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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Disinfecting Linens

By Dr. Laundry October 28, 2009

Q. If used properly will Clorox completely and safely disinfect the soiled linens from the contaminations of an ambulance? Do you have information that documents the types of bacteria and virus Clorox will kill? Our local hospitals are no longer exchanging the soiled linens from the ambulances for clean sets. Our agency does not charge for its services, so in order to continue to offer this free service we need to cut costs where we can and therefore launder soiled linen vs. buying disposable linen may be more desirable. But how safe is it? I’m hoping you can provide me with back up information to substantiate a decision.

A. I definitely understand the need to cut the costs and doing more, more, and more. I’m not sure exactly what types of “contaminants” you are asking about. Generally, if blood is involved, you may want to clean/deal with that first and separate for better more complete removal as hot water tends to set this stain. Then a separate hot water wash with detergent and 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach will disinfect the linens.