Health care worker knowledge and attitudes towards uniform laundering during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lucy Owen, Lindsay Apps, Natalia Stanulewicz-Buckley, Andrew Hall, Katie Laird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns towards domestic laundering of healthcare worker (HCW) uniforms; this is common practice in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and United States. Previous research suggested 4-32% of nurses did not adhere to laundry policies, which could be an infection control risk. This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of UK healthcare workers towards domestic laundering of uniforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online and paper questionnaires were distributed to HCWs and nursing students who regularly wear uniforms. Differences in knowledge between HCWs were analyzed by Chi-squared tests and attitudes were examined using exploratory factor analysis.
About 86% of participants (n = 1099 of 1277) laundered their uniforms domestically. Respondents were confident in laundering their uniforms appropriately (71%), however 17% failed to launder at the recommended temperature (60°C). Most participants (68%) would prefer their employer launder their uniforms, with mixed negative emotions towards domestic laundering. Limited provision of uniforms and changing and/or storage facilities were a barrier to following guidelines.
Most HCWs domestically launder their uniforms, despite a preference for professional laundering. One-fifth of HCWs deviated from the UK National Health Service uniform guidelines; onsite changing facilities were the most significant barrier towards adherence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-535
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number5
Early online date28 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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