In today’s world, it is critical steps are taken to minimize germs and pathogens in our daily lives. Often, more attention is paid to disinfection and sanitizing hard surfaces, but laundry has become ever more important nowadays. Most importantly, the disinfection of our clothing and bedding since they are in closest contact with our bodies for extended periods of time. Heat, UV radiation, and chemical disinfectants are the three main components used to render germs and virus harmless in clothing. By no means is one method a one size fits all, usage of methods of sanitizing and disinfecting is really dependent upon material of items being laundered.
Most homes have their hot water heaters set to a comfortable 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is good for home usage, but in order to fully disinfect your clothing, temperatures should reach near 150 degrees to kill germs and viruses. Very few germs and viruses can survive the extreme heat of a wash cycle where water temperatures reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit. A key advantage of having water with high heat is that it helps keep the washer clean and reduces germs and viruses. By no means will the temperature render the washer ‘disinfected” but it will maintain germ flora to a minimum.
A good detergent mixed in during the washing not only makes your clothes smell good, but also denatures bacteria and viruses that may linger. Laundry sanitizers such as Lysol and Clorox have entered the laundry detergent markets and they are game changers. These laundry additives can be added during the wash process or during the rinse stage when clothes are in the washer. These work great and leave laundry smelling good since it attacks bacteria, which can contribute to smelly odors.
Another component of laundry disinfection is the use of the dryer. Most dryers at home heat to roughly 150 degrees Fahrenheit, while commercial dryers have the capability of maxing out at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter your can safely heat laundry without ruining or causing future damage, the better.
Ultraviolet radiation is a quick and easy method to sanitizing laundry.. Simply purchase a uv wand turn it on and wave it over the surface of any item you would like to sanitize. This technology has been used for many applications for years in other industries without side effects.
Chances are with a combination of laundry sanitizers added to laundry during the washing stage, the high heat during the drying stage, and the uv light sanitizer will render almost any laundry item “clean” disinfected and sanitized. All garments are not created equally, but remember when performing or considering these, always check for colorfastness and garment damage by applying methods in an inconspicuous part of the garment.
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