CORONAVIRUS. Prevention, risks and protocols for Retail Textile Cleaning and Industrial Textile Services

In the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, CINET, together with reputed Professional Textile Care experts, has developed a protocol for Retail Textile Cleaning and Industrial Textile Services. Feel free to share it with your colleagues in the industry. 

As PTC’s global umbrella organization, CINET aims to create a open-platform in which every one of you can share his/her company’s experience during the coronavirus crisis. Therefore, feel free to share your experience (with text and photos) that you can send at or using our social media accounts. We will publish them in the E-News section and weekly newsletter.


Corona: protocol Retail Textile Cleaners (RTC)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has captivated the world. The WHO has declared corona to be a pandemic. Point of attention is that laundry offered to textile cleaners by consumers and/or companies is not necessarily recognizable as potentially contaminated laundry. To prevent further spreading of the virus through contaminated laundry and employees of textile cleaners becoming infected, CINET, together with experts, has developed this protocol.


Advice for Retail Textile Cleaners on handling (contaminated) laundry

  • It is recommended to state the following message in all stores, on websites, at depots, collection points, etc. which are accessible to customers: “Hand over COVID-19 contaminated laundry in closed bags!”
  • Customers should deliver contaminated laundry in closed, preferably marked bags.
  • This applies to all customers that offer textiles laundry:
    • At a depot
    • At your store
    • Through a nursing home (contact the institution to discuss the protocol)
  • Drivers should wear gloves when collecting contaminated laundry, take them off immediately after use and wash their hands. This is sufficient if the laundry is placed in a closed laundry bag; otherwise, a face mask must be used as well.
  • When sorting the contaminated laundry, gloves and a face mask (type FFP2) should be used to load the laundry into the machine:
  • If laundry is not delivered marked as corona but you suspect contamination, act similarly.
  • Hands should be washed after taking off gloves and removing the mask.


Washing/cleaning process

  • There is limited/insufficient data available to show whether the usual retail cleaning processes and solvents work effectively in killing the virus. Please contact your supplier about this.
  • After consultation with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), microbiologists and international chemical suppliers, the advice is to apply a minimum temperature/time of 80 degrees at 10 minutes or 70 degrees at 25 minutes. If washing at a low temperature, a disinfectant (peracetic acid) must be added in the wet cleaning process. For technical specifications, please contact your supplier.


Additional recommendations

If you can comply with these recommendations, the laundry can be processed immediately. If not, the recommendation is to leave dirty/contaminated laundry in closed bags for 5 days in a closed area at room temperature; this provides extra security (in favourable conditions the virus survives outside the body for approx. 3 days). The recommendation is to date the bags that go into storage!


Update corona COVID-19: prevention, risks and protocols professional textile care (Industrial Textile Services)

The WHO has declared that the corona virus has to be considered a pandemic. This poses the question which actions are necessary to prevent the spreading of infections. In addition, personnel in textile service companies/laundries must be protected against the risk of contamination.


The CINET newsletter of week 9 (February 2020) included the publication “Risk analysis – treatment of linen contaminated with the new Coronavirus” (

Below is a further explanation of risks, prevention, processing and applicable protocols.


What are COVID-19 characteristics?

  • The SARS-CoV-2 corona virus is transmitted from person to person through exposure to drops (sneezing or coughing), through direct contact (touch) and through contaminated surfaces. The infection manifests by complaints mainly from the respiratory tract (colds, cough and shortness of breath) but also the digestive system (diarrhoea). In addition, many patients have a fever.
  • Different infected people do not get equally ill. The period from the moment of infection until the point where they get sick lasts from a few days to about two weeks. In the meantime, they do not yet show any symptoms of the disease but may be infectious. The degree in which sick persons are infectious
  • The survival of the corona virus outside a human host cell is limited: depending on the circumstances, it can be anywhere from 20 minutes to a few days only in special circumstances. The virus is sensitive to treatment with detergents and disinfectants. The limited survival and the method of infection reduces the chance of infection by third parties through textiles. The textile washing process is sufficient to inactivate the virus.
  • The survival of the virus may be longer in textiles contaminated with faeces, as previous experience with the SARS-1 corona virus has shown.


What are risks?

  • The risk of contamination during transport and washing of linen is very small. Standard hygiene precautions are adequate. This is evident from recommendations of authorities as well as medical microbiologists.
  • The virus is destroyed/deactivated in the washing process through:
    • Thermal disinfection – according to time/temperature rules;
    • Chemo thermal disinfection – when using a washing process with disinfectant products approved by the CTGB.


What to do with (contaminated) laundry?

  • Customers/healthcare institutions follow their own protocols and supply laundry without further details. This is in accordance with guidelines of authorities, hospitals. and other clients.
  • If the laundry is contaminated, the laundry must be delivered separately, in separate and marked bags.
  • When washing at a low temperature, a disinfectant (peracetic acid) must be added in the washing process. Otherwise, a minimum temperature/time of 80 degrees at 10 minutes or 70 degrees at 25 minutes must be used.


Corona-contaminated linen can be processed effectively.


What about the protection of employees?

  • Regardless of the very limited risk, all personnel must carefully observe the rules regarding good (hand) hygiene. This is to prevent other possible infections.
    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Cough and sneeze in the inside of your elbow
    • Use tissue paper
  • Drivers should wear gloves when picking up laundry, take them off immediately after use and wash their hands.
  • Personnel in the dirty laundry sorting department must wear gloves and, if laundry is not supplied separately, a face mask (type FFP2 is sufficient). After taking off gloves and removing the mask, hands should be washed.


An FFP2 mask is the minimum level. In case no masks are available (anymore), it is recommended to leave dirty/contaminated laundry in closed bags for 5 days; this provides extra security (in favourable conditions the virus survives outside the body for 3 days).


In case laundry is delivered separately, in marked bags, additional measures, are advised:

  • Personnel wears protective clothing if there is a risk of direct contact with biological agents (for example, when splashing). Replace and wash protective clothing in case of contamination (see above).


How to deal with sick staff?

  • Employees that have a fever in combination with respiratory complaints (coughing, shortness of breath) should contact the doctor and stay at home;
  • The GP and possibly the health care authorities determine whether further investigation is required.


Protocols for 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.

It is advisable to coordinate this with the individual hospital/care institution in order to identify and resolve any points for attention.


Accountability CINET follows developments worldwide and has received an affirmative response from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and medical microbiologists, who endorse the protocol.

Further data and sources, on the following links – here, here, here, here and here!



We request feedback and communication of actions, initiatives, relevant information, etc. to the secretariat so an international approach in the sector can be achieved where possible.


For any questions and/or further explanation, or questions about deviating agreements made with customers, please contact the secretariat at (+31) 0344 – 650430 or