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How to Kill C-Diff in Laundry

C-diff, or Clostridium difficile, is a germ currently running rampant through hospitals. This germ is spread by ingestion and in several cases, this germ has caused death. According to a 2007 study published by BioMed Central Infectious Diseases, 78 percent of surfaces in hospitals remained contaminated with C-diff after routine cleaning 2. Unfortunately, regular detergents cannot kill this germ when it is on your clothes. Only one ingredient effectively kills C-diff in your laundry.

Sort your laundry as usual. If you have clothes that were exposed to C-diff and clothes that were not, keep those loads separate from each other. Put one load into the washer.

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Pour color-safe bleach for dark or colored clothes or regular bleach for whites, as directed on the label, over your laundry. Wait for the washer to fill up with water before adding bleach, or put bleach in the specified area in your washing machine. Most machines have a slot for fabric softener and a slot for bleach. Do not use fabric softener or detergent at this time.

Wash your laundry on normal temperature and capacity settings. Even if the temperature is cold, the bleach will kill the germs. If you prefer washing in warm or hot water, check the labels on your clothing to avoid ruining your clothing.

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Open the lid of the washer as soon as the cycle finishes. Peel the laundry from the sides of the washer and reposition them in the washing machine. Pour on detergent and fabric softener as usual, and then fill the washing machine with water.

Add the appropriate bleach to the water and wash as usual.

Dry with hottest heat possible for the fabric.


Use bleach that is safe for your laundry. Using the wrong type of bleach may discolor your clothing.