disinfecting clothes

Cleaning Vs. Disinfecting: How To Keep Your Clothes Germ-Free

Posted on February 4, 2021 by Steven Toltz

Did you know that cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes that impact viruses and germs in different ways? To help keep you as safe as possible, we’re breaking down the differences between cleaning and disinfecting and giving you our top tips for keeping your clothes germ-free, whether you bring them to a dry cleaner, wash them at home, or use a laundromat.  Learn more on how to be sure you are disinfecting your clothes, what washing temperatures will kill germs and what the CDC recommendations are for disinfecting.

What Is Cleaning? 

Cleaning removes dirt and germs from surfaces. Removing germs through cleaning can help lower the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria, but it doesn’t kill them. 

What Is Disinfecting? 

Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs. However, that doesn’t mean cleaning isn’t important – the CDC recommends using a blend of cleaning and disinfecting on hard surfaces to further reduce the risk of spreading infections. When it comes to clothing or textiles, you’ll want to make sure your laundry process is killing and removing germs.

How Long Do Viruses & Germs Live On Clothes? 

According to a recent study on COVID-19, the virus lives less than two days on porous surfaces like cloth. The same study suggests that the virus is very sensitive to heat, and becomes inactive within 5 minutes under high temperatures (in this study, high temperatures were measured at 158°F). 

How Dry Cleaners Can Disinfect Clothes 

According to the World Health Organization, washing clothes in high water temperatures is one of the best ways to disinfect your clothes. We use heated, environmentally-friendly solvents and soaps that kill living viruses within two minutes. We use a new batch of solvent for every load, ensuring every garment is properly sanitized. In addition, all employees wear gloves, safety goggles, and masks when they handle dirty clothes and when coming in contact with others.

Read More:  Dependable Cleaners’ COVID-19 FAQs

Disinfection Tips For At-Home Laundry Loads 

If you wash your clothes at home, use the warmest available water setting. However, high temperatures can damage or shrink delicate clothing, so remember to read the care labels. If you’re not sure if high temperatures will damage your clothing, take it to a dry cleaner. Our process is effective enough to kill germs without affecting the quality of your clothing. 

Other laundry tips to reduce the spread of infection at home include: 

  • Consider using a detergent that contains bleach 
  • Dry clothing completely 
  • Disinfect laundry baskets after use 
  • Wear gloves while doing the laundry 
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap immediately after washing your hands 

Safety Tips For Doing Laundry At The Laundromat 

If you don’t have a washing machine at home or use a shared machine, follow these tips: 

  • Maintain a 6-foot distance from other people 
  • Disinfect the surfaces of the washer and dryer before starting your laundry 
  • Wear disposable gloves 
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Bring a separate, clean bag for laundered clothes 
  • Fold laundry at home 

To minimize the risk of spread, consider using Dependable Cleaners’ Wash & Fold services. In addition to washing, disinfecting, and folding your clothes, we also offer contactless pickup and delivery. Our pickup and delivery service is available for dry cleaning and Wash & Fold items, so you can look your best while staying safe. 

To learn more about how we can help you stay healthy, contact a Dependable Cleaners dry cleaning location near you or sign up for free pickup and delivery service today!