Medical bedding as a vector of healthcare-associated infections

The quality and treatment of hospital linen is key to ensuring patient comfort,safety, and compliance with hygiene rules in the healthcare environment.

In the healthcare sector, bedding is divided into 3 types1:

  • Flat (60% of hospital bedding): subdivided into large flats (sheets, drapes, undersheets) and small flats (towels and gloves)
  • Shaped (35% of hospital linen): concerning clothing for patients and healthcare professionals
  • Miscellaneous (5% of hospital linen): concerning specific items (ties, wristbands, bands, etc.)

It should be noted that bedding consumption in hospitals is consistent with its activity. In France:

  •  hospital bed consumes between 2 and 7kg of bedding per day
  • A surgical operation consumes 5m² of operating bedding
  • The national operating cost is estimated at 600 million/year2

Among the types of bedding, the fitted sheet is the most frequently soiled, contaminated and contaminating item.

Today, the majority of hospitals have “traditional” flat hospital bedding. Even if this bedding is comfortable and resistant to breakage, it is however more prone to be attacked by molds, turns yellow due to the light, loses its resistance to washing and is a source of contamination.

It also requires a longer changeover time (estimated between 10 and 15 minutes) and is difficult for both patients and healthcare professionals, especially in palliative care, geriatric, heavy orthopedic and oncology wards.

In addition, the washing and disinfection process is long and risky, with a “dirty” and a “clean” circuit that must not cross each other. Bed sheets must be washed at least twice per week and the bedding must undergo a disinfection cycle:


All these steps favor the spread of HAIs, knowing that 80% of bacteria are transported by hand. There is therefore a real risk of contamination for laundry and healthcare staff when handling bedding. In addition, despite this washing process, 25%17 of the sheets are permanently stained, damaged or even lost.


However, the risk of contamination can be reduced by using the new concept of multi detachable and disposable fitted sheets. This innovative solution allows for the management of infectious risk via medical bedding.


Discover the NewBedding innovation, a single-use, multi-layered fitted sheet on Dr. helewa.

Sources :

[1], publié le 28.04.09, mis à jour le 21.08.2014 URL au 27.01.2021 :

[2] Blanchisseries hospitalières des coûts à ne pas sous-estimer, Rapport Astères, Nov. 2019

[3] Based on the average lifespan of a bed sheet, 54 washes, hospitals are replacing up to 25% of their sheets annually due to wearing out, blood, tearing, staining, too dirty to clean, theft. This is an average used in the USA for hospitals”Peelsaways internal Research