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Infection prevention and control guidelines

9. Cleaning, laundry and waste management

Overview – Cleaning, laundry and waste management

      1. Overview – Cleaning, laundry and waste management

Last revised: 18 Aug 2023

Overview – Cleaning, laundry and waste management

Practices must have a current cleaning policy that identifies staff members’ responsibilities, work health and safety issues, and procedures for routine scheduled cleaning, unscheduled cleaning, and monitoring of effectiveness.

The practice must perform a risk analysis to determine the methods, frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and the products used.

Avoid reusable linen where possible (eg through use of single-use paper sheets on examination tables, single-use disposable surgical drapes, disposable sterile barrier systems for surgical packs).

If reusable linen is used, the practice must have a policy on when to change linen, precautions when handling soiled linen, and the procedures for washing, drying (if done on site) and storing linen in accordance with the current relevant standard.

Clinical linen must not be laundered in a staff member’s home, because most domestic washing machines cannot achieve the washing cycle temperature, time and detergent dosing or the drying time and temperature specified in the relevant standard for laundering linen. (Clinical linen includes all linen used in the practice except tea towels used only in the practice kitchen/lunchroom.)

Staff members responsible for cleaning and on-site laundry must be given education and training to perform these duties correctly and in accordance with the current relevant standard.

All staff, including those without primary responsibility for cleaning, laundry or waste management, must understand and follow policies for cleaning and hygiene throughout the practice.

The practice must have an up-to-date policy for waste management that conforms to state or territory regulations and meets the current national standard for management of clinical and related wastes.

Waste must be safely and appropriately segregated into clinical (and related) waste and general waste as it is generated. Staff responsible for handling waste must receive regularly updated education and training on safe handling and disposal.