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Posted on August 1, 2022

Killing Germs on Clothing

I am a germaphobe. I’m constantly washing my hands, and I’m always thinking while out in public where I’ve sat and what I’ve touched.  So, when COVID came along, my hypersensitivity went into overdrive.  I began thinking about more than just using caution on where I touched and how often I washed my hands.  I began thinking about how I cleaned things and if my laundry habits produced hygienic clothing.

My research yielded some interesting findings, and as a result, I’ve changed a few of my habits.  Below I’ve summarized some of my discoveries.

Home Laundry

According to, to kill germs, viruses, or bacteria in laundry, you need to wash clothing in temperatures of at least 140° F and dry items in the dryer for 45 minutes.  Most washing machines, however, set the hot water at 130° F, so check the washing machine’s manual to see if you can increase the heat settings.

Professional Wet Cleaning and Wash and Fold Laundry Service

While your home washing machine may not be capable of reaching those super-high temperatures required to kill bacteria and germs, the professional equipment at Shores Fine Dry Cleaning can effectively remove these unwanted beasts thanks to the heat, detergents, and processes each piece is exposed to during cleaning and finishing.

Dry Cleaning

I mentioned above that the most effective way to kill germs, viruses, or bacteria is with heat.  Dry cleaning uses specialized detergents, solvents, high temperatures, and steam to clean and professionally finish clothes and linens.  Viruses dislike heat, so this multilayered heat approach is incredibly effective when it comes to killing germs.  Our resident expert, Michael Rowe, told me that during the drying process of a dry-cleaning cycle, the temperature reaches a minimum of 140°F, and the steam used in the finishing process can reach up to 220°F.

One final side piece of information, the ultraviolet rays from sunlight can kill germs on clothing.  So, if you have something that needs to air dry, consider hanging it outside instead of placing it on an inside drying rack.  Use caution though, sunlight can also cause colors to fade, so turn garments inside out.

You can rest assured that whatever items you drop off at your nearest Shores location, that they will not only be treated with extra special loving care, but they will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and ready for a germ-free wearing.

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