This seems like an easy subject to discuss, which has nothing to do with health, about which we already know everything and which There are no major complications or secrets for the owners of the house.. Plus, since we all like our clothes to be clean and smell good…
But that is not enough.
And while many of us think we just throw clothes in the washing machine, turn them inside out with the detergent, and remove the stains…maybe we’re wrong.
Clothes are in permanent contact with our body and It is important for our health that hygienically always be at your best.
Furthermore, on several occasions the task of doing laundry itself can be a source of contagion.
- And in case anyone doesn’t know, the clothes These are very common fomites, that is, objects capable of carrying infectious microbes.
Can laundry be a risk?
A recent survey, published in Journal of Applied Microbiologyrevealed the points in laundry where, if we don’t do it correctly, we will increase the risk of infections.
To reach their conclusions, the researchers reviewed previously published data on infectious agents and conducted a quantitative microbiological risk assessment.
They discovered numerous previous investigations in which existence of significant pathogens in clothing fabrics.
There are even documented outbreaks of infectious and parasitic diseases such as gonorrhea, scabies, hepatitis B, rotavirus… caused by improper handling of clothes in the laundry.
And among the infectious diseases that would be most likely to infect us through clothing those caused by viruses stand out.
The reason is that, although they don’t survive as long on clothing as bacteria or fungus, viruses are generally more contagious.
In addition, they are the cause of many common respiratory and digestive infections.
How to do laundry at home?
Based on this scientific article, we will draw the conclusion that doing laundry well depends on:
- The characteristics of the house.
- The people who make it up.
- The moment it is processed.
For that The tips we include below relate to the different variables to which we are referring.
1 – If we are in a healthy house and with lightly stained clothes…
If there is no one sick in the house and the clothes are not particularly dirtyit will be enough to use a normal detergent and wash in cold water.
Because in a home where everyone is healthy and has a good immune system, it is very unlikely that an infection will occur due to poor laundry management.
In such cases regular washing will remove as much as possible Infectious agentsand the risk of infection will be practically zero.
If we also wash or sanitize our hands after doing laundry or moving wet clothes, even better.
2 – If we are in a healthy house, but with very dirty clothes…
To effectively remove stains from clothes, we will probably need to use higher quality detergents: containing more types of surfactants or enzymatic detergents.
For example, It is recommended to use this type of detergent for washing:
- Baby clothes
Since all are very sensitive to microbiological contamination.
If we don’t have this type of detergent, We can also put the washing machine on with warmer waterand we will have a similar result.
3 – If there is a sick person in our home, or suspected, due to a respiratory infection (covid-19, flu, cold, etc.)
In such cases, Special care should be taken when handling clothing and bedding..
And while most people don’t, it’s no exaggeration to say that It is important to wash your hands (or even use gloves) after touching dirty clothes.
And of course, avoid touching our faces while we do laundry.
- Regarding the washing method, Respiratory viruses would be easily removed from clothes with good quality detergents.
If at home there is someone who has a cold or the fluor we suspect that this may be the case, it is recommended to use some high-end laundry detergent. And this coupled with the use of hot waterit will be enough for the clothes to be sufficiently disinfected.
And it wouldn’t take much more. Don’t even separate clothes when washing them.
- THE common respiratory viruses They generally have a lipid envelope which It is easily removed with surfactants contained in detergents.your.
4 – In homes where there is a sick person due to an enteric infection (diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) and particularly dangerous work clothing
Here of course too it is necessary to wash your hands after touching clothes.
Even it is advisable to use disposable glovesbeing aware that you should not touch your face with them and that you should remove them appropriately.
In these circumstances washing should be more intense and it is also recommended to wash clothes with great frequency.
- Furthermore, The patient’s clothes should not be washed with other people’s clothes..
Enteric viruses tend to be more resistant and they would last longer on clothes.
To ensure its elimination, we must add other products besides better detergent, such as bleach or other disinfectant solutions.
Temperature the washing process is clear: the maximum that the fabric allows.
These prevention measures may also apply to certain work clothing.
For example, the fishmonger’s dress, the nurse’s pajamas or the farmer’s overalls. Fabrics that are regularly stained and/or may harbor dangerous microorganisms.
Although the ideal recommendation, wherever possible, would be that these work clothes will be washed in an environment other than the home.
Do not shake or move clothes too much when they are dirty. This could cause infectious agents to come into contact with our face.
How to dry clothes?
If you use a dryer, the ideal would be to use it at a temperature consistent with the temperature of the washing machine.
In healthy homes, using the dryer on low or medium heat would be sufficient. In homes where sick people live, it is best to use high temperatures.
However, it is very likely that It is best to let clothes dry in the sun.. It was observed that the number of microorganisms is greatly reduced when clothes are dried in this manner, largely due to the fact that solar radiation helps eliminate them.
In any case, you should always put your clothes in the closet when they are completely dry.
For this, iron could help us. By ironing the clothes we will not only notice if there are any wet clothes left, but we will also finish disinfecting the clothes using very high temperatures on the fabrics.
But, according to the authors, the most important thing and what minimizes the risk of infection through clothing is
- Hand hygiene.
- Don’t touch our face when handling dirty clothes.
- Wash our hands as soon as we’re done.
It is only with these simple actions that we can prevent the vast majority of diseases that are spread through clothing.