The insider guide on how to label clothing for nursing homes

All the tips and tricks that you will need from the mouths of aged care workers. 


We know that when a loved one is moving into aged care it can be a stressful time? Will they settle in? Will their health improve? Will they resent me? With all these concerns plus many more, you don’t want to be thinking about something as trivial as clothing labelling! Let’s take one of these worries away…

The first thing you will need to find out is will the nursing home do it for you? This could save you a lot of time and effort! Some facilities will do it for free while others will charge a fee. Ask the receptionist for more information.

What are your options?

Clothes don’t always have to be labelled although in most nursing homes it is highly recommended. Usually, it depends on the capabilities of the resident. Often facilities will have washing and drying machines that the residents have access to. They can then maintain their independence and feeling of worth by washing and drying clothes themselves. Staff can help with this if necessary. If this is the case then labelling might not be needed. You have to bear in mind that clothes can easily get lost and that is why labelling is usually recommended.

If washing and drying clothes is proving too difficult for the residents then the facility can take over the task. This is when labelling is compulsory.

Why label clothing for nursing homes?

You need to label all of your loved one’s clothing, so it is easy for the laundry staff to sort and so that they don’t get lost. Let’s imagine a facility with 100 residents, it would be very hard to maintain an efficient service with all those items if they weren’t labelled!

If clothing without a label or a hard to read label does find its way into the laundry, there will be a lost property section. This is usually a hanging rack in a prominent area that staff and residents can inspect. Care staff especially have a very close relationship with the residents and are in the best place to know who wears what! Once when I was working in aged care, two residents were adamant that on item in lost property was theirs. I was brought in to cast the final vote and after some investigation I made the right call!

How does the laundry system work at nursing homes?

Residents have a washing basket in their room and there is a schedule of when the laundry is to be collected, usually by the care staff. This schedule ensures that the laundry’s workload is spread evenly throughout the week. The laundry is usually closed over the weekend, laundry staff have a nice surprise on Monday! The scheduling is communicated to new residents when they move into the facility. Ask a staff member if you would like to know this information.

Once the laundry staff have washed and dried the clothing they with then load it into baskets and onto racks and go to the rooms to deliver. Some laundry staff will put the clothing away in rooms or some may leave it in the room for the resident or care staff to put away.

There isn’t usually much storage space in the resident’s rooms so some residents may feel uneasy about the lack of space. This can be adapted, if space allows, by putting in an extra wardrobe or chest of drawers.

Most facilities have their own laundry facilities, however some will outsource their laundry (this means that the clothing is washed offsite). This may mean a delay in the turnaround.

How do the nursing home label the clothing?

The laundry label them – most have special heat sealing machines. They apply the name label or sometimes the room number near the existing clothing tags on the inside of the clothing. An alternative is a black permanent marker, the name or room number will be written onto the existing clothing label. Sometimes, to cover their costs, the facilities will charge to label the items.

How can I label clothing for nursing homes myself?

You can buy your own labels and iron them on. This isn't always ideal as your loved one’s clothing is washed in industrial machines which are often brutal and they can become frayed or fall off.

Sometimes family have decided to label the items themselves and it doesn’t always work out for the best! There is a big difference between a washing and drying machine at your home and the ones used in aged care!

Another option is to stitch a label onto the clothing. This is an effective but time-consuming method depending on your skills. 

What do I need to label?

Everything that goes into the wash! Some facilities will also ask that slippers and shoes are labelled. Clothing can end up in all sorts of places so it’s always nice to know whose is who! Some residents may choose to have their own towels and face washers too although all facilities will supply these for everyone to use.

How much does it cost to label clothing for nursing homes?

It depends on which method of labelling the clothing that you choose. There are many businesses that you can buy iron-on labels from. It is best to shop around and find the most competitive price if you have time.

Is your loved one all stocked up with appropriate clothing?

We have a full range of clothing that has been specially selected for men and women living in nursing homes. Find out more.