The common cold and flu is a given with the dark nights drawing in and winter just around the corner. Protecting your child from illnesses can be particularly difficult when they are surrounded by their classmates each day.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

And the germs aren't staying in the classroom either.

According to a new study items on your child's clothes before and after washing has revealed that the spread of playground infections may be happening in the laundry basket.

These infections are causing children to miss close to '15 million school days in a year due to illnesses alone'.

Scientists and public health experts are dubbing this the 'Sick Laundry Cycle'. Reducing washing temperatures and water volumes, along with the use of gentler detergents, has affected the efficacy of the laundering process for reducing bacteria on contaminated clothing.

The garment revealed with the highest level of bacteria after washing was school pants followed by a school jumper. 1 in 4 items of children's clothing were contaminated with bacteria after being washed at 40°C.

Parents are being urged by home hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley, to re-evaluate the process of their laundry cycle to ensure school uniforms are hygienically washed and laundered.

Dr Lisa Ackerley said: "People have this notion that simply putting dirty clothes into a washing machine will kill all bacteria, but that's just not the case. Contagious bacteria and viruses such as Influenza and E.coli can survive low temperature washing, increasing the potential risk of infection for your family.

"For laundry washed at low temperatures a disinfectant, such as Dettol Anti-bacterial Laundry Cleanser, an additive proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria in temperatures as low as 15°C, will get it hygienically clean."

Top 10 Highest Levels of Bacteria after Washing

  1. School Pants
  2. School Jumper
  3. T-Shirt
  4. Shorts
  5. Baby Grow
  6. School Trousers
  7. Bib
  8. Socks
  9. Baby Blanket
  10. Soft Toy

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