Making Sure Clothes Are Really Clean?

Category Laundry

Hi. I wondered if any other readers have any ideas for making sure that their laundry is not only washed, but also disinfected. I had been using cold water and detergent for colors, and warm water for whites--until I began working at a local hospital. I want to make sure that I'm killing any harmful microorganisms that are on my clothes when I get home.


I have started using hot water with bleach for my whites, which should help--but can anyone give me any tips for colors (what water temperature, best kind of detergent, etc.). Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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By Ann (Guest Post)
July 23, 20040 found this helpful

I am no expert, but I would think perhaps adding vinegar would kill off any germs? I'm guessing for this one, but we use vinegar as a natural cleaner, so I would think it would also work in the laundry.

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By (Guest Post)
July 23, 20040 found this helpful

never use hotwater on whites it cooks in the dirt------

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July 23, 20040 found this helpful

You are being needlessly overcautious here. I have been an RN for over 30 years and dealt with all sorts! The pathogenic, (harmful), bacteria you are worrying about live on the skin or within the body - not on dry clothes. Higly infectious people will be barrier nursed so you will not come into contact with them unless you are a nurse and then you will wear protective clothing over your uniform so you don't transfer them to other patients with depressed immune systems. Many other infectious bacteria/viruses could be carried on the skin or nose and throat of anyone, our bodies are teeming with microorganisms - the person you pass in the supermarket, your family, your children, etc.


Your own healthy immune system usually protects you from these. The most important thing is to wear gloves if you come in contact with any body fluids/soiled linen and to wash your hands throroughly, for a couple of minutes with mild detergent, after each patient contact and before leaving work. I change my uniforms daily and wash them in cold water and don't use detergent, but do hang them out in the sun to dry. There is no earthly reason why you should need to disinfect your clothes. If you are still worried there should be an infection control nurse in your hospital you can ask for advice. She will know what your job entails and advice you what you need to do, but I doubt very much if it will differ from a normal wash.



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By Ann (Guest Post)
July 24, 20040 found this helpful

Add some lysol disinfectant (sp) to your load, I do it all the time. I don't think you are being too cautious.

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July 28, 20040 found this helpful

One teaspoon of tea tree oil cleans an entire laundry load. I use it for everything. check out the wonderful things it does online.

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By full load (Guest Post)
January 15, 20080 found this helpful

Use a capful of dettol in your wash cycle and a cap full of vinegar in the rinse. The dettol will help in the wash and the vinegar helps leave your clothes with a light fresh smell.


Note, this is assuming a full load, obviously too much of anything isn't good :O)

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June 8, 2012

What kills e. coli in laundry?

By Linda S.


June 14, 20120 found this helpful

My pediatrician once told me warm water and detergent should clean most germs. However, for E coli, I'd use hot water and maybe add some clorox to the wash.

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