When you need to wash fabrics at low temperatures or you have soiled items such as nappies to clean, detergents alone may not be enough to kill the germs in your laundry. Dettol has a number of products that you can use in addition to your detergent to help kill the germs.
Add Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser to your wash to kill 99.9% of bacteria, for hygienically clean laundry even at low temperatures. It works even at 15°C to get rid of the bacteria that survive and can be transmitted within the wash when you wash at low temperatures. Just add a couple of caps to the fabric softener drawer to guarantee hygienically clean laundry every time. Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser is available in Fresh Cotton and Soothing Lavender light fragrances.
Protecting your family wash
Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser kills 99.9% of bacteria, even when you wash at low temperatures, so you can be confident that your laundry is hygienically clean every time.
Bacteria in household laundry
If you wash your clothes at low temperatures you are not alone, with 96% of mothers claiming to regularly wash at 40°C. However, when you wash at temperatures below 60°C, bacteria can survive and transfer between garments in the wash. Experts refer to this as a 'bacterial soup', as germs can spread from contaminated items to other items in the wash, with as many as one million bacteria living in just two tablespoons of wash water.
There are practical steps you can take, however, to minimise the bacteria in your family's laundry while continuing to wash at low temperatures.
Washing your baby's laundry
A new baby brings so much joy, and also many questions about health and hygiene. A baby's immune system doesn't start producing antibodies to ward off illness and infection until they are around two to three months old. In these early days it's worth taking a few extra precautions to ensure that your baby's environment is as hygienically clean as possible.
One source of potentially harmful bacteria is the family laundry basket. These days, the vast majority of parents regularly do their household wash at 40°C. However, lab tests have shown that family laundry washed at 40°C contained only 14% less bacteria than dirty items that had not been washed at all.
65% of mothers say they wash all the family laundry together. Bacteria on baby clothes and beddings can survive and transfer to other items when you wash below 60°C, and tests have found traces of faecal matter on baby grows, baby blankets, and a bedtime cuddly toy after low-temperature washing in household machines.
Items that come into direct contact with a baby's body – baby grows, sheets, and blankets – are more likely to contain pathogens, while recent laboratory tests found unwashed baby bibs contained the highest levels of bacteria than any other item of unwashed baby laundry.
To ensure your baby's laundry is hygienically clean follow these simple tips:
- If you wash at low temperatures – below 60°C – ensure you add a laundry disinfectant to your wash to offer added protection against potentially harmful bacteria
- If you wash your baby's items together with your regular household laundry, add a laundry disinfectant to ensure your washing is hygienically clean
- If a member of the family or your baby is unwell, try to wash their clothes separately with a laundry disinfectant to minimise the risk of spreading any infection
- The higher the temperature, the better the germ kill; to keep your washing machine free from germs, put it on a 90°C cycle once a month and leave the door open after every use to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria
Managing bacteria on children's clothes
Today, a reported 96% of mothers do their household laundry on a 40°C wash. However, washing below 60°C means bacteria can survive and transfer between garments in the wash.
Children's clothes and bedding pick up bacteria during everyday 'germy' moments – from exposure to coughs and sniffles in the playground, to toilet mishaps and bed wetting – yet 65% of mums say they wash their children's laundry together with their regular family wash.
Laboratory tests have shown that toddlers' pants, children's bed sheets, PE shorts, and school jumpers all contained traces of faecal matter after low-temperature washing in household washing machines. The tests also highlighted that school uniform and clothes worn by pre-school toddlers washed at 40°C harboured average levels of bacteria that were similar to unwashed, dirty items.
Whilst underclothes, sheets, and items worn close to the skin are most likely to be contaminated with pathogens, outerwear such as jumpers and blazers are most likely to harbour bacteria build-up which cannot be removed by low-temperature washing using a detergent alone.
Here are some tips to help make sure your family wash is as hygienically clean as possible:
- Family towels and flannels can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so wash them regularly and try not to share; perhaps let the children choose their own colour or design
- When washing at temperatures below 60°C, add a laundry disinfectant to your wash to offer added protection against potentially harmful pathogens and bacteria
- If you wash children's clothes along with your regular household wash, adding a laundry disinfectant can help to minimise the risk of cross-contamination
- If a member of the family or your child is unwell, try to wash their clothes and bedding separately with a laundry disinfectant to minimise the risk of spreading any infection
- To keep your washing machine free from germs, put it on a 90°C cycle once a month to give it a spring clean, and leave the door open after every use to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria