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Does Detergent Kill Bacteria?

In an era where cleanliness is paramount, it's vital to ask: does detergent kill bacteria? This question goes beyond mere cleanliness; it's about safeguarding our health.

Our research indicates that while laundry detergents are adept at removing dirt and stains, they may not always eliminate bacteria and viruses.

This article will delve into the effectiveness of detergents against bacteria, the impact of using more detergent, ways to sanitise clothes in the washing machine, the differences between bio and non-bio detergents, and best practices for a hygienic laundry routine.

Shall we begin?

What this article covers:

Does Detergent Kill Bacteria When You Wash Your Clothes?

Regular laundry detergents are primarily designed to clean, removing dirt and stains from fabrics, but they do not necessarily kill bacteria and viruses. The reason boils down to how is detergent made: Their ingredients are typically formulated without disinfectants.

Our findings show that, while detergents are effective at physically removing germs from fabric, they may not always eliminate them completely.

The effectiveness of a detergent in dealing with bacteria depends on various factors, including the type of detergent, the temperature of the water, and the washing method. Washing clothes at high temperatures (like 60°C) can kill germs, but doing so can fade colours and damage fabrics.

Does Adding More Detergent Clean Better?

Contrary to common belief, using more laundry detergent than recommended does not result in cleaner clothes. Overusing detergent can be counterproductive. Too much detergent creates excess suds, which can prevent clothes from rubbing against each other effectively, a key process in releasing trapped dirt

Using too much detergent can also have other unintended consequences. For instance, it can contribute to the buildup of mold and mildew in the washing machine, as detergent residues linger in nooks and crannies.

do detergents kill bacteria

This not only affects the machine's efficiency but can also lead to unpleasant odors. Therefore, it's crucial to adhere to the recommended detergent amounts.

When it comes to how much laundry detergent to use, our laundry detergent sheets offer a convenient solution. These pre-measured sheets eliminate the guesswork involved in measuring detergent for each load, ensuring that the right amount is used every time.

This not only prevents wastage but also avoids the issues associated with using too much detergent.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Your Washing Machine?

Based on our observations, the best way to clean a washing machine is by using a combination of hot water and white vinegar. We recommend setting the washing machine to the hottest water setting, adding four cups of white vinegar, and running a cycle.

This effectively cleans and deodorizes the machine.

Taking it a step further, add a half-cup of baking soda and run a second cycle. This helps remove any lingering residues.

Remember to clean the machine components like the detergent dispenser, filter, and rubber gaskets. Simply use a brush and dish soap and allow them to air dry.

Do Clothes and Towels Spread Germs?

Yes, clothes and towels can indeed spread germs. There are three main ways germs are spread by clothes and towels: when they are used by more than one person, when someone handles dirty laundry and then touches clean laundry without washing their hands, and when clothes or towels are washed inadequately.

does laundry detergent kill germs

Towels can be a significant source of germ transmission. Dish towels, for example, can harbor bacteria like salmonella and E. coli if they come into contact with raw meat.

Similarly, bath towels can pick up E. coli and other fecal bacteria.

How to Kill Germs

Killing germs effectively is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy environment. Various methods can be employed to eliminate germs from different surfaces and objects, ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals.

Expose Your Laundry To Sunlight

Exposing laundry to sunlight is an effective and natural method for sanitizing clothes. The ultraviolet rays from the sun have disinfectant properties that can help kill bacteria and other microorganisms on fabrics.

Note that you should expose your clothing to direct sunlight rather than through a window for this method to be effective.

Sunlight can also help lighten stains and brighten whites. The UV rays break down organic compounds that can cause stains and odors, making sunlight an excellent natural bleach and deodorizer for clothes. Drying clothes in the sun can also save energy and reduce wear and tear on fabrics.

To keep your laundry from blowing off the line, consider our stainless steel clothes pegs. They're rust-resistant and free from plastic. Need a place to store them? Not a problem! Our handmade peg basket will do just the trick.

Sanitize Your Hamper

Sanitizing your laundry hamper is an important step in maintaining a hygienic laundry routine. Hampers can accumulate germs and bacteria from dirty clothes, making regular cleaning essential.

For hampers made of hard materials, use soap and water to remove dirt and germs, followed by a disinfectant to kill any remaining microbes. Using a washable or disposable bag liner can help keep germs at bay.

does laundry detergent kill bacteria

It's also important to consider the frequency of cleaning your hamper. Regular cleaning, depending on the usage and the types of items stored, can prevent the buildup of odors and bacteria. We suggest between 3-6 months if you're using a liner.

Keep Towels Separate

For reasons stipulated earlier, keeping towels separate from other laundry items is crucial for maintaining hygiene and the quality of the towels.

Another reason to wash towels separately is to prevent the transfer of lint and fibers to other clothing items. Towels, particularly new ones, can shed a lot of lint which can cling to clothes. Separating towels from clothes can prevent this issue.


So now you know. While laundry detergents excel at removing dirt and stains, they may not guarantee the complete elimination of bacteria and viruses. Regular laundry detergents primarily focus on cleaning, not sterilization.

Moreover, we've dispelled the misconception that more detergent means cleaner clothes. Excess detergent can hinder the cleaning process. Our detergent sheets eliminate the guesswork, ensuring the right amount of detergent for each load and preventing wastage.

So why wait? Visit Activated Eco today for your laundry needs!

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