How to wash staph-infected clothing


Staph bacteria, which are common bacteria and easily transmitted from person to person, can cause conditions and diseases ranging from minor skin infections, such as boils, to serious conditions such as Toxic Shock Syndrome. Although staph live on some people without causing serious problems, the bacteria can be very dangerous for many. Take special care when laundering clothing that has had contact with the bacteria. Washing clothing only in tepid water with little detergent, for example, may not sufficiently disinfect the clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable rubber or vinyl gloves
  • Hot water
  • Bleach, pine oil disinfectants or phenolic disinfectants
  • Put on disposable rubber or vinyl gloves before handling staph-infected clothing. Was clothes in a washing machine in hot water. According to Cornell University Extension, the water temperature should be 140 to 158 degrees.

  • Add 1 cup of bleach to the water, if the clothes are white. If the clothes are colored, add instead half a cup of pine oil disinfectant or 1 cup of phenolic disinfectant. Do not use both bleach and these cleaners, however, as this will cause toxic fumes.

  • Let the clothes go through one full wash with the disinfectant. Wash the clothes again afterward with detergent, if you desire a less antiseptic scent to the clothing; the second wash is not necessary for sanitation.

  • Dry the clothes in a dryer on the highest heat setting. Cornell University Cooperative Extension suggests they be dried for 20 minutes minimum.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not mix bleach with cleaners other than regular detergent.
  • Discard the gloves you used to handle the clothing. Spray surfaces (the laundry basket, for example) with a disinfectant spray.

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