Workers at risk and nurses, to name but two populations, usually need quality protective clothing to perform their jobs. Creating a process to help their work gear last longer and be more protective keeps everyone safe. The EU-funded project WASH&LOAD (Enabling an innovative and affordable multi-functionality loading service for functional protective clothing that leverage on the textile service companies while increasing safety for the operators) researched an innovative and affordable multifunctional loading service for protective clothing that exploits textile service companies while increasing safety for the operators. Overall, the aim was to support more than 20 000 small and medium-sized enterprises by providing an opportunity for new business and to ensure a high level of quality in protective work gear. Project partners developed a system that re-functionalises textiles and offers antimicrobial and soil repellent treatments. Test methods for soil repellent and antimicrobial functionalities are time consuming and costly. To address this, the system performs quality control by measuring the amount of chemical agents present. The re-functionalised garment is then validated to assess performance levels and quality of the re-functionalised textile. This helps guarantee the protection, health and safety of users. The team also proposed a novel business model for the laundry, personal protective equipment and functional clothing care industries. It promotes the establishment of new standards and norms for personal protective equipment and functional clothing. The model ensures enhanced worker protection and impacts safety and efficient use of resources. WASH&LOAD introduced innovative, cost-effective and environmentally friendly approaches to improve, guarantee and extend the life of protective clothing. It will also boost European competitiveness in relevant sectors.
Protective clothing, laundry, work gear, bed linens, textile service, worker protection