What is a Barrier Washer and What Does it Do?

April 15, 2021

Barrier washers are usually found in healthcare facilities and correctional facilities, where the risk of contamination is high and its impact is critical. Washing machines do an excellent job of cleaning and disinfecting linens using temperature, chemicals, and agitation. However, Barrier Washers go a step further by separating the dirty area from the clean area, reducing recontamination significantly. This is particularly important in helping organisations meet their compliance obligations under AS/NZS 4146-2000: Laundry Standards.

The general protocol to avoid recontamination using a standard washing machine would be to wipe down the trim, door, around the door, the buttons and door handle with disinfectant after the soiled linen has been loaded; then remove and discard all PPE. While these actions can and should be taken, it can be a challenge to stay on top of as well as ensure all surfaces were covered, increasing the risk of recontamination.

Barrier Washers are different to standard commercial washing machines because they have two doors and are installed within a wall. This creates a barrier, separating the loading and unloading areas. The dirty linen is loaded on one side, the door is then closed, and the wash cycle selected and started. Once the cycle has completed, the clean linen is removed from the other side by a different employee. Therefore, the bacteria from the dirty side has not transferred and the clean side remains clean.

Safe handling procedures still need to be followed, but a Barrier Washer goes the step further in reducing cross contamination, protecting patients and laundry employees, as well as assisting in compliance with AS/NZS 4146-2000: Laundry Standards.

The IPSO range of industrial hygienic barrier washer-extractors comes available in capacities from 18kg up to 180kg. Check out our range of washers, including barrier washers here.