UCSB Laboratory Coat Laundering Program FAQs

(last update: October 23, 2015)

Why did UCSB/UC establish this program?

Per Cal-OSHA worker safety regulations, personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by the employee to do their work safely must be provided free by the employer. The employer must also provide a method to clean/sanitize the PPE. So, lab coats cannot be laundered at home, and must go through a qualified commercial laundry service. Commercial facilities are equipped to properly clean coats with incidental amounts of hazardous materials. In the past, some campus labs established laundry service, but most did not. This program is an attempt to provide comprehensive and consistent service across UC/UCSB.

How will the laundering program work?

  1. The process for the distribution/documentation of the appropriate size and type of lab coat (e.g., flame-resistant; gender-specific) is conducted by the Chemistry storeroom personnel. They will document the type and size of lab coats one receives.
  2. Soiled coats can be dropped off at any of the seven drop-off/ pickup sites on campus. Instructions are posted there, but there should be a slot cabinet or hamper where you deposit your coat. Coats are picked up every Tuesday by Mission Linen.
  3. Cleaned coats are delivered on the following Tuesday to that individual’s designated pickup site on a hanger. You were asked to pick a laundry site when you were issued coats. Inside the collar of your coat should be permanent tags that have your name, your supervisor’s name and a unique coat identification number.
  4. Some of the sites are in hallways and some are inside rooms that require key access. The site for the Eng II bldg. (room# 1205) requires a key card – contact your dept. for access.

What if my coat does not return from the laundry?

Contact EH&S at chandra.feeser@ucsb.edu (805.893.3264), or hector.acuna@ucsb.edu (805.893.8243). Per above, your coat will only come back to the site that you pre-designate. You might be issued a replacement if it can’t be found.

What if I forget which pickup site I selected, or never picked one, or want to change it?

Contact EH&S per above.

If I have an old lab coat that I wish to keep using, can I get it into the laundry service? 

Yes, but first ensure that you have the correct type of coat for your work – see #1.  New lab coats are tagged with a unique UCSB Identification and assigned a laundry location. In order to get other, NON-tagged lab coat into the laundry service, follow the directions below:

  1. Take the lab coat to Chemistry store room 1432.
  2. Lab coat info will get entered into PPE database and a tag will be attached. You will be asked to designate a laundry location site.

What’s the difference between a soiled coat and a contaminated coat?

If deciding whether a coat should be laundered, or treated as hazardous waste is a judgment call and depends on the hazardous material involved, quantity, etc. Consult the Safety Data Sheet and/or EH&S for guidance if you are uncertain.

Can I get my coat replaced, or fixed if it becomes damaged, or contaminated? “Green Tag Process”

Yes. To fix damaged coats (e.g., missing button, torn pocket), there are green tags at each drop-off/pickup site which should be completed and attached to your coat before placing in the dirty slot or hamper.

Additionally, if you would like your coat retaped (barcoded) to a different laundry location, fill out a green tag specifically stating the request , “Retape to assign #5 Bio II laundry location”.

green laundry tag

To replace a coat, take a copy of your LHAT voucher to the Chemistry Storeroom – room# 1432.

If I take a new position with a different lab on campus, can I take my lab coats with me?

Yes, but if you also want to change your laundry pickup point, see above.

Can I keep my coat when I leave the University?

We have setup a lab coat recycling/reuse program to minimize the number of new coats needing to be purchased. Coats can be placed in the designated recycling bin located next to one of the laundry drop-off/pick-up locations.