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How to Sanitize Clothes, Towels and Bed Sheets

How to Sanitize Clothes, Towels and Bed Sheets

Before sanitizing clothes, read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. To sanitize your clothes, use a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.

Basic Tips

  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
  • for at least 20 seconds.3 
  • Wash and dry your clothes at a higher temperature (100 to 135 degrees) for at least 30 minutes to ensure sufficient killing of germs.4
  • It’s safe to wash a sick person’s dirty laundry with other people’s items.
  • If handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick, wear gloves and a mask.
  • Clean clothes hampers or laundry baskets according to guidance for surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling dirty laundry.

Note: According to the CDC, dirty laundry can be washed with other people’s items.

Sanitizing Towels and Bed Sheets

  • To wash bleach-safe bed sheets and towels, machine wash in the hottest water recommended using a good detergent and ⅔ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 in a traditional deep-fill washer, or ⅓ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 in a high efficiency clothes washer. Make sure the bleach contacts the load for 10 minutes.1  
  • Bedding should be washed at least weekly, and towels semi-weekly. Infected family members should not share any laundry with others in the home. 
  • When handling dirty bed sheets and towels, the following is recommended by the CDC: avoid shaking laundry to minimize dispersing virus into the air, wear gloves, and if possible contain dirty laundry in a hamper lined with a washable laundry bag or plastic bag. Wash hands when finished handling dirty laundry.2

1, 3, 4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html
2. According to Mary Gagliardi, aka “Dr. Laundry,” Clorox’s in-house scientist and cleaning expert.