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Will Putting Clothes In A Hot Dryer Kill Germs?
Driers are an excellent asset in everyone’s home. They reduce the time and energy you may need to use to wash your clothes.
But the pertinent issue is,will putting clothes in a hot dryer kill germs?
A quick answer to that question will be yes. A drier will kill germs at the right temperature.
But what is the right temperature, and how many people adjust the drier to that level to kill germs? Read on to separate myths from facts.
Many modern driers will potentially kill the majority of the germs that may be in your clothes.
When a drier gets to 135°F, it starts to kill a significant number of bacteria.
Other factors come into play. In addition to this temperature threshold, other factors to be considered are the length of the drying cycle, the species of the viruses or bacteria/germs and the type of fabrics.
Germs, bacteria, fungal spores or viruses are not visible to the naked eye. Because we can’t see them, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget about them because we can’t see them. Many times, you will only stop to think about germs and viruses when someone in your home gets sick.
As a consequence, it is essential to consider ways of killing germs and viruses. One of the easiest ways to do this is using your laundry appliances.
What Does a Clothes’ Drier Do to Germs?
There are millions of bacteria in our clothes. However, only a few of such harmful bacterial can make you unwell.
With the advent of technology concerning biological detergents, fabrics are now washed at lower temperatures than a few decades ago.
This comes as good news for your electric power bills. However, this is not very good news for your health.
Indeed, it is now possible to buy detergents that will not strain as they remove stubborn stains from your clothes at temperatures lower than 40 ℃.
On the flip side, this temperature cannot kill germs and other harmful bacteria that may be present in your clothes.
Again, the germs on a single item will easily spread to all the clothes stuffed together.
Additionally, the machine itself will become contaminated with the germs and act as a super spreader to all subsequent washes.
Therefore it is needful to understand that there are blessings attached to modern detergents, but you still need to wash your clothes at higher temperatures every other time.
In most developed countries, clothes dryers are top-rated. The fast convenience they offer is removing moisture from the laundry.
To have an informed conclusion on whether the drier kills germs or not, let’s look at the way a drier operates.
The two main types of dryers available are vent less and vented dryers. In the vent less drier category,condenser driers are the most popular.
The two categories of driers are vastly different.
For instance, condenser driers eliminate the moisture inside the drier. They do this by condensing the moisture into the water and collect it in a container.
On the other hand, vented dryers do not use water but suck dry air and then vent out the moist air through a hose.
As it pertains to killing germs, both types of driers heat the air in the drums. This heating exercise is to a certain level to enhance faster evaporation.
Worth noting is the fact that all bacteria, germs and pathogens are sensitive to heat. However, this sensitivity is varied. Consequently, the process is relatively simple.
But that is in theory. It is not necessarily so when it comes to practice. So, in theory, the hot air heated by the drier heats the laundry and, in the process, kills the germs.
But is your drier’s maximum temperature sufficient to kill germs?
How Hot Does Your Dryer Get?
You will want to know, will using a hot dryer eliminate all the germs in my clothes? Frankly, no, but it not even necessary.
As already mentioned, there are scores of germs on your clothes that are harmless. However, it is all about numbers. Indeed, this is a game to control numbers.
Our interest will be to bring down the numbers to the level that they pose no health risk. We only need to bring both the bacterial and viral load numbers down.
When we do this, we have won the war and greatly reduced the chances of anyone in our houses getting sick.
We also effectively control the spread of diseases in our households if we kill the germs that spread them.
Our best and easy way of doing this is by use of our driers. But a drier needs to be hot enough to kill germs. You may ask, how hot? Read on to know.
Many driers available in the market will not go beyond 150°F. This ceiling is set by the manufacturer to protect users from potentially damaging their clothes.
To ensure that driers are safe to run, manufacturers design devices that can run at safe temperatures.
This is not to say that the highest temperature a drier can have is 150°F. No. Some driers run at temperatures as high as 176°F.
However, these are exceptions since dryer temperatures range between 125°F and 135°F.
Therefore, it is essential first to know the optimum temperature that your drier runs.
How Can You Find Out the Temperature of Your Dryer?
Driers come with a manual that should give most information on their specifications.
Have a look at your manual if you need to know the highest temperature that your drier can offer.
There are instances where a manufacturer has put some values in the manual showing the temperatures.
Unfortunately, not all driers have any information concerning their peak temperatures. This is the most common scenario.
If you do not have information about your drier relating to temperature, or you have lost the manual, that is not the end.
Another way of going around the problem would be waiting for the drier to run and when it has finished the drying process and stopped, get an infrared thermometer and take the temperature.
You can also place a meat thermometer on the clothes and take the temperature.
The temperature will give you a rough estimate of how hot your drier gets. As you do this, do not use mercury-based thermometers.
What Temperature Do You Need In Your Dryer to Kill Germs?
To determine if your drier kills bacteria, we are only a step away. We have already established the maximum temperature your drier gets.
So the question is, how hot does it take to kill germs in my clothes.
Since our interest is to kill harmful bacteria in your clothes, you only need to know the temperature at which the harmful pathogens can be killed.
Most harmful germs are very susceptible to heat. Although their susceptibility is different according to the specific germs, the bottom line is that they are all susceptible to heat.
Most of these germs are mesophilic, meaning that they thrive in moderate temperatures (they are comfortable between 57°F and 70°F).
Therefore, if your drier can hit 149°F, there is no cause of alarm as it pertains to whether it kills germs in your clothes or not.
Indeed, it kills most of them in a few minutes. This does not leave out viruses.
But what is the relevance of this? Is it a guarantee that all your clothes are disinfected once you wash them in the drier? Not. This is not even needful.
Why would you need to disinfect your clothes and kill all living organisms? To achieve that, you will need very high temperatures that may be unsustainable to your clothes.
On the other hand, your drier may not be able to run at 149°F. Indeed, most of the times, many driers won’t get to this temperature.
This brings a lot of complexities into the equation.
To achieve your results, killing harmful germs in your clothes, you must then expose your clothes to the lower heat for extended periods.
A reduction in temperature should see a sympathetic increase in exposure time.
To get similar results at a reduced temperature, let your clothes stay in the drier for more extended periods to kill the germs.
However, most of the germs will die if exposed to 135°F in a few seconds. There are others, even though few, that will survive for up to 30 minutes at 145°F.
Does A Drier Kill Bedbugs?
There is a lot of annoyance that can be caused by bedbugs. These are tiny creatures mainly found on bedding’s.
Their sting is very uncomfortable and can deny you some good sleep.
Despite their slow speed in multiplication, they quickly spread to other places once they get into your bedding’s.
It is not uncommon to see them on the sofa or under the war crevices. You will need to stop them on time, but can a drier kill them?
Given the extent to which these bugs can cause to your comfort, it comes as no wonder that you may desire to put your bedding’s in the drier.
This is not a bad idea at all. As mentioned earlier, you will need to know the optimum temperature at which the drier runs.
Fortunately, heat comes as a good and effective eliminator of bedbugs. Yes, A drier kill Bedbugs.
When temperatures go beyond 120°F, they will readily kill the bedbugs. Additionally, the eggs and larvae on the clothes will also be killed by the heat in the drier.
However, for bedbugs to be eliminated by your drier, the time that you need to expose them to the heat is 30 minutes or more.
A reduction in the temperature will not produce the results you desire. It is essential to note the resistance of the eggs.
For eggs to be destroyed, you will need to have the clothes in the drier for 90 minutes at 118°F. However, you can always reduce this time if you increase the temperature.
Another thing to note is that other mites can be eliminated by the drier. For instance, dust mites will not brave the drier at 130°F for at least 15 minutes.
If you wish to reduce the time, you can always go for a higher temperature.
Therefore, dryers running at 135°F or higher will effectively reduce the harmful germs in your clothes.
But as a rule of thumb, higher temperature will take less time to kill germs and bacteria.
This is due to the critical nature of the survival tactics of germs and bacteria. Longer exposure to heat will render most of them inactive and dead within moments.
As already seen, it is possible to kill germs using your drier. All you need to know is the maximum temperature that your drier runs at.
After this, understand that most germs can be killed at 135°, but others will survive at 145°F.
Therefore, since not many driers can go beyond 149°F, it is best to expose them to the maximum heat in the drier for extended periods.
In general terms, 30 to 45 minutes would be ideal for eliminating most (99%) of the harmful germs.
Due to the role that the exact temperature plays in this exercise, it is needful to get the proper rating of your fridge as it pertains to maximum temperature.
You must get to get an appropriate assessment of how hot your device gets.
After getting the temperature, always remove the thermometer from the drier, and avoid mercury-based thermometers. You are better off if you can use an infrared thermometer.
Lastly, remember the duration of exposure to temperatures is of utmost importance.
If you have low temperatures in your drier, you will need more time to kill germs, while higher temperatures will require less time.
Remember that what you are killing is the harmful germs but not all germs; for then, you will need to look for alternative methods.