Is there a risk of cross-infection from laundered reusable bedpads?

Br J Nurs. 1999;8(17):1161-3. doi: 10.12968/bjon.1999.8.17.6492.


The risk of cross-infection from reusable incontinence bedpads was assessed by determining their microbial content after one night's use by incontinent adults and after laundering using the standard foul wash procedure specified by the NHS Executive (NHS E, 1995) (which includes heat disinfection at 71 degrees C for 3 minutes). Measurements were made on a total of 145 bedpads from five different product designs. It was found that effective laundering destroyed all known pathogenic organisms, although some commensal flora were isolated in small numbers (mean 12.2 colony forming units/ml). It is concluded that laundering reusable incontinence pads using the foul wash procedure leaves pads safe for multiple patient reuse with no demonstrable risk of cross-infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bedding and Linens / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cross Infection / etiology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Equipment Contamination* / prevention & control
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Reuse*
  • Humans
  • Laundry Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors