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A boy blowing his nose in bed, surrounded by used tissues, a thermometer and an ice pack.

Top Tips on How to Disinfect Clothes After Being Ill

Unfortunately, the common cold or a bout of flu is something we all have to put up with at least once a year, so knowing how to disinfect clothes and help prevent the spread of illness can be very useful.

Don’t let germs rule your home – discover how to disinfect clothing and sheets after being ill! 


Why do I need to disinfect clothes?

Germs can easily spread around the home, especially if you or a member of your family have been ill. To help prevent the spread of illness, bedding, blankets, and any clothing (most likely pyjamas) need to be washed as soon as possible when someone is ill – ideally every day, or at least every other day. 


Does warm water get rid of germs?

Warm water can get rid of germs, just as long as it’s hot enough. Washing clothes at 40°C will reduce the amount of germs on them but washing at a higher temperature such as 60°C will achieve a far greater reduction. However, washing with water alone is unlikely to remove as many bacteria as washing with a good detergent like Persil .


Does laundry detergent remove germs? 

Hot water and laundry detergent are a great combo for getting rid of germs but using extremely hot water can have an adverse effect on the cleaning powers of biological detergents. Likewise, certain fabrics may be damaged by very high temperatures.

To effectively get rid of as many germs as possible in the wash, we recommend that you also use a Persil powder that contains an oxygen-based bleach, such as Persil Bio or Non Bio.


How to clean soiled bedding, towels and linens if you have suffered from COVID-19?

Please follow the guidelines as provided by the World Health Organisation, for more information click here.

1.    Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, which includes heavy duty gloves, mask, eye protection (face shield/goggles), long-sleeved gown, apron (if gown is not fluid resistant), boots or closed shoes before touching any soiled linen.

2.    Never carry soiled linen against body; place soiled linen in a clearly labelled, leak-proof container (e.g. bag, bucket).

3.    If there is any solid excrement on the linen, such as faeces or vomit, scrape it off carefully with a flat, firm object and put it in the toilet before putting linen in the designated container.

4.    Wash and disinfect linen: washing by machine with warm water (60-90°C) and laundry detergent is recommended for cleaning and disinfection of linens. Finally, rinse with clean water and let linen dry fully in the sunlight.


How to disinfect clothes in the washing machine using oxygen bleach

Oxygenated bleach is known for its ability to remove germs and is present in Persil Bio and Non Bio powders. Here’s how to use it to disinfect clothes safely:

1.    Separate your laundry. Wash bedding and clothing of anyone who has been sick in your household separately from your normal laundry. Likewise, if you have any heavily soiled items (those with vomit or blood on them), pre-treat and wash them alone.

2.    Read the care labels on the items to check for guidance on wash temperatures and to see if they have any restrictions on using bleach-based products. You can also check if your items are bleach-safe by doing a patch test following the instructions here.

3.    Place the items in the washing machine. Add a bleach-containing powder such as Persil Non Bio or Bio and set the temperature a little higher – we recommend 40°C.  Do note, for coloured garments we would not recommend a bleach-containing powder, but rather a product that is designed not to harm colours such as our Persil Colour powder or liquid.  When extra hygiene is needed, we recommend using these products at 60°C where possible.

4.    Run your washing machine cycle and when finished, remove your garments from the machine as soon as possible and hang out to dry.  Leaving wet garments in the machine for a long time can cause bacteria to grow and for garments to smell, so get them out as soon as you can. 


Remember to wash your hands after handling dirty laundry. 

Preventing the spread of illness in your home needn’t be an epic battle, remember our tips for disinfecting clothes with and without oxygen-based bleach and you can tackle those germs! And don’t forget to keep your washing machine clean and germ-free, too – find out how to clean a washing machine here.

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