Study: Healthcare workers should iron uniforms after laundering them at home

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Hot water and an iron may be the ticket to keeping dangerous bacteria off of nursing uniforms, a new study suggests.

Many of Britain's National Health Service hospitals recently ended in-house laundry services, which caused University College in London researchers to look at the effectiveness of residential washing machines. They found that machines that heated water only to 104 degrees Fahrenheit left substantial amounts of bacteria Acinetobacter behind. Water hotter than that was effective at killing both Acineobacter and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Additionally, the investigators found that ironing uniforms after they had been washed in 104-degree water got rid of the remaining bacteria.

The study was published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.