Water Pollution Control

Clothing Clean Up - General

When cleaning clothes soaked during storm flooding, remember that the flood water may have been contaminated. Simply drying the clothes is not enough. Clothes must be disinfected to kill harmful bacteria. Liquid bleach is the most accessible, cheapest, and easiest disinfectant to use in the home (but bleach should not be used on materials that might fade or be damaged). Dry cleaning is also effective.


  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves to separate and sort the clothing.

  • Begin by sorting out clothing that should be dry-cleaned and take to the cleaner as soon as possible.

  • If due to power failure, you are unable to machine wash right away, rinse washable items several times in cold water (soak overnight in cold water and detergent if heavily soiled) and then air dry. As soon as possible, machine wash clothing, using detergent and a disinfectant. Use highest water level and do not overcrowd the washer. Use hottest water temperature suitable for the garments. Wash on longest cycle.

  • Then, dry in a dryer set at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric.

  • If an item is still stained after washing, rewash before drying it...drying may make some stains hard to remove.

Back to Fact List | Next


A Clear Commitment to
Clean Water