Good For Garments Made Out Of: Canvas, Cotton, Certain Synthetics (Specifically: Polyester, Nylon, Spandex)
This is likely to be the most common place to clean a majority of the items in your closet. A washing machine might make day-to-day laundry simpler, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take extra precautions when trying to deep clean and disinfect during the spin cycle or in the dryer.
, germ researcher and associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona Kelly Reyonlds explained, “We’ve found that one germy item in the washer will spread to 90 percent of the other items...When it comes to molds that cause skin or respiratory infections, or organisms that cause colds, flu and stomach flu, most of them will survive the wash cycle.” Time Health
In other words, this means that if you or someone you’re with is suffering from an illness, the first thing to do is keep laundry separated. While it might be easier or simpler to wash things together, chances are that might not do enough
Detergent and Washing:
While most detergents will help clean your clothing in the wash, there’s a high likelihood that the “clean” is taking out foul smells, but not doing the deep cleaning (aka: sanitizing) that you’re looking for.
Furthermore, avoid adding extra detergent while working on a wash. While it’s easy to think that more soap will mean a more thorough clean, that might being more harm than good. “If you have a heavy hand with the pump or scoop, the excess detergent can build up on your clothing and lock in bacteria and odors,”
notes author and . Ask a Clean Person podcast host Jolie Kerr
Bleach and Clothing:
A key way to inject some sanitizing power into a load of laundry is with the use of bleach. While it’s important to keep in mind that this might damage certain articles of clothing—especially items with color dye—chlorine bleach (or color-safe oxygen bleach—check the bottle’s label) is perfect for sanitizing. Make sure to remove dirt
prior to rinsing items with bleach, as— according to assistant professor and doctor of osteopathic medicine at Des Moines University Thomas Benzoni—“Bleach is like the sun in its ability to sterilize,” but it’s not used as a cleaner to remove things like dirt or grime.
If you’re interested in using bleach on your clothing but are unsure of an item’s ability to interact with it, you’ll want to test it. Combine a ¼ cup of water with a two teaspoons of bleach and apply to the garment. After about a minute, rinse the item off. If there’s no visible color change or damage, you should be able to put that item into a wash with bleach.
If that trick still leaves you feeling uncomfortable with the idea of using bleach, consider swapping bleach for household white vinegar. Add a cup into the rinse cycle to help kill off bacteria. White vinegar also serves as a deodorizer and can brighten colors in the laundry load.
It may not be possible in a public laundromat or shared facility, but running a wash cycle with nothing but bleach in an empty washing machine to kill off any remaining germs left behind in previous loads of laundry.
As outlined above, clothing that has simply been through the wash isn’t the end of the battle. Of course, hot water is helpful in the cleaning process, but it’s only half the battle—the real use of heat will come through in the dryer. After loading items into the dryer or hanging them out in the sun to dry off, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
If you’re opting for the drying machine, then high heat is the way to go. As outlined in
, “High heat drying for at least 28 minutes is the most effective way to kill viruses,” Reynolds says. Tumble, energy efficient or “delicate” settings are unlikely to completely sanitize in a dry cycle when compared to pure heat. Time Health