Non-disposable lab coats must be laundered on a regular basis to ensure they are clean for laboratory personnel to wear. Lab coats must not be taken home for laundering under any circumstances to avoid contaminating personal clothing and laundering equipment. Columbia University maintains several approved vendors that can provide and launder lab coats on a rental basis. As an example, the cost of outfitting a laboratory of 10 people with two lab coats each with regular laundering services can be as affordable as $150 annually. A current list of approved vendors can be found on the Columbia University Finance Portal at http://finance.columbia.edu/content/uniforms.
The PI and/or Department is responsible for providing lab coats and a means to launder them and should select a preferred vendor and establish an account. An alternative option chosen by some departments is to install a washer and dryer to facilitate onsite laundering. Contact Facilities to discuss this option.
If you are a small laboratory and find it difficult to obtain vendor services please consider the following:
- What arrangements, if any, has your department made?
- Do they already have a contract with an approved vendor?
- Do they have access to a washer and dryer dedicated for lab coat laundering?
- What are laboratories on your floor or in your building doing?
- Collaborate with other laboratories and cost share the vendor contract.
For assistance choosing the appropriate type and quantity of lab coats for your laboratory, please contact your Research Safety Specialist at http://ehs.columbia.edu/LabAssignment.html.