How do you wash a reusable isolation gown properly?

The benefit of using a reusable isolation gown over a disposable one is that a reusable
gown can be used multiple times before needing to be replaced. It is important to know
the proper way to wash and sterilize reusable gowns to ensure that they continue to
provide effective protection against infectious diseases after every wash cycle.
Manufacturers often provide information on the proper washing techniques for their
products. Penguin Health is one such manufacturer that makes its AAMI-rated reusable
gowns in Ontario and provides detailed instructions for proper laundering procedures.

There are many factors to take into account when it comes to washing a reusable
isolation gown. Firstly, the gowns should be checked for any sharp objects that could
cause damage to the fabric before washing. Temperature is another factor that should
be taken into consideration at all steps of the washing process. Level 3 AAMI gowns for
example usually cannot handle temperatures exceeding 82C and so they cannot be
ironed and must be washed and dried at lower temperatures. Gowns should also not be
exposed to high pressures or strong chemical detergents. In general, the gowns should
we washed in mild detergent under low or medium pressure and dried at a reasonably
low temperature to ensure that they are not damaged. After drying, gowns should be
cooled for an adequate amount of time and the promptly folded to prevent wrinkling.
The quality of the gowns should be checked regularly to ensure that their performance
is still reliable.

Why is it important to properly wash isolation gowns?

The purpose of an isolation gown is to protect the wearer’s body against potential
disease-carrying droplets and particulates. Healthcare workers are especially at risk of
being exposed to fluids and particulates that can cause infectious diseases. If a
reusable isolation gown isn’t washed correctly, it increases the risk of exposing the
wearer to those infectious diseases. Whether the gown isn’t fully sterilized during the
process or it is damaged at any point during the process, the effectiveness and the
useful life of the gown will decrease and it will have to be replaced much faster than if it
had been washed properly.

How many times can a reusable isolation gown be washed?

The number of times reusable gowns can be washed usually depends on the material of
the gown. If a gown is made of a more durable material it is likely to survive more wash
cycles without significantly compromising efficacy and quality. Modern AAMI-rated
reusable isolation gowns can be washed more than 100 times. The information on the
number of wash cycles that a gown can undergo should be given by the manufacturer.
Penguin Health offers two types of level 3 AAMI rated reusable isolation gowns: one
that can survive 100 wash cycles and one that can survive more than 150 wash cycles.

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