inspection as a predictor of cleanliness. Like other certifiers, TRSA inspects textile services facilities engineering and business practices, but adds bacteriological testing to maximize customers confidence in launderers processing and handling.
Besides basic qualification standards and quantification, TRSA has developed additional guidelines for industry and market-specific designations such as Healthcare and Food Safety.
Key differentiators of Hygienically Clean certification are:
- Continuity. TRSA Hygienically Clean certification requires laundry plants to achieve the cleanliness standard three months in a row and pass an inspection before being certified and requires ongoing microbial testing demanding consistent performance, which is more stringent than only requiring a single inspection every three years.
- Objectivity. Every laundry operation is unique based on their equipment, product mix and other operational and management facets. TRSAs program establishes a common denominator for all by applying the European definition of hygienically clean and building a strict protocol for continuous measurement. In addition, our inspectors are experienced consultants capable of making independent inspections.
- ISO Integrity. The International Standards Organization (ISO) determined that production processes are not reliable indicators of the quality of a product. Only if a product itself is subjected to a certification standard can the product label or package be embellished with a certification conformity mark. Therefore, requiring a laundry to adhere to a selected list of best management practices cannot verify that its products are hygienically clean. TRSA Hygienically Clean certification fits the ISO definition by eliminating this subjectivity with quantifiable and persistent evaluation of microbiological content of textiles.
No U.S. government agency or association has previously set a standard for an acceptable bacterial level for textiles. Professional washing, drying and ironing techniques have long been recognized for effectively preventing textile products from spreading infectious disease. Ricci says. TRSA Hygienically Clean certification takes this to a higher level. Setting a cleanliness standard establishes a quantified baseline for perpetual gain, a commitment to continuous improvement. We believe healthcare, food safety and other customers of textile services will recognize this difference in certifications and increasingly appreciate laundry operators who accept this challenge.