Although the pH level in sheets, pillowcases, and pads is not a main cause of bedsores in healthcare facilities, a high pH level can certainly contribute to the severity of bedsores, as well as cause very uncomfortable skin irritations and rashes in patients. It is for those reasons that a healthcare facility should always rely on a laundry chemical provider that has a proven track record, especially in healthcare facilities.
A good chemical provider will have qualified consultants who use the proper testing methods for measuring things like residual alkalinity in linens. By understanding the pH balance and the chemistry involved in getting linens clean, your laundry consultant is ensuring that clean linens mean not only clean in appearance, but have a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5 when those linens come out of the dryer.
Many types of linen in a healthcare atmosphere end up with a variety of stains that require a high level of alkalinity in the chemistry in order to remove the soils in these linens. This high level of alkalinity translates to a very high pH level – up to 12.0 – that is necessary to get things clean. It is equally important, especially in a healthcare setting where patients whose skin is in direct contact with the linens, that this alkalinity is flushed out in the rinse steps of a wash cycle.
The target pH at the end of a wash cycle is in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 on a pH scale.
In order to get to this point, an acid, or sour, must be introduced in the final step of a wash cycle in order to help neutralize the alkalinity in the linens. Again, this is a critical step for the laundry professional to understand. If after the final step of the wash process the pH level is anywhere outside of the desired range, then a good laundry professional will know to adjust the chemistry to arrive at the proper pH range.
Again, while the pH level of the linens may not be a cause of bedsores in a healthcare setting, it can significantly impact the severity of them. Improper pH levels will most certainly contribute to skin irritations, rashes, and general discomfort. It is critical that a chemical provider with a proven track record of performance and with highly trained consultants be in place in order to best serve the facility and its patients
John Jacobs is the Product Manager for Laundry, Warewashing & Foodservice at Betco Corporation. When he’s not wearing his laundry and warewashing superhero cape, you will probably find him spending time with his daughters, or playing guitar with his band in the Detroit area. Click here to contact him directly.