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7 Tips to Sanitize Laundry When Someone is Sick [UPDATED 2022]

UPDATE 2022 - According to CNN, there us an "unprecedented" rise in respiratory viruses in children right now, overwhelming most hospitals across the country.  With Omicron still circulating, RSV, and the typical flu season in full swing, we are posting this again. Our San-O3-Wash system beats t he bugs.  Bring your laundry in and get it sanitized.


1.    It’s OK to Mix it Up Using the same laundry basket or hamper for everyone in the house, even the sick person, is acceptable.  If you are properly washing the items and do not have to separate the laundry (moving it around, causing the virus to get tossed in the air.)  Upon moving the dirty laundry to the washer, follow tip #7 to sanitize the basket/hamper.

2.    Grab the Gloves If there is someone with a contagious illness in the house, it is recommended that you use a pair of disposable gloves when handling their dirty laundry.  Once the items are in the washer remove and toss the gloves in the trash and wash your hands.  When moving the laundered items from the washing machine to the dryer, put a fresh pair of gloves on so items cannot potentially be reinfected.

3.    Do Not Shake The temptation to shake out items to straighten as you are putting them in the wash is strong, however do not shake the items or even jiggle the hamper.  When the soiled clothes are moved around the viral particles can get tossed into the air, potentially infecting you or others nearby.

4.    Do Not Stuff the Washer For items to be thoroughly cleaned in the washer they need move to move around and have the room to let the water swish around and through the items.  While stuffing the washer to get the laundry done faster is tempting, do not do it. Bonus Tip 3a:  We have oversized washers and dryers at our locations, see our website for information, then you CAN get it all done in one load.

5.    Hot Water is Not Enough It is entirely likely whatever virus or mold that caused the illness will survive a hot water wash cycle.  Using a disinfectant, like chlorine bleach, will help to get rid of the contagious pathogens.

6.    Heat it Up Adding to the hot water wash with bleach, drying on a high heat cycle for at least 28 minutes will complete the disinfection process.

7.    Disinfect the Area Anywhere the sick person’s laundry has touched will need to be disinfected.  The laundry basket or hamper, shelves, the floor, counters, etc.  Using soap and water to cleanse will suffice for hard surfaces, but disinfected spray or cleanser can also be sued.  Another great way to prevent germs from lingering is using a disposable bag to line the basket or hamper and moving the dirty items to the washer in the bag and tossing the bag once in the machine.

UPDATE 2021 All four of our full-service locations now have the San-O3-Wash System! Per the Aquawing/San-O3-Wash Website:

The Aquawing Disinfection Ozone Laundry System is the only system in North America that is clinically validated to disinfect and to kill the super bugs MRSA (staph), C diff, aspergillus niger as well as doctor verified to kill HIV and Hepatitis amongst others. Two separate microbiologists were recruited and conducted a multitude of extensive tests using the Aquawing patented Interfusor The results came back and blew the microbiologists away. It is not true that all ozone systems will properly disinfect laundry. This is an important concern for any facility that may be processing linens, mops, cloths, etc., contaminated with infectious materials (correctional institutions, hospitalsnursing homes, sports facilities, etc.). Ozone does have powerful disinfecting properties, but simply relying on the reputation of ozone gas as a disinfectant does not mean that all ozone laundering systems will provide sufficient disinfection especially with super bugs such as MRSA (staph) and C.diff. and many more.
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