Hygiene is the set of practices we adopt to maintain a healthy environment, primarily through the act of keeping things clean.
Laundry detergents help us maintain good hygiene by removing the soils, grease, stains and dirt from clothing. High-quality detergents are designed to clean clothes even better from deep down at the fibre level. Under normal conditions, simply following the care label of the items and the dosage instructions on the detergent packaging will give you the hygienic results you need. This good hygiene is a result of the mechanical action of the wash water and washing machine sufficiently reducing the germ level.
Laundry Items That May Require Extra Hygiene
For items that can contain more germs, such as kitchen towels used for food preparation, cleaning cloths, underwear with faeces, bed linen, towels or items from a sick person, several experts recommend a more targeted regimen:
- Keep the items separate from the rest of the laundry and wash separately.
- Use longer cycles at higher temperatures (>60Cº).
- Use a high-quality powder detergent containing active oxygen bleach or a specially designed laundry product with antibacterial or antiviral action. The presence of bleach in ‘regular’ powder detergents are listed on-pack in the “Ingredient List” as “oxygen-based bleaching agents”. It is important to point out this ingredient is added to most regular powders to provide whiteness and cleaning performance, but is not present in powders designed for ‘colour care’.
- Dry items outdoors or in the tumble dryer thoroughly and immediately after the wash.
- Wash your hands each time after handling with your laundry. As touching dirty and/or wet clothes comes with the highest risk of transmission of germs.
Keep Your Washing Machine Clean
As part of an overall general hygiene routine, it is also recommended to do a monthly maintenance wash to clean the washing machine: A hot wash at 60Cº, or preferably 90Cº with no clothes and a standard dose of powder detergent containing active-oxygen bleach. See the user manual of your washing machine for more guidance or read our washing machine care tips.
Note, regular detergents are not designed or tested against antibacterial or disinfection activity even if they contain active oxygen bleach. For items or situations where you need to ensure antibacterial action or disinfection, you can add special antibacterial laundry detergents and/or laundry sanitizers to the wash. These are specially designed and tested to kill bacteria and/or viruses and can be recognized by the antibacterial claims on the packaging.
If in any doubt about the right laundry routine for your situation or in case you think that a person suffering from COVID-19 has been in contact with your laundry, please consult your medical professional or local authorities or consult WHO and NHS websites.
For more information we recommend the following sources:
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene:
British National Health Service (NHS)
Cleanright.eu by the International Association for Soaps, Cleaning and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E)
Health care workers should follow instructions from their employer. People with existing medical conditions should follow the recommendation from their medical professional.