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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Disinfecting with Non-EPA Certified Products

By Dr. Laundry April 5, 2011

Q: In searching for a method to safely disinfect baby clothes that do not pass the bleachability test, I came across a product online that claims to disinfect and be “safe” to use on colored clothes. However, there is no information regarding this product on the EPA site. Are all registered disinfecting products listed by the EPA?

A: To confirm that clothes have been properly disinfected, an EPA registration is important. In order for a product to obtain this registration, a product must undergo and pass tests for efficacy. The results of these tests turn into label instructions that provide guidelines such as the effective ratio of product to water and the use conditions necessary to kill germs. Any product sold in the US as a disinfectant must have an EPA registration.

In order to reliably remove germs with detergent alone, CDC guidelines state that you need to wash items at 160°F for 25 minutes. However, using hot water and a hot dryer cycle increases the chance of fading and shrinkage, but it is a trade-off one makes if you cannot use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to disinfect.

Below are some additional links that parents may find useful:

http://www.clorox.com/clorox-cleaning-and-laundry-advisor/healthier-home-and-family/new-moms/

http://www.clorox.com/blog/2011/03/16/arent-we-all-new-moms/?ref=clorox_footer