Just how clean is your laundry?

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

By Catherine Haug, July 26, 2017 (photo, right, from Sheree’s presentation on making your own laundry soap)

Washing your dirty laundry in 140°F water with real soap (not detergents) does the best job of killing bacteria and fungus germs; tumble-drying them for at least 30 minutes in a hot dryer also helps to kill those germs. But many washable fabrics will shrink in such hot water, and others may require drip-drying, so how is one supposed to keep germs in check?

This concern is especially important when there is a sick person in the house.

According to Mercola (1) there are several ways of reducing the potential of passing along bacteria or fungi from one piece of your clothing to the next without using dangerous toxins or opening yourself up to damage from microwave radiation. I’ve added one of my own as well.

Laundry tips

Cat’s number one suggestion:

We all have a microbiome on our skin that transfers to our clothing and bed sheets; when we are healthy, this microbiome keeps bad microbes in-check to protect us. Using antibacterial detergents or washes on our skin destroys the good microbes as well as the bad, but using real soap is more selective, killing only the bad bugs.

Our undergarments pick up the microbes from our skin and our body wastes; washing sheets and undergarments with real soap is more effective than laundry detergents.

See the following articles on this site for more information:

Other suggestions:

In the list below, Mercola’s suggestions have purple titles; mine have purple titles. I’ve also added notes to Mercola’s suggestions in square brackets.

  • Wash your bed sheets at least weekly. In warm weather you may sweat up to 26 gallons per year (2), making your bedsheets a veritable swamp of bacteria and phenomenal breeding ground for dust mites. [Use real soap rather than laundry detergents; see above suggestion for more.]
  • Use hot water wash setting on your machine when laundering sheets and underwear.
  • Wash your undergarments separately: Keep your clothing with the most bacteria away from the rest of your laundry, especially from the towels you use on your dishes.  [Use real soap rather than laundry detergents; see above suggestion for more.]
  • Wash your handsIt’s important to wash your hands [with real soap such as homemade soap, Kirk’s Castile or Dr. Bronner’s] after transferring wet clothes laden with bacteria from the washing machine to the dryer in order to reduce the transfer of that bacteria to your nose or mouth, which may increase your risk of infection.
  • Tumble dry: Your dryer will kill bacteria and fungi on your clothing when dried for at least 30 minutes. [Use the heat setting].
  • Clean the lint filter after each session.
  • Clean the machine: Clean your washing machine routinely to reduce the amount of bacteria waiting for your clothes in the machine. Consider cleaning the surface of the drum (where the clothes are washed) with white vinegar and baking soda. Next add an essential oil that has antibacterial properties, such as lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange oils and palmarosa, to the machine and running it using hot water without a load of clothes.
  • Use an additive with your dirty laundry: Adding 2 cups of 10 particles per million (ppm) of colloidal silver to the rinse cycle will infuse your clothing with silver, a natural antibacterial. [Mercola suggests a particular brand of colloidal silver generator for making your own].


  1. Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/26/how-to-sanitize-underwear.aspx
  2. How often should you change your bedsheets, pajamas, towels and underwear? .walesonline.co.uk/news/health/how-often-should-change-bedsheets-10789782

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