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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Disinfecting Colored Clothing and Lavender Scented Products

By Dr. Laundry July 23, 2009

Q. First, for laundry, I was wondering: do you have a disinfectant for colors? I have an old box of Clorox 2®, but it doesn’t say anything about disinfecting my clothes — only making them brighter.

Second, for surfaces, is there any such thing as a lavender disinfectant? I want something that kills 99.9% of germs and smells purple! (Like lavender or lilac or lavender roses or freesia.)

A. I have some bad news and some good news for you here.

Unfortunately, there currently is NOT a product for disinfecting colored clothes. Our Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster contains hydrogen peroxide as its active ingredient. It is a much weaker bleach than the sodium hypochlorite found in Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 and is not capable of meeting EPA disinfecting requirements.

As I have written previously, the best way to reduce germ counts in (colored) laundry is:

  • Use the hottest wash water recommended on the care label. You might also do more than one wash on these items to further reduce the bacteria count.
  • Consider washing the items of concern separately so that the germs are NOT spread to more items — transfer can occur in the washer and when transferring/handling from the washer to the dryer.
  • Use the hottest dryer setting recommended on the care label and dry the items separately to maximize germ reduction. While the dryer isn’t capable of completely killing all of the germs, it will help lower the germ count.
  • Finally, to prevent further germ spread, I would do a white load using detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 after these items had been washed. Kind of like a mouthwash for your washer.

Also, if that “old” box doesn’t say Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster, you might consider getting a newer one. After 12–15 months, the active ingredient probably has been deactivated.

Now for the surfaces, there are Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes that are Lavender scented, and kill 99.9% of common household germs.