Thread Number: 91352  /  Tag: Detergents and Additives
Are laundry sanitizers worth it?
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Post# 1158578   9/3/2022 at 14:35 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

Here's a bit of a conundrum: My dad and stepmom have both tested positive for COVID after a cross-country vacation. As a result, my hand towels are becoming single-use to prevent the spread of the virus. And my Frigidaire TL washer, even when set to "hot," doesn't get hot enough (around 100 Fahrenheit) to effectively sanitize clothes.

So I did a quick search and found that Lysol Laundry Sanitizer is a thing. I wonder how well this product would work in my situation?

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Post# 1158579 , Reply# 1   9/3/2022 at 15:31 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

They are quaternary ammonia-based. Now the thing about quats is that organic compounds disable them so they have to go into rinse water after the wash and I do not know of many washers that provide a deep rinse long enough for the quat to kill germs. It takes 16 minutes to work so you would need to pause the machine. It would seem that they should probably be rinsed out afterwards, but maybe not, and most of the rinse dispensers are for softener in the final rinse.

I would use chlorine bleach or get a big pot and boil them after washing like our grandmothers did or fold them and stack them on a trivet in a pressure cooker and autoclave them.

This is all because we are not getting things hygenically clean in cold and barely warm washes so we are dumping chemicals into the waste water.

Post# 1158587 , Reply# 2   9/3/2022 at 16:04 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Aren't you going to dry them in the dryer? Or hang them outside in the sun? Either method will kill such germs, if any would be left after washing.

Post# 1158595 , Reply# 3   9/3/2022 at 17:33 by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Isn`t the Convid virus an enveloped virus which is very easily destroyed by detergent alone?
A quad based laundry sanitizer seems a bit of an overkill, I think a generous dose of detergent would do just as well. You could also add some oxybleach just for good measure and set the dryer to high heat.

If you had to fight a non enveloped virus like the Norovirus a boilwash or a quat based sanitizer would make much more sense. Or if you wanted to fight a sour laundry smell that comes from bacteria.
But then again if it makes you feel good go ahead and use a laundry sanitizer.
Just don`t use it in the wash part of the cycle because the active ingredient of the laundry sanitizer is a cationic sufactant and those are just like fabric softeners incompatible with the anionic surfactants of most commonly used detergents. Clothes wouldn`t come as clean as they should and the sanitizing properties would be impaired.

If you go for the laundry sanitizer I wouldn`t worry if the rinse cycle is 16 minutes long because those products are not meant to be rinsed out so there`s still some of the sanitizing solution left in the fabrics after the spin cycle, continuing to work as long as laundry is wet, well at least as long as there`s no spray rinse in the final spin of your washer.

Post# 1158596 , Reply# 4   9/3/2022 at 17:59 by SudsMaster (California)        

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I may be wrong, but it's my understanding that most viruses, including covid, are relatively delicate and easily killed by hot water and detergent. It's also my understanding that covid can't last outside the body for more than a few hours.


The main cause of spread of covid is through respiratory droplets. Not from clothing, bedding, etc.


So I would think that a hot water wash (120F or more) and a standard alkaline detergent would be sufficient to eliminate covid from whatever is being washed.


For the bed linens, clothing, etc of a known covid patient, might want to do a near-boil wash such as a Miele front loader is capable.


Again, I may be wrong, but that's my understanding.

Post# 1158604 , Reply# 5   9/3/2022 at 19:12 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Laundry will probably be the least of your worries if you're living in the same household. Just do your own laundry and wipe the washer lid/dryer door before using them.

You are young enough that the effects of covid are minimal.

Post# 1158691 , Reply# 6   9/4/2022 at 20:14 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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IF your water heater is hot enough but your washers mixer valve is not letting in pure hot water, try turning the cold water valve off when it's filling for the wash.

Post# 1158840 , Reply# 7   9/6/2022 at 05:04 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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When I want to add a little extra sanitization to my colored hospital uniforms I just add a little plain old Lysol to the hot wash water.  Whatever fragrance you prefer.  I like the ocean scented one.  With three rinses I don't worry about any irritating residue.  Then they are dried in a gas dryer.  I'm sure they are germ free.  All my whites get the Clorox treatment in hot water.

Post# 1158921 , Reply# 8   9/6/2022 at 18:41 by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        
Laundry Sanitizers

I prefer the OxiClean Laundry Sanitizer. It is used in the wash instead of the rinse, so the product is rinsed out and has longer time to work. Though, washing and drying the clothes will likely do the trick.

Post# 1159032 , Reply# 9   9/8/2022 at 01:57 by CleanteamofNY ((Monroe, New York)        

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It will work for your situation but follow the instruction on the label.

Sanitizing laundry should be soaked for 15-16 in the final rinse using Lysol Disinfectant.

I normally use the soak cycle (as my final Rinse) when I use Lysol, then set the machine to rinse after 15 mins have passed.

The scent is not that bad, for I use it on my towels when I wash them.

Also, the scent is light and crisp and I use one sheet of Bounce free and clear to reduce static.


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Post# 1159343 , Reply# 10   9/11/2022 at 20:01 by SudsMaster (California)        

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I'm of the opinion that very hot wash water is generally sufficient to disinfect items being washed. That is, 150F to 200F. Some front loaders such as from Miele can do that. Mine (Novatronic W1918) goes to 170F. Which, according to the following link, should be more than enough to kill both bacteria and viruses (150F or higher).


I gather it is not necessary to boil water to kill all pathogens in it. 150F or higher should be enough. Probably the rec to boil water is because once the water boils, at least at sea level, it has reached 212F without need for a thermometer. At higher altitudes the boil temp is lower due to lower atmospheric pressure, but still should be sufficient.



Post# 1159344 , Reply# 11   9/11/2022 at 20:05 by appnut (TX)        

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Rich, my LG can reach temp ranges of 158 to 163F. And I totally agree!!!!!!

Post# 1159349 , Reply# 12   9/11/2022 at 20:50 by SudsMaster (California)        

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I also have some older Mieles. Both are Deluxe Electronic W1065 models. These can go up to 200F, but with a lower final spin speed so I generally use the Novatonic W1918. And then usually only for whites that might need sanitizing, like hand towels and wash cloths.


Most other stuff gets a ride in the Maytag Neptune 7500 in the main house, with a connection to the water heater. The Mieles all reside in the workshop building, where there's no water heater, but they do just fine without one.

Post# 1159383 , Reply# 13   9/12/2022 at 11:33 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

I'm still divisive on whether or not I should buy this product. My tankless water heater maxes out at 120F, so I might do the trick that bradfordwhite suggested (turning off the cold water valve during the initial fill). However, I would have to keep a close ear on the machine and remember to turn the cold valve back on after the washer is done filling. And yes, I dry my towels on high heat.

Post# 1159384 , Reply# 14   9/12/2022 at 12:23 by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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Nick, check the documentation for your tankless. The 120F limit may be a safety limit that can be overridden by a configuration setting. Mine had a factory-set limit of either 120F or 125F (I now don't recall which) but it can be disabled and then 140F is the maximum temp that can be set.

Post# 1159477 , Reply# 15   9/13/2022 at 15:06 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
We use the Lysol or Clorox

ones to remove all sweat odors from our laundry. Especially my hubby's workout attire, and socks. Even using the steam wash cycle, and normal drying temp., the odor was still there, especially in the warmer month's. Some people have worse perspiration, and or distict B.O. and feet than others. He uses sneaker deoderizer balls, and dries his shoes out for two hours after a workout or a long walk.

Post# 1159677 , Reply# 16   9/16/2022 at 23:01 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

I decided to buy some Lysol Laundry Sanitizer from Safeway earlier this week. So I put it to the test with a large load of towels. First, I temporarily turned off the cold water valve behind the washer. This allowed for the wash water to be much hotter than normal.

My washer's fabric softener dispenser can only hold 1 capful of sanitizer. Since the instructions state to add 2 capfuls to a TL machine, I have to keep a close ear on the washer and add another capful when it's filling with rinse water. Once the machine is full, I let it agitate for a bit, then hit start/pause and let it sit for 16 minutes. Once that time has passed, I resume the machine so it can finish the cycle. I then dried the towels on high heat.

So overall, this product seems to work well, but it requires me to pay close attention to the sound of the washer, so I know when to add solution, pause and resume the machine. This is not a "set and forget" experience.

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Post# 1159699 , Reply# 17   9/17/2022 at 06:48 by retro-man (- boston,ma)        

Would a Downy ball dispenser hold enough that you could use that for a set and forget experience?


Post# 1159702 , Reply# 18   9/17/2022 at 08:41 by GELaundry4ever (Killeen tx USA)        
If I were you...

I would use a downy ball.

Post# 1159706 , Reply# 19   9/17/2022 at 09:03 by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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A Downy ball for dispensing wouldn't solve the problem of requiring 16-mins exposure. User attention is still needed to pause the machine for the duration, then resume to finish the cycle.

Post# 1159713 , Reply# 20   9/17/2022 at 11:16 by nmassman44 (Brooksville Florida)        

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Most people out there do not know how to use this product properly. My ex tenant used this stuff and he would add it to the wash cycle and still use fabric softener defeating the entire purpose of this " sanitizer". I had to inform him on how to use it since A) He didn't even read the bottle instructions B) had no clue that was the way it was supposed to be used and was clutching the pearls when I mentioned the correct usage. C) He threw everything in the dryer and barbecued every load so there was absolutely no need to even spend the money. D) he was a First Class Idiot....I dont miss that crap. At. All.

Post# 1161370 , Reply# 21   10/8/2022 at 17:04 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        
I have some of this stuff

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To be quite honest here, I really can't tell the difference other than the scent that it leaves behind which I do like. But the scent doesn't last as long as some of my liquid laundry detergent I have with some very strong scent like the Persil Intense Fresh Deep Clean or the Tide Mountain Spring. Would I buy it again? Maybe but I'd rarely use it if so. I already like what I use for my laundry but I'm always open for trying new things out so that's why I bought it.

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Post# 1161707 , Reply# 22   10/13/2022 at 17:00 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
It can save clothes from being thrown away...

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As you know, my 95-year-old mother lives with me and for a while she had been taking too much stool softener and that was causing continence issues. I could not use bleach on all of her clothes, but found out about the Lysol sanitizer and even though it is inconvenient to have to stop the washer for 16 minutes I found that it removed all of the odor and thus saved having to throw clothes away. I have a set of golf outfits I bought this summer and when I have a load of them I use the sanitizer to remove my body odor from them too. I flnd it helps make the LG front load washer we have smell better too (Though I still have to run Tub clean once in awhile).

Meanwhile, my youngest sister is using the Lysol in her top loader. Her husband was a high school athlete and is still very active with cycling and running. When you live with an athlete, there are a lot of bike shorts, Spandex, jock straps, and Speedos everywhere. Using the Lysol and waiting the 16 minutes has saved a lot of athletic wear from being thrown away because of odor. I see a market for Lysol with sports teams to save expensive uniforms.

Post# 1162553 , Reply# 23   10/26/2022 at 10:53 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Unless your washer is an open sewer--------

like half of America, then a standard wash cycle and a round in a dryer should be enough.

Chlorine bleach was great back in the day when everyone used cloth diapers and line-dried everything. The sun killed the chlorine and the cooties in one fell swoop.
The chlorine in the washing machine and hot water kept the washer clean.

In our world, today, fear is used to manipulate everyone. We are bombarded with all kinds of miss-information. Don't fall into the trap.

Post# 1162565 , Reply# 24   10/26/2022 at 12:25 by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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Advisory back in the day was to set the household water heater at 150F to 160F, and that's what was in the machine on a recommended hot fill (less any pipe-distance and thermal loss).

Hot nowadays on the Regular/Normal cycle is likely to be 85F.

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