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Disposable vs Washable Curtains for Healthcare

Disposable vs Washable Curtains for Healthcare

The debate of whether to use disposable or reusable curtains in a healthcare setting has been a long-standing issue. On the one hand, reusable curtains are cheaper and more durable; however, they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. On the other hand, disposable curtains are a more hygienic option, but they are more expensive and can be wasteful. 

Now, a new solution could help save money on waste, facilities, and laundry costs. This solution combines the benefits of disposable and reusable curtains, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to ensure a hygienic environment.

Hospitals and medical clinics are encouraged to frequently change and clean their curtains to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. Initially, fabric curtains were used for this purpose, but recently healthcare providers have switched to disposable curtains due to their ability to reduce infection. However, this solution has become unsustainable and costly due to the current pandemic.

Using Disposable Curtains

Disposable curtains have become more popular due to infection control concerns. Initially, this is a cost-efficient solution. However, in some cases, they must be replaced after each patient, which can be costly. Additionally, there is an increased amount of waste due to the increased need for disposable curtains. Many of these cannot be recycled, leading to further costs in disposal. Therefore, while they may be beneficial in the short term, they may be less cost-effective in the long run as reusable options.

A disposable curtain can be used for some time, but research has shown that it can quickly accumulate bacteria and viruses from people coming in and out of the area. Therefore, replacing the curtains often is necessary for effective infection control. This makes reusable curtains a more cost-effective and hygienic option.

Using Washable Curtains

Reusable curtains are a better option than disposable curtains for clinical environments. They last longer, can be washed and reused multiple times, and can reduce long-term costs. Although the upfront cost of reusable curtains may be more expensive, the ongoing costs associated with laundering them are lower than the cost of single-use disposable curtains. Additionally, reusable curtains provide a more sustainable option, reducing waste and ensuring patient comfort.

Hospitals and GP surgeries have concluded that disposable curtains are the best choice, considering the cost over the product's lifetime. The frequency of washing and replacing reusable curtains, and the potential for infection and staining, are variables that make it difficult to calculate the exact cost of each type of curtain. In light of the current pandemic, a new solution is necessary, and disposable curtains are the most effective option.


Both disposable and washable curtains have their advantages and drawbacks for use in healthcare. Disposable curtains are cost-effective and reduce the spread of infections, but they are not as durable as washable curtains. On the other hand, washable curtains provide durability and can be reused, but they are more expensive and require more maintenance. The best choice between disposable and washable curtains for healthcare will depend on the specific needs of each unique situation. 

Direct Fabrics manufactures, supplies and installs soft furnishings, including curtains, bedding, fabrics, tracks and blinds across the UK. We have over 50 years of experience in contract furnishings, guaranteeing British-manufactured, made-to-measure products. We are an NHS-certified supplier and work supplying hotels, care homes, schools and more. If you’re looking for glare-reducing and flame-retardant disposable hospital curtains in the UK, we’ve got you covered! Visit our website to shop online now!