It's wonderful to walk in a laundry room and smell the scent of freshly washed and dried clothes. But it's not so lovely to smell mold and mildew. Excess moisture — whether from a leaky washer or water pipe or from poor laundry habits — can create a breeding ground for mold. The idea is to get clothes clean, not to make allergies worse. Here are some tips for controlling mold in the laundry area.
Make it Hot
To reduce allergic symptoms from dust, wash sheets, towels, bathmats, blankets and any other linens in very hot water. Water must be 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill dust mites, but there's a danger of scalding at 120 degrees. If you have children in the household or are concerned about energy use and cost, you may prefer to use a commercial laundry facility for linens or dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Some experts also suggest turning up the hot water temperature just for the time it takes to wash your linens.
Allergen-Free for You and Me
If you or anyone in the family has skin allergies or chemical sensitivities that trigger allergy or asthma symptoms, follow these suggestions from the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America:
- Use liquid laundry detergent that is perfume-free, dye-free and mild, usually labeled "hypoallergenic".
- Avoid fabric softeners, both liquid and dryer sheets.
- Rinse clothing and bedding thoroughly after washing to remove detergent residue.
Laundry Room Allergen Control Tips
- Vent your dryer to the outside so the moisture and lint it pulls out of your clothes don't go into the house to become mold magnets.
- Wash linens in very hot water. A temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit is needed to kill dust mites, but there's a danger of scalding at 120 degrees. You may prefer to use a commercial laundry facility for linens or dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
- Don't leave damp or wet clothes sitting around waiting to be washed.
© 2013. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. All content provided in this guide is for information purposes only. Any information herein relating to specific medical conditions, preventive care and/or healthy lifestyles does not suggest individual diagnosis or treatment and is not a substitute for medical attention.Healthy Home Room-by-Room Guide Home Page
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