During this time of quarantine, it is of the utmost importance to take extra precautions to protect ourselves and not spread any illness, be it COVID-19, the flu, or even a regular cold. You wash your hands and disinfect your shopping cart, but what about the clothing you wear? You might think that a laundry wash cycle is enough to kill any bacteria and germs. Unfortunately, even hot water is not enough to kill some pathogens. Now is an ideal time to start implementing the following tips to completely clean the clothing in your closet, from those loungewear pieces to denim jeans!
Try These Types of Laundry Disinfectants
An everyday detergent will be able to clean your clothes, but not fully disinfect them. For this, you’ll need the tough stuff listed below. With all of these laundry disinfectant products, be sure to read to the labels for precise measurements and to avoid damaging your clothes. You should not handle any chemicals without proper protection and should keep them stored in a locked cabinet when not in use.
- Chlorine Bleach for Whites: While hot water alone may not kill the bacteria or virus, adding bleach (the non-oxygen based variety) to the cycle will do the trick. According to the Clorox website, ¾ cup of bleach for one regular load will be enough to kill the germs. However, you don’t want to use bleach on your color loads or delicate fabrics as this will ruin them.
- Pine-Sol: Pine oil disinfectants like Pine-Sol with at least 80% pine oil will work for white or color loads. Add one cup at the beginning of the cycle and your clothes will be squeaky clean in no time. However, they will likely have a pine smell so don’t use this if it bothers you.
- Vinegar: In a pinch, you can use white vinegar to kill bacteria and virus contaminants on your clothes. The acetic acid works to eliminate any lingering germs. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your white or colored clothes load.
Clean Accessories with Disinfectant Wipes
Don’t forget about your accessories! Purses, belts, and jewelry are also susceptible to carrying bacteria and virus particles. For anything that is plastic, use a disinfectant wipe to rid the item of any microbial contamination. Your phone case is also at risk of carrying germs as you likely put it down everywhere and are also holding it to your face. If it is plastic, you can use a Clorox wipe or pop it in the dishwasher to give it a deep clean.
Use a Bit of Hand Sanitizer
If you don’t have any disinfecting wipes on hand, you can dip a paper towel in some hand sanitizer as a quick solution. Your sanitizer should have 70% alcohol concentration to eliminate all the contaminants. Use this on any bits of plastic, zippers, headphones, etc. You can also use sanitizer to spot clean a soiled area on a garment.
A good practice to follow is to change out of the clothes you were wearing outside when you come back inside. Go ahead and wash these clothes right away. A word of caution: be sure to wear a mask and gloves if you are washing the clothing of someone who is sick. Take care and stay safe!
Author: Sarah Hayden