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Does a Clothes Dryer Kill Germs on Fabric?

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Brenda Presley

My Laundry Question

Will Dry Cleaning at home or putting cloths in a dryer kill germs or viruses?

Share a Little Background Info

I would like to clean our bedspreads with out constantly washing them and drying them. It shorten the life span of the fabric and fades the fabric to wash them so much. I have teenagers and grandchildren and a sick husband. I want to know if I use the dry cleaning kits to do the spreads if that would keep the spreads clean and grem free. I also heard that the dryer alone kills germs by itself. I also heard even bad germs like HIV viruses die with in minutes of being exposed to air. If I send the bed spreads to the store to clean it cost 18.00 to $20.00 to clean and if I do it myself it will cost about .50 per bed spread to clean. If there were big stains I would send it in but if it is just to freshen up or clean because one of the kids has a cold or flu I would like to know if the dryer or the kit would kill the germs.

Lessons Learned

  • I have used the dryer produts and they smell great but if not removed promply they will wrinkle. Does it distroy germs? Does the heat alone kill the germs? Are all dryers set at the same temperture?

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Bed spread

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

Home dry cleaning kits do not provide any germ or bacterial virus protection. And, 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. Or, you can take your bedding to a laundromat where the commercial dryers reach a higher heat.

I'm sorry, I'm not an expert on how long different germs and bacteria live on fabric. You can consult your local department of health and epidemiology to get more information.

Good luck!

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