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Laundry FAQs with Dettol

Here we answer all your laundry- related questions. From how to clean a washing machine, to how to disinfect clothes when washing, Dettol has your laundry covered.

How does bacteria get into the washing machine?

Bacteria can enter the washing machine from our clothes or linen as well as the water that enters the machine for washing. These can grow and form biofilms that stick to the machine due to the plastic parts of modern washing machines. After washing, if the clothing is thoroughly dried the level of bacteria can be reduced, but if the clothing remains damp it’s a good environment for bacterial growth – leading to that damp laundry smell.

Does detergent kill bacteria when you wash your clothes?

Regular laundry detergents are designed to get rid of dirt and stains, but may not always get rid of bacteria. With a Natural Eucalyptus fragrance, Dettol Anti-Bacterial Laundry Sanitiser removes 99.9% of germs* in cold water (from 20°C). It helps break the cycle of re-infection and cross-infection, leaving laundry hygienically clean and fresh.

*Germs tested: E. coli and S. aureus.

How do I sanitise clothes while in the washing machine?

To kill bacteria that find their way into your washing machine, you should wash laundry at a temperature of 60°C or higher. However, due to the efforts to reduce energy costs and benefit the environment, home laundering now tends to be carried out at 30-40°C. When washing at a low temperature, you can help sanitise your clothing or linens by adding a laundry sanitiser to your wash and cleaning your washing machine by running a cycle without clothes and using a specially-designed washing machine cleaner. Refer to your washing machine manual for how often and what cycle is recommended for your machine. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner can be used every 2 months to give washing machines a 5-in-1 clean, removing 99.9% of germs^, bad odours, limescale and dirt while leaving a lasting freshness in your machine.

^Germs tested: E. coli, E. hirea and P. aeruginosa. 

Does adding more detergent clean better?

If you use more detergent than the detergent dose recommended by the manufacturer, it may mean that it doesn’t get fully washed out of your laundry during the rinse cycle and could cause potential problems with your washing machine.

For recommendations on which type of detergent is best for your machine and how much to use per load, check your washing machine’s use and care manual. A general rule of thumb is about a tablespoon of detergent per regular load size. The measuring cup that comes with liquid detergents could be up to 10 times larger than the actual amount required.

Is there any difference between bio and non-bio detergents

The key difference between biological and non-biological detergents is that biological detergents contain enzymes, which are effective at breaking down dirt into smaller pieces. This means biological detergents have better cleaning power for a range of difficult stains like grass, blood, egg, grease and chocolate, and work well even at lower temperatures. By replacing chemicals with biodegradable enzymes, biological detergents are also generally considered more environmentally friendly.

Non-biological detergents are free of enzymes, deriving their cleaning power from gentler ingredients and conventional cleaning technologies. As they are a gentler detergent, there is less likelihood of damaging delicate materials in the wash, and less irritation for those with sensitive skin.

What’s the best way to clean a washing machine?

Try cleaning with Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner using the following easy steps:

  1. Clean the detergent drawer, door and seal with washing machine cleaner. If using Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner, dilute one tablespoon (15ml) in 200ml of water and, while wearing gloves, use a sponge to wipe these areas clean.
  2. Clean the machine. Follow the instructions on your washing machine cleaner’s pack. If using Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner simply pour the remaining liquid from the bottle into the detergent drawer, or for the top loaders, into the machine bowl or down the centre of the agitator. Do not use detergent. Run the washing machine through a cycle at 60°C without any laundry.
  3. Older machines that have never been cleaned may require a second treatment.
  4. Do not mix with bleach or any other household products when using washing machine cleaners.

How to use Dettol in laundry to sanitise clothes?

To sanitise clothes while in the washing machine add a laundry sanitiser to your wash.

How much Dettol to use in laundry:

  • For a regular load of washing, add 25mL of Dettol Laundry Sanitiser for a front loader machine, or 60mL of Dettol Laundry Sanitiser for a top loader machine, into the fabric softener dispenser, in place of or in addition to fabric softeners. Dettol Laundry Sanitiser will be automatically activated in the final rinse cycle of your wash.
  • For washing machines without a fabric softener dispenser, wash as usual and only apply Dettol Laundry Sanitiser to the final deep rinse cycle of your machine.
  • For handwashing, wash and rinse the clothes, then add 60mL of Dettol Laundry Sanitiser for each 8 litres of water into the final rinse. Soak for 10 minutes and rinse if desired. Dry the clothes as usual.


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