While washing clothes in water and detergent can help remove dirt and soils, what happens to the bacteria and germs? Fortunately, there are many products on the market today that are designed to help make laundry cleaner. The ability to sanitize the laundry and reduce allergens such as dust mites and pet dander in baby clothing, bedding, towels, and other laundry items is now available with certified washers or dryers.
Protocol P172 was developed by a panel of experts, including representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Using established scientific methods, clothes washers are evaluated to determine if they can effectively sanitize clothes.
In order to earn certification to this protocol, a clothes washer must be able to reduce 99.9% of microorganisms when clothing is washed on the unit's sanitization cycle. In addition, there must be no significant carry over of bacteria into future loads.
Similar to Protocol P172, Protocol P154 was developed to confirm the ability of residential clothes dryers to also effectively sanitize household laundry after washing.
As is the case with clothes washers, certified dryers must also be able to reduce 99.9% of microorganisms and prevent significant carry over of contamination to subsequent dryer loads in order to earn certification.
An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, according to the American Lung Study. The NSF allergen reduction Protocol P351 was developed to directly address these concerns by setting the standard for allergen reduction in residential clothes washers.
Washers certified to this protocol must remove at least 95% of house dust mite allergens and pet dander. The wash water must achieve 55º C (131º F), which is the temperature required to kill dust mites, and must be easily cleanable, corrosion resistant and designed to avoid accumulation of dirt and debris.
To make the most of your laundry efforts, consider purchasing units certified to sanitize and reduce allergens in your laundry.
To find NSF certified products, visit the online product database.