Can You Put Domestos In The Washing Machine?

Domestos is a heavy duty sanitizer and disinfectant that is primarily marketed to be used in areas like toilets and bathrooms having a considerable number of bacteria and pathogenic traffic. 

You should never put domestos in the washing machine to disinfect or sanitize it. The chemicals it contains are too tough and harsh for your washer to handle. Additionally, you should never use domestos and regular household bleach interchangeably in the laundry. Your clothes will get damaged and become stained.

In the course of this article, you’ll learn more on why you shouldn’t put domestos in the washer machine to disinfect it and what you should be using instead to achieve disinfection. You’ll also learn what to use to sanitize your laundry, and to clean, brighten and fade spots and stains on them. 

Don’t put domestos in the washing machine

Last week, I emailed one of the workers at domestos concerning using their product in the washing machine to disinfect it. And the reply they gave me was pretty much what i was expecting. 

“We would not recommend to use on clothes or clean your washing machine with it, please follow the instructions on the back of the packaging”. 

And that, I believe, sums up the status of domestos bleach in the washing machine. 

It’s a heavy duty product meant for cleaning areas with heavy concentration of bacteria, viruses and germs, like the toilet, bathroom and kitchen sink. It is not to be used in laundry or worse, put on clothing materials, as the chemicals could cause damage! 

What to use for sanitization and disinfection of your washing machine instead

There are many products out there that you can use to disinfect your washing machine when it gets all dirty and smelly. Some of the popular choices are listed below. 

Hot water

Hot water has a decent sanitization power. It will help you to get rid of many types of microbial activity going on in your washer. 

You can keep running a wash cycle with the hottest setting pending when you eventually lay your hands on any of the products mentioned below, and the hot water swish and splash would do a decent job of sanitizing your washer for you. 

To sanitize using hot water, choose the hottest setting on your washing machine and opt for a full wash cycle.

Chlorine bleach

When it comes to sanitizing your washer, chlorine bleach is your best bet. It contains sodium hypochlorite as its main ingredient which attacks microbes and kills them. It also contains cleaning agents to ensure you’re getting some cleaning in the end. 

With chlorine bleach, you can get as much as 99 % sanitizing efficiency on your washer. To use chlorine bleach in your machine, add it to the bleach dispenser as recommended by the washer manufacturer or add one cup to an empty drum. 

Select the hottest setting and run a complete cycle. Now inspect the nook and crannies of the washer for any visible grime build up and remove them using a toothbrush dipped in a solution of diluted bleach.

When you’re sure there is no longer grime build up, run a rinse cycle to flush out any remaining contaminant. 

You may still notice an odor even after cleaning your washer with bleach, especially when your washer is a high efficiency washer. In this case, feel free to repeat the steps all over again, as much as possible, until the smell no longer returns. 

Washer disinfectant like Sanytol etc.

These may or may not contain bleach but their primary goal is to deep clean a washer to remove smell, scale build up and grime. 

The way you apply them is typically the same as you would apply bleach in a washing machine to disinfect it. But always consult the product label for the correct mode of application. 


When it comes to vinegar, you’d have better chances of killing food borne pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes with it than most laundry microbes. 

Therefore, vinegar is more beneficial as a dish sanitizer than a washer sanitizer. And as far as washer sanitization goes, it’s advised to use vinegar only for times when you run short of other products on this list or when the main goal is to achieve light disinfection, banish odor and loosen up scum and grime build up. 

To use vinegar for cleaning washers, add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to an empty basket and run a wash cycle. Run a rinse cycle afterwards. 

Phenolic compound

Another set of disinfectants you can use in your washing machine are those containing phenolic compounds in them. 

These types of disinfectants kill bacteria and other microorganisms by inactivating their enzyme systems, although there are other methods they use to incapacitate bacteria and other pathogens.

You can use these products in your washing machine to achieve a squeaky clean and thoroughly disinfected interior.

Quaternary ammonium

Another way you can disinfect your washing machine without going the route of phenolic compounds, or chlorine bleach is to use products that contain quaternary ammonium salt.

Some of the time, you’ll discover that your laundry sanitizers contain quaternary ammonium salt in them, and you can use the products just like you would bleach, to disinfect your washer.

A good way you can tell you have a product that contains quaternary ammonium salt is when some of the ingredients listed on the product packaging end with ammonium chloride. 

Hydrogen peroxide

Another popular choice to disinfect your washer is probably sitting comfortably in your pantry cupboard right now. And that is the hydrogen peroxide. 

Hydrogen peroxide has disinfecting properties and for that reason you can always use it to clean or disinfect your washer. To use hydrogen peroxide, add 2 cups to an empty drum then run the hottest cycle and then rinse and that’s it.  

How often should you disinfect your washer?

Bacteria and pathogens build up in your washer as a result of the remnant water that stays back after you wash or rinse. Their activities cause the washer to begin emitting a bad stench that you don’t like. 

And whether you like it or not, your machine will continue to build up bacterial contamination this way and through other ways for the rest of its lifespan. Therefore, the only solution you have to combact microbial build up in your washer is to disinfect regularly, but how often is regularly? 

At least, you should disinfect your washer once in a month, using the techniques outlined above. The most you should ever do however, is 4 times a month, which breaks down to once a week. 

Such frequency maintained will ensure that your machine never becomes a breeding ground for smell-causing bacteria. 

Can i use domestos to bleach clothes?

Absolutely not. You cannot use domestos in your laundry activities at all. It’s a very powerful chemical that can cause serious damage to your washer and your clothes. So avoid it at all costs. 

If you really need to bleach, sanitize, wash or remove stains from your clothes, then consider the following options. 

Hot water

Hot water is a very good laundry sanitizer, most especially when paired with other sanitization methods like using bleach or laundry sanitizers. 

While hot water won’t work to get rid of all the bacteria and viruses that are on your clothes, it would tackle some of them. 

For its best use in sanitizing laundry however, you want to pair hot water (60 to 90 °C) with other products specifically designed to clean and disinfect laundry, like the lysol laundry sanitizer or laundry chlorine bleach from clorox or detergents having disinfectants in them. 

When using hot water to sanitize, ensure to check the label on your fabrics to make sure they’re safe to put in it. Not all clothes can be washed in hot water. Some of them can fade, distort and even shrink when submerged in hot water. 

Chlorine bleach

The best product to use for disinfecting laundry is chlorine bleach designed for laundry, like the one from clorox, hypo or JIK. It’s not as aggressive as heavy duty cleaners like domestos and will help sanitize fabrics as well as whiten them. 

Chlorine bleach isn’t safe for all fabrics colors though, as it could cause discoloration in colored garments. It’s best purposed for white material like towels, beddings and shirts. 

To use chlorine bleach in laundry, consult the product label of the product you’re using. 

Pine oil or Phenolic disinfectant

If you do not want to go the route of bleach or hot water, you can always look for products that contain pine oil or phenolic disinfectants. Typically, these would be laundry sanitizers, or even detergents.

Quaternary ammonium disinfectant

As mentioned earlier, quaternary ammonium disinfectants are one of the best solutions to disinfect fabric. You can find them as ingredients in products that you use to clean fabrics, for example fabric softeners, fabric sanitizers, and also fabric detergents.

Laundry sanitizers

Laundry sanitizers are products that are specifically designed to sanitize fabrics and garments. They contain disinfecting and sanitizing chemicals that work to kill bacteria and other microorganisms that may be present on your clothes. Famous examples of laundry sanitizer brands include clorox and lysol. 

Using laundry sanitizers is quite simple, add the appropriate amount as suggested by the production label to the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine and leave the rest to your washer. 

If your machine does not have a fabric softener dispenser, you can always add the laundry sanitizer during the rinse cycle of your machine, but avoid putting it in the bleach dispenser.

What to use for cleaning, brightening and removing stains from clothes instead?

Sanitizers are not necessarily good cleaners; they may be able to kill bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, but they suck at getting rid of dirt and soiling that may have accumulated on the surface of your fabric. 

For products that you should use to clean, to brighten, and to remove stains from your clothes, you can choose from the list below.

Hydrogen peroxide

For sparkling white whites, odor removal and brighter colored clothes, add hydrogen peroxide to the bleach dispenser of your washing machine. The hydrogen peroxide will be released during the wash cycle and it will help brighten your colored clothes or whiten your white clothes.

Baking soda

Baking soda increases the efficiency of all the cleaning products like detergent and sanitizers. So adding ½ cup of baking soda during your wash cycle will benefit your laundry by a great deal.

Oxygen bleach

Oxygen bleach does a great job at cleaning fabric. They brighten dark spots, they’re safe to use on colored clothes, they remove odor and help tackle soiling and stains pretty decently. It should be noted however, that they aren’t great sanitizers in the end. 

Opt for them when you have whites or colored clothes that are stained, emit odor or need brightening. 

Chlorine bleach

Use chlorine bleach to remove soiling on white clothes and also to brighten them. Chlorine bleach cannot be used on colored clothes because it will bleach their colors.

Stain removers

Another addition you can make when cleaning fabrics are stain removers. These are designed specifically to tackle a specific type of stain on your clothes.

How often should you disinfect your clothes?

There typically isn’t a definite time or period to disinfect your clothes. You would normally want to disinfect your clothes when you have stains on them, for example blood stains, vomit stains from a sick person and even poop stains from your newborn. 

These types of stains can harbor bacteria which if not killed can make their way into the body and cause illness. 

So whenever you have these categories of stains on your sheets, towels or clothes, endeavor to sanitize them properly. 

Final Thoughts

Putting domestos in the washing machine to disinfect it is a big no. The reason is because it is a cleaner meant for heavy duty applications like the toilet, bathroom or kitchen, and as such, it may contain chemicals that are very tough and harsh and can cause a breakdown in the components of your washer. 

Additionally domestos is not safe to use in the laundry because of this very same reason. If you ever feel the need to disinfect your clothes or your washing machine at any point, make sure to use products that are specifically meant for such purpose.