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Does Dryer Heat Disinfect Clothes?

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By thegrasshopper

My Laundry Question

How hot does the dryer need to be in order to kill things like headlice, or bacteria/virus?

The new eco dryer and washer does not seem to get very hot, even at the max settings. Our school district has had repeated outbreaks of lice, and they are resistant to most meds now.

A school nurse said 140, for 30 minutes, and some of the parents have replaced the heater in their eco dryer/washers to amp up the heat. Seems to be an important question.

Share a Little Background Info

How hot does the dryer need to be in order to kill things like headlice, or bacteria/virus?

The new eco dryer and washer does not seem to get very hot, even at the max settings. Our school district has had repeated outbreaks of lice, and they are resistant to most meds now.

A school nurse said 140, for 30 minutes, and some of the parents have replaced the heater in their eco dryer/washers to amp up the heat. Seems to be an important question.

Lessons Learned

  • dr prescriptions, all the furniture in storage in plastic, hotel room decontamination, herbal, etc.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

You are right, most home dryers do not reach the extremely high temperatures (167-212 degrees F.) needed to kill bacteria completely. To disinfect laundry at home, you must use a combination of disinfectants in the wash with hot water and the heat of the dryer.

To control head lice, you must also use a combination of hot water and the heat of the dryer. I have some head lice control tips that may help you in the battle.

Good luck!

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