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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Sanitizing clothing and bedding after the flu

By Dr. Laundry August 20, 2012

My son has just recovered from the flu. Is it important to sanitize his bedding to prevent spreading the germs around the house or if a generic wash with detergent alone will do the trick?

After the flu, it is important to take the time to sanitize sheets, pillowcases, towels and clothes, to help prevent the spread of the viruses in your home. Washing with Clorox® Regular-Bleach is a great way to fight germs, bacteria and viruses that can cause the common cold and flu in your clothes and linens. In a high efficiency washer, add ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach to the dispenser (or fill dispenser to the max-fill line). Then, add your favorite detergent to its dispenser, select a sanitizing cycle if available and start the washer. In a standard washer, add ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach along with detergent as the washer is filling with water, before adding the laundry. Or, use the bleach dispenser if your machine has one. To sanitize hand washables, soak items for 5 minutes in a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach diluted in 1 gallon of cool water.

Don’t forget about the germs left behind when you catch a sneeze on your sleeve of your favorite fleece. Your jacket might be safely bleachable if the fiber content is 100% polyester, even if it’s colored. Simply apply 1 drop of a solution made of 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach and ¼ cup water to a hidden part of the jacket, like an inside seam, cuff or collar. Be sure to test all the different components. Wait 1 minute, then blot dry. No color change means the jacket can be safely bleached along with your bleachable white items.