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Why and How to Use a Water-Soluble Garment Bag


Water-soluble garment bags have become popular because they reduce the risk of infection from surface and airborne contact.


However, to access these benefits, users need to follow a specific protocol. To allow you to access these benefits, we detail the bag's proper usage.

What is a Water-Soluble Laundry Bag?

A water-soluble garment bag prevents cross-contamination by keeping infected clothes in a sanitary environment.

Since these bags are made of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA), they are 100% biodegradable and begin to dissolve when coming into contact with water. These characteristics mean these bags can be placed into the washing machine, which won't clog pipes or damage the machine's parts.

Does Water Soluble PVA Film Harm Marine Life and the Environment?

Water-soluble garment bags are safe and environmentally friendly, leaving behind no ecological footprint because they are biodegradable.

Furthermore, since the bag is manufactured using water-soluble PVA film, it is entirely non-toxic, making them an excellent option for use in hospitals and care facilities.

Why are Water-Soluble Garment Bags Important?

In hospitals, clinics, and care facilities, where contamination is dangerous and can potentially be deadly, contaminated and soiled clothes and bedding should be contained immediately.

Then, before being used again, these garments have to be disinfected.


Placing laundry into a water-soluble garment bag can contain laundry throughout its life cycle. However, if you're using fabric or PE garment bags, laundry staff have to open the bag and remove the clothes and bedding before washing.


Coming into contact with the garments in this way places staff at increased risk of infection, even if they wear PPE.


Consider minimizing the cross-contamination risk by making the switch to water-soluble PVA film garment bags. These bags containing contaminated clothes can be placed directly into the washing machine without having to open them prior to disinfection.

How Does a Water-Soluble Laundry Bag Work?

Using a water-soluble garment bag is simple.


Begin by using the bag to line the laundry hamper, where contaminated clothes, uniforms, and bedding can be placed without making contact with the hamper. Once the bag is full, a water-soluble tie seals the bag to keep any contaminated particles within the bag.

Four Steps for Using a Water-Soluble Garment Bag

Although these garment bags are useful, their usefulness can only be appreciated if you use them correctly.

You should only use water-soluble garment bags while strictly adhering to the following SOPs.


Following are the guidelines for using water-soluble laundry bags correctly.

Step 1: Properly Store the Water Soluble Garment Bag

When using water-soluble laundry bags, keeping them within the protective overwrap they are packaged in is important. This overwrap shields the bags of water-soluble PVA film from exposure to moisture or other elements that could harm their structural integrity.


Ideally, you should store the garment bags at temperatures between 45°F and 86°F, and the relative humidity should be maintained between 20 and 70 percent.

Following these guidelines will help extend the bags' shelf life and ensure that they perform as expected.

Step 2: Use the Garment Bag Correctly to Avoid Contamination

To ensure garment bags remain functional, handle them with dry hands. Thoroughly dry your hands before touching the bag, or use disposable gloves.

Then apply talcum powder to eliminate any additional moisture.


When garments are placed in the bag, ensure dry linen is at the bottom to protect it in case others add any moist or soiled items to the bag.

If possible, avoid disposing of any moist items in the bag.


If this is not feasible, consider using two bags to create an extra layer of protection and eliminate any space between them.

Step 3: Seal the Bag with the Tie Seal

When the bag is at capacity, it's time to seal it. Remove as much air from the bag as possible. This makes it easier and safer to transport the bag to the laundry. Use only the water-soluble tie provided with the garment bag to seal it, and avoid tying the garment bag in a knot to maintain the bag's water solubility.


After sealing, consider placing the water-soluble garment bag inside another bag for additional protection during movement and handling to prevent damage.

Step 4: Disinfect in the Washer

When you reach the laundry, gently place the bag into the washer — do not sort the contents. Doing this will prevent any risk of contamination.


Start the cold water cycle and wait for the water-soluble laundry bag to dissolve, allowing the contents to separate in the water before adding disinfectants or chemicals — this should take under a minute to complete.


Using water-soluble garment bags, like the ones manufactured by POLYVA, guarantees your clinic, hospital, or care facility maintains the utmost sanitary processes, limiting outbreaks and contamination. 

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