Berry Blog
New customers save 20% off your first order with promo WELCOME

How to Disinfect and Sanitize Your Laundry


Getting sick is never ideal, but unfortunately, it’s inevitably going to happen to everyone from time-to-time. When bacterial and viral infections hit, the only way to get better is to drink lots of fluids, take medicine, and rest in bed. After you’ve recovered, one way to ensure that you don’t get sick again is to sanitize and disinfect your laundry in order to kill harmful germs. 

But, does laundry detergent kill germs? It’s natural to think that, once you throw your laundry into the washing machine or dryer, it’s going to become 100% clean. Unfortunately, laundry detergent alone isn’t enough to kill harmful germs. Luckily, disinfecting your laundry is relatively easy and inexpensive, so you won’t have to go completely out of your way to do it.

If you’re interested in learning how to sanitize laundry, keep reading! 

Laundry Disinfectants 

There are several categories of products and compounds that can be used to disinfect laundry. 

  • Phenolic Disinfectants: Phenolic disinfectants, like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer, can be used on white and colored fabrics in both hot and cold water. You can add phenolic disinfectants to the wash and rinse cycles, but if it’s added to the rinse cycle, make sure that it’s warm water. Additionally, these cleaners are available to purchase at most supermarkets and grocery stores. 
  • Liquid Chlorine Disinfectants: Liquid chlorine, or chlorine bleach, can be used in every temperature, but it can only be used on white fabrics only. Clorox is a major brand of liquid chlorine bleach, which can be found in all grocery stores. 
  • Pine Oil Disinfectants: Pine oil is effective in hot and warm water, and can be used on both white and colored fabrics. To use, add them at the beginning of the wash cycle, and ensure that the product you are using, whether it’s Pine-Sol or Spic-n-Span Pine, contains at least 80% pine oil.
  • Quaternary Disinfectants: Quaternary disinfectants (such as GermBloc) are extremely effective in both warm and cold water but, unfortunately, aren’t the most widely available product. Additionally, these products need to be added at the end of the wash cycle because many of them can damage fabrics after prolonged exposure.

When using any of these products, remember to follow the product’s directions carefully and only use the recommended amount, which can be found on the product’s label.

More information on disinfectants and recommended disinfecting methods can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

How to Sanitize Laundry

So, how do you disinfect fabric? It’s easy! But just remember that, when it comes to disinfecting laundry, it matters what type of fabric you’re disinfecting. White fabrics and colored fabrics need to be treated differently, so it’s important to follow the cleaning instructions found on your clothing labels.

Disinfecting White Clothes

White clothes are among the easiest fabrics to disinfect because they can withstand chlorine bleach and high heat. To disinfect white fabrics, simply:

  1. Wash your clothing in hot water that is 140 degrees.
  2. Use your preferred brand of laundry detergent, along with one of the above disinfectants.
  3. Place clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 45 minutes.

Disinfecting Colored Clothes

Hot water is best for disinfecting clothes, but with many colored fabrics, you can’t use high heat. Additionally, you’re not able to use traditional bleach on colors. Therefore, you have to think of alternative ways to kill germs that are living on your clothes. To disinfect colored fabrics, please:

  1. Wash your clothes on the warmest water allowed as per your clothing label.
  2. Use your preferred brand of laundry detergent, along with one of the above disinfectants.
  3. Place clothes in the dryer for at least 45 minutes. Check the label for which dryer setting to use.

When you get sick, it is important to disinfect your laundry to prevent spreading diseases to your family. Now that you know how to sanitize laundry, you’ll be prepared to keep your home clean whenever you catch a bug.

Did you know that dry cleaning is another effective way to disinfect your laundry? If you don’t want to go through the trouble of disinfecting your own laundry or household linens, or if you have items that may be fragile or where a particularly deep clean is needed, put your trust in Mulberrys Garment Care and our Minneapolis and San Francisco dry cleaners. And you can get all this without even leaving your home! Reach out today to learn more about our dry cleaning pickup or wash and fold laundry delivery services today.