Laundry sanitizers: they’ve promised the lofty aim of eradicating bacteria, viruses and an array of other grime from our attire.
Typically employed alongside your run-of-the-mill laundry detergent, these nifty additions can potentially elevate your garments to a new level of cleanliness and hygiene.
But does the age-old adage of ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,’ ring true here?
Are these miraculous laundry sanitizers worth the pennies we part with for them?
In this article, we’re delving deep into the world of laundry sanitizers.
We’ll dissect their function, analyze their capabilities and limitations, and ultimately determine whether they justify their place in our everyday washing routines.
What Is Laundry Sanitizer Made Of?
Laundry sanitizer is a cocktail of ingredients designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses (up to 99% of them) from your clothes.
The primary ingredient is alcohol, an efficient disinfectant that eradicates those pesky germs while also helping to remove stains and odors.
Another crucial component is salt—yes, the same one you sprinkle on your fries—which acts as a water softener. It aids our main hero, alcohol, in its mission and keeps your clothes free from any unsightly mineral deposits.
Then come surfactants – these are like little soldiers who march into battle against dirt and grease.
Depending on the type of sanitizer, they can be neutral (non-ionic) or positive (cationic) cleaning agents ready to lift tough grime off your garments.
And what’s that delightful scent wafting from your freshly laundered clothes?
That’s all thanks to the added fragrance oils – natural or synthetic like citronellol, hexyl cinnamal, or butylphenyl methylpropional – which leave your laundry smelling heavenly.
Lastly, preservatives join this powerful blend to prevent bacterial and fungal growth in the sanitizer itself.
They come in various forms: organic acids such as benzyl alcohol or sorbic acid or quaternary ammonium compounds like dialkyl dimethylammonium chloride or benzyl alkyldimethyl chloride.
While each brand may vary slightly in its choice of ingredients or scents for its laundry sanitizer, this basic recipe remains mostly unaltered.
How Effective Is Laundry Sanitizer?
According to a rigorous scientific study published on nature.com, laundry sanitizers aren’t just marketing magic – they’re virucidal.
This means they have a proven talent for neutralizing villains like coronavirus and influenza virus.
During one particularly enlightening experiment, these sanitizers were put to work in liquid suspensions and displayed their impressive potential.
Within just 15 minutes of contact time at a moderate 20°C, these robust warriors caused complete inactivation of viruses.
But their capabilities don’t stop there.
Alongside squaring off against these globally-feared viruses, laundry sanitizers also take care of everyday bacteria that could potentially disturb your home’s peace.
Is Laundry Sanitizer Safe?
Similar to many chemicals used around the home, not all materials can withstand the penetrating heat associated with and some of the active ingredients found in laundry sanitizers.
Delicate clothing items with components like elastic or spandex, as well as fabrics like wool should be treated with caution.
To prevent potential damage, always consult the care label on your garments before adding a sanitizer into your wash cycle and follow product instructions diligently.
It’s also worth noting that certain ingredients in laundry sanitizers such as bleach can prove harsh on skin – a potential catalyst for irritation or allergic reactions.
Moreover, they pose an environmental concern that cannot be overlooked.
Safety is paramount when using these products.
Always ensure you’re wearing gloves while handling laundry sanitizer to protect yourself and never mix them with other household cleaning products like vinegar or ammonia which may result in toxic fumes being produced.
For those wishing to tread lightly on Mother Earth or their skin without compromising on cleanliness, there are natural alternatives out there such as vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or even good old sunlight.
While they might not pack as much punch when it comes to killing germs compared to commercial sanitizing products, these eco-friendly options can effectively reduce unpleasant odors and bacteria levels in your laundry.
Is Laundry Sanitizer The Same As Detergent?
The simple answer to this is that no, they are not.
What most people don’t realize is that laundry detergent and laundry sanitizers serve two different but equally crucial roles in maintaining the cleanliness of your garments.
Laundry detergent primarily acts as an agent of cleanliness – taking on dirt, stains, and unsavoury odours.
It’s kind of like a detective that investigates every inch of your clothing fibers, hunting down hidden dirt particles and ensuring they’re removed during the wash cycle.
On the other hand, we have laundry sanitizers – essentially playing a sort of superhero role in your washing machine.
These products have a single mission: eliminating 99.9% of bacteria and potentially harmful germs lurking on your clothing items.
These microscopic threats could be from sweat exposure or contact with bodily fluids – an invisible warfare that your clothes may be undergoing unbeknownst to you.
To optimize their power, laundry sanitizers can either supplement your regular detergent or work independently as standalone products featuring both cleaning and sanitizing capabilities.
Using laundry detergent alone doesn’t guarantee total germ eradication – something one should particularly bear in mind if they’re washing their clothes in cold or warm water.
This is where our superhero – the laundry sanitizer – swoops in for rescue; it ensures germs potentially causing infections or illnesses (even those as resilient as Covid-19) are completely annihilated.
Does Laundry Sanitizer Work In Cold Water?
Most laundry sanitizers are typically added during the rinse cycle and will get into battle with 99.9% of bacteria even in cold water.
Natural sanitizers based on bleach or vinegar however, show more potential when combined with hot water wash or rinse.
Is Laundry Sanitizer Necessary?
Laundry sanitizer is not an obligatory addition to every laundry load, but it certainly has its perks in specific scenarios.
As an effective germ-buster, laundry sanitizer eradicates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses that may be lurking on your clothes, bedsheets, towels and beyond.
It can be particularly handy during cold and flu season or when someone in your household is under the weather.
Also, if your daily routine includes activities that generate extra sweat or odor such as workouts or certain professions, using a sanitizer for items like gym clothes or bath towels may just save the day.
However, it’s key to remember that for standard laundry loads, a hot water wash paired with your favorite detergent often does the trick.
There’s no need to over-complicate things if your current routine gets the job done well.
Does Laundry Sanitizer Clean The Washing Machine?
Technically, yes it does.
The use of a laundry sanitizer can indeed help remove harmful bacteria from your washing machine.
However, let’s dive a bit deeper.
Relying solely on laundry sanitizer may not entirely sanitize your washing machine, especially when it comes to issues like mold, mildew or persistent odors.
Even though it aids in banishing bacteria, you might need to call upon some other household essentials – think bleach or vinegar – to truly deep-clean and disinfect your trusted washing machine.
It’s notable that some advanced washing machines come equipped with built-in sanitizing cycles designed specifically for this purpose; take Whirlpool® washers and their ‘Sanitize cycle with Oxi’, for instance.
This feature uses extra-hot water to eliminate an impressive 99.9% of common household bacteria, ensuring your laundry is not just clean, but thoroughly sanitized too.
For those without a washing machine flaunting this particular feature, don’t worry – you’re far from out of options.
You can always turn up the heat by using the warmest water temperature available on your machine and add a dose of laundry sanitizer during the rinse cycle or directly into the fabric softener compartment.