Ensuring Hygiene & Comfort in Hospitals

Patient linens are an important part of delivering a safe and relatively comfortable patient experience. Trying to fully equip a hospital or similar location means considering several factors, with some of the more obvious ones being the amount of linens needed and their cost. However, this should be balanced against what the linens can offer, including how warm and easily cleaned they are.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Patient Linens

Some important factors to consider when choosing medical apparel for a business include the following:

Total Needed

One important consideration a hospital needs to make is how many linens it needs to fully supply all its patients. A location aiming to serve a high-end medical experience to a few dozen patients obviously has different priorities than a location that may need to equip multiple dozens of rooms for what might amount to hundreds or more patients per month.

This is going to flow into cost, which we discuss later, but the total amount of linens a business needs will affect what the correct choice ends up being. Don’t forget to consider where those linens will be stored or how they’ll be cleaned either. From a business’s perspective, linens are constantly existing somewhere, not just on or with patients.


Another factor to consider when choosing patient linens is the purpose of those linens. For example, if linens are going to go to extremely vulnerable patients, they may need to be particularly antimicrobial and easy to clean (or even disposable). Linens can easily carry dangerous microbes if not properly cared for. This consideration becomes increasingly important the more hands linens may flow through or the more vulnerable the person who might end up needing the linens might be to infection.

Linens that may see more casual use, such as those used for patients getting a basic checkup, don’t necessarily need to be as carefully chosen as those that will be used by those likely to be dangerously infectious or especially vulnerable. However, keep in mind that in a medical setting, there is a certain level of hygiene that is essential regardless of who is likely to encounter the linens.


Typically, linens should be fairly durable. This obviously matters less if disposable linens are used, but patient linens usually need to be able to see regular, thorough cleaning. This is because the nature of working in medicine means a business will likely need to clean more often and occasionally in harsher ways than might typically be done in other settings.

Durability is especially important if a business buys its own linens. Linens that last one year and cost $40 represent a different expense than linens that cost $50 but last eight years. Despite costing slightly more initially, those more expensive linens in this example lasted eight times as long, likely saving a company much more money in the long term.


Although a more minor consideration, visibility is a helpful trait to have in any linens a patient will wear or that might be stored tightly with other linens. For example, many hospitals have fairly uniform color schemes in many areas, such as white for their walls and floors. Choosing linens that are extremely visible against such a background can make patients easier to spot.

This matters more in settings where patients wandering or getting into accidents may be a bigger concern. Ideally, a patient wearing hospital linens should be visible from far away, even if sitting or lying on the floor. It should also be fairly obvious to staff that they are patients.


Patients tend not to like hospital clothes. They can be much colder than our standard attire, and many hospital gowns have an obvious seam at the back that may show more of a person’s body than they’re typically comfortable with. While there is a degree of discomfort inherently traded in for utility, patient linens should provide as comfortable an experience as possible.

For example, consider what temperature a patient is likely to be in for most of their stay.. A patient should absolutely never be dangerously cold or warm. At that point, there is a major issue with the linens they’ve been given and their overall environment.


Hygiene is an important part of ensuring a patient’s safety. Patient linens should always be clean, and they should be easy to clean once dirtied for maximum safety and efficiency. Remember multiple patients will use these linens over time. If one sick patient infects others through linens you’ve been giving to patients, that could be a serious ethical and legal issue.

Although linens are sold with antimicrobial properties and designed to be easier to clean, it’s also important to have the proper training and procedures in place to fully keep linens hygienic. There should be a set schedule where linens are regularly swapped, and linens should always be replaced when obviously dirty. They also need to be thoroughly cleaned in between every use by different patients.


Patient linens can vary in cost, and there’s obviously an appeal to sourcing the cheapest linens. However, as has been highlighted throughout this article, cost needs to be considered in relation to what a set of linens offers. That doesn’t mean it needs to be ignored entirely. Unnecessarily expensive linens that offer nothing more than a cheaper alternative would offer can easily be avoided.

Why Renting Medical Linens Is Often Preferable 

Patient linens can be an important part of keeping a hospital environment hygienic and patients as comfortable as they can be. If slightly pricier linens could help make patients more comfortable, it’s often wise to invest in them.

By renting medical linens rather than buying and maintaining them in-house, hospitals can save significant amounts of time and money. Using a rental service ensures patient linens always look, feel and smell good. Once linens are stained, ripped or otherwise damaged, they are moved out of rotation.

Our team at Alsco can help you equip a hospital or similar location with healthcare linens at a competitive rate. Click here to learn more, and consider exploring our site and talking with our team about how we might be able to reduce the complexity of running your business so you can focus on delivering the best patient experience possible.


Keeping Healthcare Linens Clean: Underrecognized Hazards and Critical Control Points to Avoid Contamination of Laundered Healthcare Textiles. (July 2022). American Journal of Infection Control.

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