Test Piece Monitoring Program

A Quality Assurance Essential

Proving that a laundry consistently follows current control measures to produce quality textile products can be difficult. A good quality assurance program includes a systematic, independent assessment that validates how the prescribed process is being followed at all times to provide hygienically clean linen. ALM's independent Test Piece Monitoring Program is an excellent low-cost component of a quality assurance program.

Fee Per Swatch ALM members-$35, non-members $49

ALM members receive a discount when ordering swatches with their dues renewal.

About the Program

ALM's Test Piece Monitoring Program is a valuable tool for linen management, providing the laundry manager with an objective means of monitoring and evaluating wash formulas.

Unlike other test piece programs, ALM utilizes an independent third-party laboratory to assess the process. A treated textile test swatch is processed with the textiles to be evaluated. The test swatch is processed by the laboratory and results provided to the laundry. The results are sent in an easy-to-read format with a separate page detailing common problems and solutions for the wash process.

Why Test?

Although contaminated textiles and fabrics in healthcare facilities can be a source of substantial numbers of pathogenic microorganisms, reports of healthcare associated diseases linked to contaminated fabrics are so few in number that the overall risk of disease transmission during the laundry process likely is negligible...use of current control measures should be continued to minimize the contribution of contaminated laundry to the incidence of healthcare associated infections.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities

Routine Monitoring

An ongoing (i.e., quarterly) assessment of terry products, apparel, sheeting, and/or surgical products provides a thorough ongoing quality assurance program for your customers. This process can confirm continuous quality processing and identify trends and outliers that suggest adjustments may be necessary in advance of customer dissatisfaction. An ongoing test-piece monitoring program can:

  • Validate appropriate product management on textile integrity.
  • Provide assurance of compliance with wash floor policies and procedures.
  • Affirm that appropriate water quality monitoring is attained.
  • Confirm that equipment is maintained appropriately.
  • Corroborate effectiveness of the wash formulas.

Facilities should include test pieces in their different textile types/products each quarter throughout the year to ensure wash processes are effectively cleaning each product type.

Quality Assurance

After ordering your swatches, all test pieces for the year will be shipped by USPS. Each facility determines their schedule for testing. Key wash parameters should be monitored and recorded for each test piece swatch processed, including (at a minimum):

  • Wash formula utilized
  • Water intake quality
  • Equipment utilized (the same equipment should be used for each swatch test)
  • Type and color of textile tested

Recording this information will be essential in problem-solving/resolution if the test-piece results indicate less than adequate outcomes. Changes may then be implemented and subsequent testing provides confirmation of process improvement.

Special Textile Testing

Occasionally, laundries, textile manufacturers, or chemical vendors need an independent analysis to resolve the cause behind undesired outcomes in the wash process. A variety of testing methods are available through a Special Testing Program provided by the University of Kentucky Textile Laboratory. Typically, this program requires submission of an original, unwashed textile (not a test piece) and an identical product that has been processed to demonstrate the undesired outcome. The approach, testing method, and costs associated with each test varies and is best discussed with Dr. Elizabeth Easter at 859-257-7777.