The best methods to disinfect clothes without damaging them

We all hope that no one in our family gets sick with bacterial or viral infections as currently happens with the coronavirus crisis. But when it does happen, it’s important to prevent the disease from spreading to others in the home. Fortunately, we have the option of being able to kill bacterial and viral infections on clothing. Let’s learn about the best methods to disinfect clothes without damaging them.

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Actually, washing clothes is an issue that we all face in daily life, but we don’t pay much attention to disinfection. By itself, washing clothes is not something that we enjoy very much, but now more than ever it will be important to do it in the best way, trying to protect the fibers of our clothes as much as possible while at the same time, we manage to disinfect them. all correct.

The best methods to disinfect clothes without damaging them

One of the main keys to be able to disinfect clothes well is to put them in the washing machine and wash them at a temperature that exceeds 60 degrees, but we cannot do this for all garments. In fact, many fibers or fabrics shrink when they are washed at a hot temperature, so we have to pay careful attention precisely so as not to damage the clothes, so we must resort to some of the disinfectant methods for clothes that we are explaining to you now.

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In fact, there are many alternative but equally effective methods of disinfecting clothes, some of which involve the use of products normally found in any home, such as baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. It is always understood that washing cycles in the washing machine should be performed (when possible) at high temperatures.

Disinfect clothes with vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent laundry additive: it performs several very useful functions on clothes and even improves the performance of the washing machine. First of all, vinegar is very useful for sanitizing clothes, as long as you use a few cups at the beginning of the wash cycle, pouring it into the tray in which the detergent is already present.

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, vinegar will eliminate most harmful organisms present on clothes. It will also be able to eliminate odors and soften fabrics as it dissolves the limestone present in the water, preventing it from settling on clothes and hardening them. Finally, its descaling function guarantees a thorough cleaning of the washing machine that will last longer.

Disinfect clothes with hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide) is another extremely cheap product with which it is possible to disinfect fabrics: it will simply be necessary to leave them to soak for a few hours in a solution made up of warm water and hydrogen peroxide in equal amounts. This will kill any germs and bacteria before washing, which should be carried out as usual, preferring temperatures above 60 degrees if possible.

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Disinfect clothes at low temperatures

In the case of having clothes that can be damaged or shrink by washing them with hot water, it will be necessary to use an antifungal detergent for the washing machine, formulated to be perfectly effective even at very low temperatures, such as 20 or even 30 degrees. This type of detergent does not damage fabrics and is perfectly safe: it can also be used for clothes intended for babies or allergy sufferers. Unfortunately, antifungal washing machine detergent is by no means cheap and not easy to find either (you can buy it on Amazon, however) and for this reason it could be inconvenient to use it continuously: it is better to use it only in case of real need or contact companies that offer professional cleaning.

Chemical disinfectants

We have already seen how we can disinfect clothes with different methods and cheaply, easily and without damaging the fabric, but in extreme cases, we can resort to chemical disinfectants.

So let’s look at four categories of products that are safe for fabrics and available at local stores. They are recognized by microbiologists, so once purchased, we have to follow the product instructions carefully and use the amount of disinfectant recommended on the product label.

  • Pine Oil Disinfectants: They are effective in hot and warm water, and can be used on white and colored fabrics. Some brands include Pinol. They should be added at the beginning of the wash cycle. To be effective, the product must contain 80 percent pine oil.
  • Phenolic Disinfectants: They are also effective in hot and warm water and can be used on white and colored fabrics. Phenolic sanitizers can be added to the wash or rinse water if the rinse water is warm.
  • Liquid Chlorine Disinfectants (Sodium Hypochlorite) – Also known as chlorine bleach, can be used in hot, warm or cold water temperatures on white fabrics only. To be effective, there must be a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5.25 to 6.15 percent. Not all chlorine bleach formulas are this strong, so it’s important to read labels. This type of disinfectant can be found, for example, in all the bleaches that are sold for use in the washing machine. A good tip to avoid damaging the clothes is to dilute it with water before adding it to the washing machine, and it should never be poured directly on the clothes. It is not suitable for use on wool, silk, spandex or certain dyed and finished fabrics and will cause permanent damage. It is important to read the care labels on all items to be washed.
  • Quaternary Disinfectants or Quaternary Ammoniums: These are extremely effective in all water temperatures, but are less widely available than the other products. Many household cleaners contain effective disinfectant ingredients, but they are not recommended for laundry because they can damage fabrics.

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Tips to disinfect clothes well

The transmission of most viruses and bacteria is from person to person or through contact with bodily fluids and transmission from inanimate objects such as clothing is believed to be extremely rare. Normal laundering procedures should be the use of hot water (100 degrees F or higher with 140 degrees F being optimal), a sanitizing product following product instructions, and finally a high heat machine dry cycle. These steps kill any virus in question, including the coronavirus virus, but of course at home it is practically impossible to subject clothes to this type of washing without damaging them, so sometimes it will be necessary to take them to the laundry.

On the other hand, when someone is sick, it is better to opt for white 100 percent cotton sheets. Why? They can be boring but they are easy to disinfect with hot water. Sheets that are brightly colored and a synthetic blend cannot withstand the rigors of chemical sanitizing.

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to wear rubber gloves when handling dirty laundry. Or at least keep clothes away from your face and body.

Another thing to keep in mind is washing clothes as soon as possible to avoid cross contamination in the basket with other clothes.

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You should also know that the washing machine can harbor germs and bacteria and should be cleaned regularly, especially after a disease has spread throughout the home. This is especially important if you mainly use cold water to wash.

Cleaning of sick beds and stains

  • Medication Stains – Pharmacies and manufacturers add flavors and colors that make taking liquid medications more appealing, but dyes also leave stains. To remove these, it will be necessary to put the clothes to wash immediately.
  • Ointment stains: Some ointments can leave greasy stains on sheets and clothing. It is important to remove these stains as soon as possible to avoid permanent stains, especially on clothing. Always use the edge of a spoon or dull knife to pick up as much ointment as possible. Don’t rub. That just pushes the greasy mess deeper into the fibers of the fabric.
  • Vomit, urine and feces: It will be good to keep an extra set or two of sheets in the sick person’s room. That will save you the confusion of the night trying to find clean sheets. All these stains are protein stains so to remove them, we have to first remove the remains (even if it disgusts us, using gloves and a mask) and then wash with hot water (and without mixing with other clothes).
  • Blood Stains – Blood is also a protein stain and must be handled with the correct water temperature to prevent excessive staining. It is important to treat blood stains as quickly as possible.

Items of interest:

  • Facial cleaning for men
  • Causes of acne in men and how to treat it

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