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How to Disinfect a House and Your Clothes After Illness

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 after being ill?

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.

From the common cold to COVID, read below for tips on how to disinfect house after illness and prevent diseases from spreading.

How to disinfect a house after illness: Start with the laundry

To prevent diseases from spreading in your home, it is important to give some attention to the laundry. All clothes and bedding should be washed regularly and handled carefully to protect yourself and the household. Sanitise the towels, bedding and don't forget about the PJs: 

  • Sanitise towels. This is one of the first steps on how to prevent diseases from spreading in the home. Bath towels and washcloths can be a harbour for germs, and sanitising them after each use is key to avoid contamination. Try adding a laundry sanitiser like Persil's alongside your laundry detergent to make sure your towels stay hygienically clean and free from germs. Our antibacterial laundry sanitiser kills 99.9% viruses* and bacteria, even at low temperatures such as 20°C.
  • Wash sick bed sheets separately from other items. Change the bed every day and don't shake them while doing so, as this can help germs to spread in the room. Machine wash the bedding with hot water (hottest cycle possible) and add a high-quality detergent, such as Persil. For extra protection, use Persil antibacterial laundry sanitiser which is added to your laundry during the rinse cycle. It kills 99.9% viruses* and bacteria, even at low temperatures such as 20°C.
  • Wash clothes and don't forget the PJs. When someone is ill, their clothes and PJs should be washed separately to help avoid contamination. Vomit, blood and medicine stains can be hard to deal it, so choosing an efficient detergent can make the job easier. Persil Bio Liquid removes tough stains at first and adds a fresh fragrance to fabrics. You can also disinfect clothes using our antibacterial laundry sanitiser in addition to your regular detergent.

How to disinfect clothes in the washing machine

Detergent alone won't kill viruses and bacteria but a combination of high-quality detergent, like Persil Bio or Persil Non-Bio, and a laundry sanitiser is an effective way to remove uninvited germs on your clothes. Here's how to use them to disinfect your 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. 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. For detergent-only washes, select a high temperature. Add your regular laundry detergent like Persil Non-Bio or Bio and set your machine to a 40°C wash. When extra hygiene is needed, you can boost this to 60°C. Washing at 60°C can damage the fabrics in your clothes and fade colours, so it's important to be careful when doing this and always read the care labels on your clothes first.
  4. Or add a laundry sanitiser to kill 99.9% viruses* and bacteria every time. Adding our antibacterial laundry sanitiser to the wash is a great way to ensure you're killing uninvited germs on your clothes every time, without even needing to turn the temperature up. Our sanitiser kills 99.9% viruses* and bacteria, even at temperatures as low as 20°C and is safe on coloured clothes too.
  5. 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. 
  6. Don't forget to disinfect your washing machine too. Your washing machine will help you to disinfect clothes, so make sure the appliance is sanitary and safe for use. 

If you or someone else have suffered from COVID-19, read below to understand how to better disinfect your laundry. 

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 the gown is not fluid-resistant), boots or closed shoes before touching any soiled linen.
  2. Never carry soiled linen against the 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 your regular laundry detergent is recommended for cleaning and disinfection of linens. However, remember that washing at temperatures as hot as this can fade colours and damage fabrics. In addition, using extremely hot water can have an adverse effect on the cleaning powers of biological detergents. To disinfect your soiled bedding and linen effectively, we recommend adding Persil antibacterial laundry sanitiser to your wash. It has been specially designed to kill 99.9% viruses* and bacteria at temperatures as low as 20°C. Simply add it to your fabric conditioner drawer and use alongside your regular detergent: it kills viruses and bacteria in one easy step.

How to disinfect your house after flu: To keep in mind 


Does warm water get rid of germs?

Normal washing of clothes at temperatures below 60°C with a high-quality detergent such as Persil Bio or Non-Bio will help to reduce the risk of germs being transmitted but washing at such high temperatures may affect the efficiency of your detergent or even damage your clothes and fade colours. Instead, we recommend you add a laundry sanitiser to your wash alongside your usual detergent. Our antibacterial laundry sanitiser kills 99.9% viruses* and bacteria even at temperatures as low as 20°C.

Does laundry detergent remove germs? 

Hot water and laundry detergent are a great combo for getting rid of germs but detergents are designed for cleaning and they won't kill all viruses and bacteria in your washing on their own. Using extremely hot water can also have an adverse effect on the cleaning powers of biological detergents while certain fabrics may be damaged by the excess heat.

To effectively get rid of as many germs as possible in the wash, we recommend that you use your favourite Persil Bio or Non-Bio detergent alongside Persil antibacterial laundry sanitiser. It kills 99.9% viruses* and bacteria at temperatures as low as 20°C. Simply add it in your fabric conditioner drawer with each wash to leave your clothes hygienically clean every time. It's safe on coloured clothes too!

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.


*Laboratory tested on Influenza H1N1, Vacciniavirus, murine coronavirus (EN14476, 10 mins).

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