These days a lot of focus has been put on keeping things germ free. After a pandemic we are hyper aware of the presence of contagions all around us. It’s important to do our part to keep our family safe by creating a germ free zone in our homes.
We wash our hands more than ever, keep the surfaces disinfected and air out the house to make sure that particles are not lingering in the air. For some reason, we haven’t changed how we do our laundry.
When you are out and about you need to change your clothes as soon as you come home. Then it needs to be washed in a way that ensures that all the germs are killed. From shirts to sheets, there is a method to wash the laundry that makes it cleaner than ever.
Use the right detergent
While it is a good idea to avoid harsh chemicals in our laundry detergents, it also makes sense to use some that will do a better job at killing germs. Some detergents use bleach in amounts low enough that it doesn’t cause any rash or irritations on the skin, but enough that germs don’t stand a chance.
When washing baby clothes, the presence of any bleach at all can be problematic. In this case it is better to use a special detergent for baby clothes. This will be gentle on their skin while also killing germs that can end up getting them sick due to their fragile immune system.
High temperatures will kill just about any germ. To kill most germs it is recommended that your water temperature hits 60°C in your washing machine. And although line drying is very good for the environment, if there are any germs present they may still live after the slow drying process. Use a dryer with the high heat setting to properly do away with any germs that may be lurking in your laundry.
If your washing machine has a sanitize laundry function then this will work to remove the germs as it utilizes the high water temperature setting and will wash a bit longer to make sure that the germs are all gone.
One problem with these high temperature washes, however, is that it can lead to a shorter lifespan for your clothes and linens. Use these high settings sparingly to preserve your clothing, but try to make sure that they are washed like this when you are out in areas that could have a lot of contagions. Or, just wash them at this high temperature after somebody has been sick so they don’t get the same cold again.
Do linen stripping
This technique is not something to do every time you wash. If you feel like your linens need a deep clean after somebody has been sick, or maybe you come back from a vacation where you fear you may have picked up a virus, then this is a good way to make sure they are super clean and disinfected.
It is an intensive process, but this is the way that people had been washing their clothes and linens for ages before the advent of modern washing machines.
You’ll need to use very hot water and a soap that contains enzymes for starters. Avoid a detergent or soap that has a fragrance, however as it may be too much. It’s also very important to not mix colors with lights as the colors will bleed during the process.
Fill your tub with hot water, some borax, some washing soda and the enzyme detergent. Mix this up until everything is dissolved and then put your linens in to soak. Let them soak there for a few hours and let the water gradually cool. You should see the dirt that has accumulated in the linens and sheets left behind in the water indicating that they were not as clean as you had thought they were.
You can then clean by hand if you wish, but most people will prefer to then put the linens in the washing machine. Use the water only cycle and let it rinse away the borax and detergent and the rest of the built up grime.
Separate your laundry
Cross contamination is a thing when it comes to your laundry. Wash the items that are in contact with your body together. This includes socks, underwear, linens and towels. Then make sure to keep clothes separate from the people in the house who work in places with high infection rates such as a healthcare worker. Everything else can then be washed together.