With the flu season already looming, it’s time to get real about germs and viruses. Did you know that the washing machine alone may not be enough to destroy any bacterial bad guys lurking in your bedding and clothes?

If you need a little extra vooma to get the job done, we’ve got all the information you need…

Properly sanitising bedding and clothing items you’ve used while you (or the kids) are sick is critical. You may also need a little extra germ-busting power if you’re a gym fanatic and want to avoid whiffy gear, or if you are using cloth nappies and don’t have a separate machine.

Yet only the most robust cottons can be washed at  high heat (60 degrees or more) so you need to ensure all germs are killed.

Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to add a quality disinfectant to your wash

Chlorine bleach remains the most common choice, as it’s cheap and effective. It’s only suitable for your whites, however, and must always be used strictly according to the washing instructions.

Remember to only add the bleach – diluted in warm water – to the load once the machine has begun filling to avoid damaging the clothes. Phenolic disinfectants (like Lysol) or products designed to sterilise nappies can also be used in a warm water cycle.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Not keen on the chemicals?

Then keep an eye out for laundry-safe pine oil products. These must contain 80% pine oil to get the job done, so choose carefully, but they can be used with all colours as well as whites. Add them at the start of the wash cycle for maximum exposure.

Remember that oxygen-based bleaches may brighten your fabrics, but do not disinfect.

When you need a little extra germ-busting power, adding a disinfectant to your wash will get the job done right.