Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

08th February 2017

Are flannels unhygienic?

I work in a care home , our manager has said due to the fact we are using too many wipes per week (dry wipes we wet to wash services user’s personnel places i.e. bottoms), we are now having to use dark colour flannels that get washed in the laundry and get used by all.

My concern is this is unhygienic and puts services users at risk of infection and cross contamination. I would like to know if this way of washing is considered ok and common practice, as I think disposable wipes surely must be the correct way?


Dear J,


Thank you for your question.


The first thing that I would say is that I often read that wipes are not environmentally friendly and they are not biodegradable. However, they do of course have a role to play in a care home but so do flannels.


If flannels are to be used regularly then each resident should have two flannels in use at any one time. One for the face, hands and upper body and one for the lower body. I would have thought that it would be best to identify by two different colours.


The flannels should be washed regularly and preferably daily.


In the event of an infection in the home then wipes should be used.


I hope this is helpful.


Best wishes.



*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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