Coronavirus: prevention, risks and protocols for Professional Textile Care

The coronavirus has also been increasingly detected in Europe after China. After Northern Italy and Tenerife it also arrived in The Netherlands! This leads to the question of which preparations are necessary to prevent infections in the Netherlands. For our sector, this mainly concerns the protection of employees, in particular drivers and employees in the waste sorting, but also the certainty of sufficient textile disinfection.

CINET’s previous newsletter contained the WOPCOM blogpost “Risk analysis – treatment of linen contaminated with the new Coronavirus” (link – here). Below is a further explanation of risks, prevention, processing and applicable protocols.


What are characteristics?

  • The virus can be transmitted from person to person by exposure to large respiratory drops (by sneezing!), By direct contact and by spreading in the air. The infection itself takes place in the respiratory tract.
  • The virus is extra dangerous because infected people only start showing symptoms of the disease after about two weeks. In the meantime, they spread the virus without being aware of it.
  • The life cycle of the Coronavirus outside a human host cell is very short: it is estimated to be less than 20 minutes. This makes the chance of infection via linen extremely small: the transport time of contaminated linen is usually more than 20 minutes.

Exception to the rule: linen that is contaminated with faeces may remain infected for up to 24 hours. This statement is based on previous experiences with the SARS Corona virus.


What are risks?

  • The risk of risk when transporting and washing linen is very small. The standard hygienic precautions are adequate.
  • The new virus is destroyed / deactivated in the washing process by:
    • Thermal disinfection – according to time / temperature rules;
    • Chemothermal disinfection – when applying disinfectant products approved by CTGB.


What to do with contaminated laundry?

  • With regard to the supply of contaminated laundry, the customer / care institution can or must follow its own protocols and supply them separately, marked and packaged separately.
  • If the foregoing does not happen, the care institution must in any case arrange for the separate delivery of linen / laundry contaminated with faeces and used in an environment with persons infected by the COVID virus.
  • If washing is done at a low temperature, a disinfectant must be added to the washing process. Otherwise a minimum temperature / time of 800 by 10 minutes or 700 by 25 minutes is applied.

These days, sounds came to us that linen contaminated with coronavirus should not be processed. There is currently no basis for this.


What to do about staff protection?

  • All personnel must carefully observe the rules on good (hand) hygiene
    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Cough and sneeze in the inside of your elbow
    • Use paper tissues
  • Drivers must wear gloves when collecting laundry.
  • Personnel in the sorting (dirty laundry) must wear gloves and a mouth mask (type FFP3)

In the event that contaminated laundry is supplied separately, in separate and marked bags, additional measures are recommended like:

  • Personnel should wear protective clothing if there is a risk of direct contact with biological agents (for example in the event of splashing). Replace and launder protective clothing in the event of contamination (see above).


What to do with sick staff?

  • Employees who have a fever in combination with respiratory complaints (cough, shortness of breath) must contact the doctor and must stay at home;
  • Check whether local legislation and guidelines require reporting sick employees to local authorities/health care institutes. If so, report!
  • GP and the authorities/health care institutes can determine whether further investigation is required.


Protocols hospitals / care institutions

Hospitals / care institutions naturally have their own responsibilities with regard to protocols / guidelines regarding the use of linen, work clothing and other textiles.

The advice is to coordinate well with the individual hospital / care institution, etc., in order to identify and resolve any points for attention.



For any questions and / or further explanation, or other agreements that are made with buyers, please contact the CINET Secretariat by email at or by phone  (+31344650430)