Top tips for a germ-free wash
At times of the year when there are lots of germs, bacteria, and viruses circulating, it’s important to make sure you’re not spreading them through your laundry. Research has found that although a standard cycle will remove many of the nasties from your washing, some of them will still survive the process.
Here are our top tips for getting your laundry hygienically clean.
Sort your laundry
Before you start washing, sort your laundry into similar fabric types and colours to prevent damage and achieve the best washing results. For example, cotton towels can be washed at a much higher temperature than synthetic gym gear. You may also want to wash the towels you dry your dishes with separately to the towels you dry yourself with, to avoid cross-contamination.
Use the hottest water temperature possible
Always choose the highest temperature allowed for your fabrics (it will be on the care labels). Generally, a water temperature of 60°C or higher will effectively sanitise laundry. For delicate items that can't withstand high temperatures, use an appropriate additive (see below).
Use an in-wash sanitiser
For items that can’t be washed and dried hot, you can use a laundry rinse that contains disinfectant. Most major detergent brands offer in-wash sanitisers that include benzalkonium chloride, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial that is effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Using a detergent or laundry soaker containing sodium percarbonate (also known as oxygen bleach or colour-safe bleach) can also help to remove germs.
Extend the wash cycle
Adding a few extra minutes to your wash cycle will give the detergent and any additives enough time to work effectively. Avoid overloading the machine so the water and detergent can penetrate the fabric properly.
Clean your machine
Germs can persist from one load to the next in your washing machine, so it’s advisable to run an empty hot water cycle with vinegar, washing machine cleaner, or bleach on a regular basis. Some machines have a drum cleaning cycle that prompts you to run it after a certain number of washes.
Whenever the weather permits, sun-dry your laundry outside. The sun's UV rays have natural sanitizing properties and can help eliminate bacteria and odours. Additionally, sunlight can act as a natural bleaching agent for white fabrics. If it’s not possible to hang your clothes outside, run them through the hottest dryer setting the fabric will permit.
Iron your clothes
To produce steam, your iron must heat the water inside to 100 degrees, which is hot enough to kill most harmful germs and even dust mites.
By following these tips, you can effectively eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses from your clothes and linens.
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