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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Good laundry practices

For a high level of hygiene at home, do observe safe laundry-separating practices.
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - June 22, 2009
By: Adele Ong
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Good laundry practices

Besides the basic rule of separating whites and pastels from dark colours, other laundry practices are worth observing for the sake of health and hygiene.

  • Cleaning rags and washable rugs should not be tossed into the wash with clothing and bed linen. Tablecloths and curtains should also be washed separately. Rugs and rags have all kinds of germs on them from having cleaned other surfaces and being trampled by feet. Tablecloths may have grease on them, while curtains may have accumulated dust.

  • Particularly muddy sports clothing should be hand-washed individually to get the grime out, or thrown into a wash cycle of their own.

  • If a mercury spill from a thermometer has affected an item of clothing you were wearing, don’t put the item into the general wash. Small traces of mercury can spread throughout the wash and contaminate every other item, and even tiny quantities of mercury are dangerous to inhale or keep in contact with the skin. Wash and dry the item separately; if the spill was bad, the clothing may have to be discarded.

  • That rule also applies to clothing affected by chemical splashes (for example, on your child’s school uniform during a lab session), or which has been pooped on by a passing bird. The chemical may not be corrosive, and the bird may look healthy, but don’t risk spreading possibly harmful or virus-laden substances throughout your laundry load.

  • If you work in an industry where you come into contact with potentially dangerous contaminants, try not to wear your work clothes home. If your workplace has no showering facilities, do not let your family members greet you with hugs or kisses until you have removed your work clothes, bagged them for proper laundering, showered and changed into clean home clothes. Health workers are advised not to wear their clinic, lab or hospital overwear home; workers doing jobs that bring them into contact with substances or organisms such as mercury, chemicals, waste contaminants or animal germs and parasites should also change and clean up after work before letting loved ones make physical contact with them. These clothes should be washed separately from the family’s. Ideally, the workplace should offer professional cleaning services.

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