Effective Date: 
Mon, 08/01/2011
Wed, 05/26/2021
Wed, 05/26/2021


This policy establishes the guideline for the proper handling and storage of clean and soiled linen.


All linen is handled, stored, transported, and processed in a manner that will prevent contamination and maintain a clean environment for patients, health care workers, and visitors.


1. Soiled or ‘dirty’ linen is:

a. Safely transported to a specific area and stored in a  ‘soiled linen’ bag provided by the laundry service. Minimal handling of soiled linen is advised.

b. Soiled linen is placed in a covered linen storage receptacle.  Linen that is grossly contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids should be handled by staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and is put into a red plastic bag labeled “Biohazard”.  Due to the relative infrequency of this occurrence, linens in this condition are discarded as biohazardous waste. 

c. Soiled linen bags are not over-filled, preventing complete closure.

d. Linen bags are washable and are laundered by the service provider.

e. Soiled linen bags are handled as if hazards were present.

f. Clothing, furniture, and clean linen do not come in contact of the soiled linen bag.

2. Clean linen is:

a. Stored in an area separate from the storage of any dirty linens.

b. If the linen storage area includes other patient care equipment or supplies, the linen is stored on seperate, clean shelving to prevent contamination.

c. Clean linen (including pillows) is not stored on the floor, chair, or counter top.

Linen used for patient use is free of tears, fraying, and damage.  It is the responsibility of the laundry service to inspect and replace worn linen. Worn, clean linen identified by UCSC personnel will be immediately placed in the soiled linen bag for pick-up by the linen service provider. 

Key Points: 


  1. Hand hygiene protocol is followed by all personnel when handling linen.
  2. Standard precautions will be followed when handling soiled linen.
  3. Clean linen and soiled linen should be handled, stored, and transported separately.
  4. Linen should be maintained in good repair.
  5. Laundry service is provided by a vendor meeting requirements for medical linen processing.