Disaster Resources - University of Illinois Extension

Sanitizing Flooded Laundry Equipment

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When appliances have been immersed in flood water, they should be reconditioned by a qualified repairman. After they have been reconditioned, sanitize them as follows:

Washer:

  1. Unplug the washer and wipe off the outside of the washer and inside drum with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
  2. Remove washing machine filter and clean with the chlorine solution.
  3. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water.
  4. Pour a disinfectant such as chlorine, pine oil or phenolic, into the empty washing machine. Check the product label for the appropriate amount. Then complete a 15-minute wash cycle at the hot water setting.

Dryer:

  1. Unplug the dryer and wipe the drum with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Be sure to wipe all areas of the drum, filter, dryer door and outside of dryer.
  2. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water.
  3. Leave the dryer door open until all parts are thoroughly dry--preferably overnight.
  4. When the drum is dry, plug in the dryer and resume normal service.

In addition to disinfecting the washer and dryer, be sure to disinfect clothes baskets, work surfaces, and containers where clean, sanitary clothes will be placed. Keep clean, disinfected clothes and other textile items separate from those not yet clean, and away from surfaces likely to be contaminated.

Note: For best results remove all visible soil with an all purpose cleaner before beginning the disinfecting process on an appliance.

Issued by Charlotte Crawford and Lois E. Smith, Extension Educators, Illinois Cooperative Extension Service. February 1995.

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