The answer to your question depends on several factors, including 1) type of sling fabric in question, 2) laundering methods, 3) chemical usage, 4) drying method, 5) storage method, and 6) type of handling when in use. We cannot overemphasize the fact that each manufacturer’s products are constructed of different materials, and each user facility has different laundering and handling policies. As a result, it’s not possible to give you a precise answer. However, a good rule of thumb is for users to appoint a person to periodically inspect all slings for wear, unraveled seams, abraded fabrics, and rips or tears. When in doubt, throw it out.
We asked our sponsoring company, Liko, if they have data regarding sling service life before replacement of a sling is necessary. While their data is purely anecdotal, it can be summarized as follows:
Polyamid Nylon and Polyester Slings – Based on more than 25 years of tracking in Europe, the average life of slings constructed of these fabrics is between 12 and 15 years before replacement is required. Of course, if used under extreme conditions, laundered with highly concentrated chemicals, or dried in a tumble dryer, the life expectancy may be considerably shorter.
Net Polyester – Following a study period of approximately 8-10 years, anecdotal evidence does not indicate that slings constructed of this material would require replacement, under normal conditions of use, unless visible wear or rips are present.
Finally, there’s an entire class of disposable slings that are intended for temporary use on a single patient. These slings should be disposed of when soiled, and laundering is not permitted. Average life span should be approximately one week under normal conditions of use.
We hope this answers your question.
The Lift Doctor*